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Friday, September 7, 2012

The Man at the Well

My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water (Jeremiah 2:13).

As she approached the well, she saw a stranger. She knew immediately that he was not a Samaritan. He was a Jew. As he spoke, she wondered about him. His words were odd. He said he could give her living water. But how? He had nothing with which to draw from the well (John 4:10-11).

When he revealed her past and present lifestyle, she saw that he was a prophet (16-19). He could not know these things otherwise. He pierced her heart; these were sore subjects. Why was love so elusive? Why was she so discontent? Why did she feel so rejected? Rejected by men, by God? Why had God withheld from her what so many other women found so easily?

Maybe this man could answer some of her questions (20). Let's go from heart to head. Safer.

“You worship what you do not know,” the Prophet told her (21-24). Worship is about your spirit relating to God's Spirit. It's about knowing God.

True worship is not about a place, but about a Person--the God who had revealed Himself to the people of Israel. Worship is spiritual. The Father is seeking those who will worship in spirit and truth. Like me?

She explained that she knew of a Messiah who was coming (25), and he shocked her by saying, "I who speak to you am He" (26).

Just then the man's companions joined them (27). They questioned why he was speaking with her—not out loud, but their thoughts were obvious to her.

She returned to town (28). Her excited account of the man she had met aroused them to come out to see if this was the Messiah (29-30). He had indeed given her living water. Her thirst was quenched. She would never be the same.

As I studied this passage, God poked at a sore spot in me. He showed me an area where I questioned God's love because He had withheld something from me that I had wanted very badly. He told me to stop believing the lie. His love never fails. That's the truth I can rely on. His purpose for my life fits in with His bigger plan. I can't always see how my life glorifies Him, especially the bad stuff, but He promised to work it all to good (Romans 8:28).

Has the Messiah ever said something to you that poked you in a sore spot? Have you questioned God's love because He withheld something from you? Stop believing the lie. His love never fails. But whatever on earth you think will satisfy you will fail you.

Only Jesus Christ can quench your thirst. He gives living water that springs up to eternal life (John 4:13-14).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Eternity in the Pages of a Book

Come, hear God speak the world into existence
Watch in wonder as He creates sun, moon and stars,
seas and dry land, fish, birds, and animals,
a man and a woman. 

Walk with Adam and Eve as they talk with God
in the garden in the cool of the day.
Sorrow as they leave Paradise because of their sin,
with promises that a Savior will come.

Suppress a laugh as Noah builds and fills an ark
with many pairs of creatures.
Feel the rain as God floods the corrupt earth,
 sparing all those in the ark.

Marvel with Abraham and Sarah at promises
of a son to be born in their old age—
descendants who will fill the earth,
One who will bless all the nations.

Put your foot on dry land as the Red Sea parts.
Crouch in fear as Moses climbs the trembling mountain.
Shout with Joshua as the walls of Jericho fall!
Journey with Naomi and meet your kinsman-redeemer.

Cheer little David as he slays the giant.
Sing praises to God with Psalms.
Learn of wisdom from Solomon.
Rebuild the broken-down walls with Ezra and Nehemiah.

Stand in the valley and see dry bones come to life.
Sleep in peace with Daniel in the lion’s den;
Feel the heat of the fiery furnace that doesn't hurt his three friends.
Believe the words of the prophets who describe the soon-coming One.

Walk with Jesus, the promised Messiah, as He teaches and heals.
Cry inconsolably as you watch him die,
But shout for joy when he triumphs over sin and death!
Stare as he ascends to the heavens, promising to return.

Receive the Spirit who comes with fire,
sending disciples forth with power.
Suffer with Paul through shipwreck, beatings and prison
as God reveals true grace and peace.

Shout with the saints as the kingdom of this world
Becomes the Kingdom of Our Lord and of his Christ
Gaze in excitement at new heavens, new earth,
and the New Jerusalem descending from above.

Glimpse eternity, in the pages of a book.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Woman at the Well                   

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:13-14

Most of us know the story of Jesus’ encounter with a woman beside a well. Many assume that the woman went to the well at midday to avoid meeting other women to whom she was an outcast. The well closest to her home in Sychar was larger. But what if she chose the smaller well because she liked the idea that Jacob had dug it many years earlier? What if her water jar suddenly became empty at noon?

She was surprised when a stranger sitting by the well asked her for a drink. He obviously needed one, but he was a Jew, she a Samaritan, and a woman. Jewish men did not speak to Samaritan women.

He began to speak of living water. “Never thirst again . . . become a spring of water bubbling up” (John 4:13-14).

She saw immediately that he was different. “Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well?”

His next words stabbed her heart, “Go, call your husband.” He then told her about the five husbands she’d had and the man she was now living with. I doubt Jesus was trying to shame her; instead he was zeroing in on her wounded heart and offering her something that would quench her longings.

I don’t think she changed the subject because she was ashamed of her past. Burning questions surged within her that no one else would explain to her. Women in those days were not allowed to go to school because men did not think women needed to study religious matters. But she had always had questions.

And then the most amazing thing happened: he did not treat her rudely. In fact, he liked her questions. Not only did he answer them, but he also talked about true worship and said that he was the Messiah Israel was expecting!

Like this woman, we all have what has been described as “God-shaped holes” in our hearts. Human love will never satisfy our longings. Only God can fill that hole.