Living Water

“Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)

The story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman at the well is a very well-known passage of Scripture. For some, it is their favorite passage of Scripture and they love to read about Jesus reaching out to one considered “unworthy” because of her gender, nationality, and lifestyle. I’ve read it many times, and have probably heard more than a couple sermons about it over the years. It would be easy to assume that I have already learned everything there is to learn from this particular story, but it seems that each time you approach Scripture, God reveals something new or reminds you of something that you had forgotten. 

As I was thinking about this story today, I tried to put myself in the shoes of this woman, a woman just going about her normal, everyday business. I found it interesting that unlike so many other stories, this woman did not seek out Jesus. Jesus was the one who initiated the conversation. In fact, she didn’t even know who he was! Had she been too busy, ignored his request for water, or not taken the time to engage in conversation with him, she could have missed out on an incredible blessing. As we read further in the chapter, we see that she was not the only one to be profoundly influenced by the experience, but her whole town came to believe that Jesus was truly the Messiah!

I think we all would like for God to speak to us like he spoke to Moses through the burning bush or Isaiah’s dramatic vision in the temple or Mary’s angelic visitor, because then we would know beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was God. We crave the certainty that would come with such a revelation. While God does occasionally show up and demonstrate his power in some amazing ways, these occurrences are not his normal method of communication with us. Most of the time, he speaks during our prayer time, or when we are reading Scripture. He can communicate to us through other godly men and women, and sometimes, it’s the weird guy begging for water at the town well.

It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane.  There’s always a TPS report to file, a bill to pay, a ball practice your kids need to go to, and the dishes or laundry never stop piling up.  But I would hate to miss out on a blessing that God had in store for me, my family, or my community because I was too busy being busy.  I can imagine nothing more disappointing.

The Samaritan Woman could have filled her jug and gone on her way.  Her life could have continued down the path it was on, bouncing from one broken relationship to the next. Her town could have continued being on the outside of Jewish faith, needlessly anticipating a Savior that had already come. But God had a different end in mind for the woman and her community, but it all hinged upon whether or not this woman would respond to the simple request of a stranger.

We cannot know what opportunities and divine appointments lay behind our everyday situations and circumstances.  However, we can choose to be open to the possibilities, to listen for God’s voice, and heed him when we hear him call!

PRAYER: Father, help us to overcome the tyranny of the mundane, to quiet the busy-ness of our lives, so we can be open to your gracious invitation and your guidance. Thank you for not giving up on us when we allow the insignificant worries of this present life overshadow the eternal significance of our soul’s well-being.  In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen!

Perfected Through Suffering

 

(Hebrews 2:10) “in bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.”


Can we accept the fact that Jesus, the God-man, needed suffering to be perfected? He was a man as though he were not God–and was filled with the Spirit without any measure or limit set on that filling. He was completely filled with the Spirit. He was also God as though He were not a man!

All I can say is this, if our Lord Jesus Christ needed to suffer before He could be all that God the Father envisioned for Him, how much more should we–frail children of dust, and sinful (Jeremiah 17:9)–expect to suffer before God can trust us with the full extent of the anointing?

David also had to suffer for the sake of perfection. Saul served as an agent that produced hardship in his life for several years–even after David had been anointed to take Saul’s place as king. King Saul’s hatred of David was probably the best thing that ever happened to David, because it refined his anointing!

God raised up David to be Israel’s greatest king, but he also required him up to receive spiritual refinement that would make him a true man of God. David was a man’s man! It would be hard to say whether God raised up David for Goliath or God raised up Goliath for David! David slew bears and lions with his bare hands! But, what made him great was when he became God’s man–a man after God’s own heart.

Even Paul said, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Perfection is a process! We do not get the necessary refinement by merely praying for more of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had all the Holy Spirit available–the Spirit without limit (John 3:34). Yet, “although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” (Hebrews 2:10)

Perfection that comes through suffering actually produces opportunity to encourage others. “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 10:18)


PRAYER: “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; 11 if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:10-14)

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