Do you thirst?

10173611_10151990386367331_8624261813345961746_n-1

Being alone.

That’s where she flees to.  Where it’s quiet and all the noise in her head is drowned out by the stillness of space. She has to get outside from the everyday moments where people talk and cast glances her way. Remove herself and run.

Some might call it discipline, others self preservation – yet maybe it’s just plain fear. A feeling of no longer being able to control the expectations and thoughts of what others think – and just trust who she is – and be. This is a daily ritual that she’s come to embrace in her routine. She runs, or rather, walks….

“In a small Samaritan town known as Sychar, Jesus and His entourage stopped to rest at the historic well that Jacob gave his son Joseph. It was about noon when Jesus found a spot to sit close to the well while the disciples ventured off to find provisions. From His vantage, He watched as a Samaritan woman approached to draw some water. Unexpectedly He spoke to her.

Jesus: Would you draw water, and give Me a drink?

Woman:  I cannot believe that You, a Jew, would associate with me, a Samaritan woman; much less ask me to give You a drink.” John 4:5-9

Just like that – He spoke to her.

She escaped to the well in the middle in the day. The hottest and most difficult time to attend to this chore was the time she chose to go. Why not go earlier in the cool of the morning? Why not find comfort in community as she tends to the daily task of drawing water? Perhaps there was no community and no comfort for her? There was no place for her to find rest.

In a culture when women had no voice, no place to call there own, no value – the first thing Jesus did with her was invite her into community with Him. He didn’t just ask her for water. No.

Jesus had a conversation with her.

“Jesus: You don’t know the gift of God or who is asking you for a drink of this water from Jacob’s well. Because if you did, you would have asked Him for something greater; and He would have given you the living water.

Woman: Sir, You sit by this deep well a thirsty man without a bucket in sight. Where does this living water come from? Are You claiming superiority to our father Jacob who labored long and hard to dig and maintain this well so that he could share clean water with his sons, grandchildren, and cattle?

Jesus:  Drink this water, and your thirst is quenched only for a moment. You must return to this well again and again. I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life throughout eternity. You will never be thirsty again.

Woman: Please, Sir, give me some of this water, so I’ll never be thirsty and never again have to make the trip to this well.

Jesus: Then bring your husband to Me.

Woman: I do not have a husband.

Jesus: Technically you are telling the truth. But you have had five husbands and are currently living with a man you are not married to. ” John 4: 10 – 18

Just like that. Jesus looked her straight in the eye and spoke honest words, hard words but transparent ones. He saw the woman for who she was, all her imperfections all her sins, all her scars. He reveals this to her in the most gracious way by asking her to bring her husband to Him. Of all the things the Messiah could have said to her in those moments about Living Water, all the lessons about its life giving flow. Rather than teach, he reached. Reached into the depths of that Samaritan woman’s heart and uncovered her greatest shame, her darkest place and invited her to step out and speak. Use her voice

Jesus didn’t reject her or neglect her. He loved her. Her. Not the woman she could be, or would become or could have been,  but who she was now. Now, in that moment, He loved her so much that he chose to commune with her in the very depths of who she was, and hold her close. He loved her by the choices he made.

He did have a choice.

He could have adhered to the culture of the day. He could have remained at the well and let her go about her business. Ignored speaking to her or seeing her for who she was, just plain ignoring her as a person. Yet Jesus was counter culture, rebellious and willing to go against the social and cultural norms of the day to welcome this women into His heart. He went straight to the heart of the matter in their conversation – her heart. By exposing the ugliness that’s inside, it made room for the Living Water to well up her soul. But here’s the thing, He didn’t leave her there to remain in the ugliness, He invited her to drink. Drink long and deep of Living Water that comes from Jesus Christ

How often have our lives been this way? We get busy with our days and our circumstances that we just choose to go about them like any other routine and miss the opportunity to drink from the Living Water? This woman at the well, she didn’t recoil from the secrets Jesus exposed, rather, she struggled to understand what He was saying, how He was living, what He was doing in that moment – with her. Any encounter with Jesus can bring us to our knees in wondering who we are and what we are about. The very fact Jesus loved her, talked to her, engaged with her drew her into the Light of His Presence and the joy of knowing the Messiah. It was in her deepest shame and weakness, and looking them straight in the eye that she recognized Jesus Christ as the Messiah who was to come.

Upon meeting Jesus, we see that this encounter changed this woman’s life.

This woman who went to the well mid-day, who had chosen this time of day and hour to remain quiet and alone, keeping herself from community. This women, she returned from the well so full that she faced the thing she feared the most and spoke to those who rejected her, the community. She says in John 4:29, “ I met a stranger who knew everything about me. Come and see for yourselves; can He be the Anointed One?” She faced her shame and her fears and spoke right up. She left Jesus questioning – Can this be? Could it be? Is it true?

Don’t ever think your voice doesn’t matter.

With just one question, she engages the whole community to hear about the Messiah. Scripture says, “Meanwhile, because one woman shared with her neighbors how Jesus exposed her past and present, the village of Sychar was transformed—many Samaritans heard and believed.” John 4:39

Because this women, who was often alone and rejected  – heard the call of Jesus and responded to His love. She shared this hope with others and an entire village was transformed due to the faith of just one voice questioning His truth. She let Jesus expose her past and her present, she allowed Him in and in doing so He invited her to drink from that Living Water.

Are you thirsty? Bring your questions, saddle on the shame, let’s find the Living Water.

Drink.

Scripture taken from The Voice™. Copyright © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Darkness Closes In

crucified_wide_t

“At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).” Mark 15:33-34

Forsaken.

The very last words of Jesus Christ as he hung upon the cross were words that cry out with despair and abandonment. God’s only Son calls out to His Father seeking comfort and oneness. In the deepest and darkest place of Jesus’s life, where was God?

Why have you forsaken me?

Jesus had lived his life on this earth in communion with His Father. They shared a close bond and an ongoing growing relationship. With constant sharing in prayer, intimacy was woven between them – deep communion grew. They were intimate. Jesus was so one with the Father, that being about His kingdom was His passion and ministry.

Even as a young boy Jesus was most comfortable in His Father’s House.

“…. the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.  Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  Luke 2:43b-49

As Jesus began His ministry, He went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. “And a voice from heaven said, “…… This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17  God loved His Son, He was pleased with Him. Before even one item on the “to do” list was accomplished in the ministry of Jesus, God proclaims His love for Him.

His love!

Jesus spent time building His relationship with God. He communicated with Him through prayer. Jesus sought out the Father to rely upon, to entrust Himself to and to strengthen his faith. He prayed early in the morning, late at night, alone and for hours on end. Jesus was a man of prayer and this is how their relationship was built – with words.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

“…..Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12

 ….. he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.” Matthew 14:22-23

Jesus prayed. The man who became our mediator knows what it feels like to need space, to feel desperate and to have to plead our case. For he pled His own.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” If Jesus Christ can ask this question, surely we can. When we can’t find our footing as we reach out to the Father. When we can’t find the peace which God provides. When we ask, “where are you Father?” When the darkness closes in.

Ask.

Wait for His reply. Yes, just wait. I know it’s hard. It’s brutal even. Yet God’s timing is the most precious and sacred time of all. Our Savior could have called 10,000 angels to relieve His pain. He could have removed Himself from the cross and ended His suffering. But He endured. He remained faithful. He agonized. He hurt. He stayed.

Have you ever wondered what were those early believers were thinking? The Teacher who performed miracles, who talked about a kingdom to come. Now what? Those followers who walked with Jesus, who heard His teaching, who witnessed the miracles.  Where are they now?

Darkness has come.

Their Teacher? Dead. Their Kingdom. A dream.  Their hopes and their faith rocked to it’s very core – as they scattered – just like Jesus predicted. (Matt 26:31)  They denied, betrayed and refused to admit their loyalty to Jesus. They hid in an upper room and mourned the one they loved in private. The communion they shared with Jesus, gone. They mourned Him, oh how they mourned Him!

What happens to you when darkness closes in?

Do you hide in your own upper room? Fill your time with distractions and consider that time sacred? Do you live in denial and refuse to confront the sin in your life? Do you betray your first love Jesus by seeking out other ways to fill yourself? Are we like the early Christians who spend time with the Holy Lord but don’t recognize His signs and wonders? Do we trust Him? Commune with Him? Wait upon Him?

Just wait.

For His perfect, sacred, holy time. All the disciples had believed in, seemed lost. All hope appeared gone. They felt forsaken, abandoned, alone. Like Jesus on the cross asking God why He abandoned Him, so too I suspect, are the disciples wondering why Jesus did the exact same thing. Have you ever asked Him such a question….where are you LORD?

Spend time with Jesus cultivating communion. Learn about Him and know His heart so you can recognize Him when He arises from that tomb in your soul. Do not look with your eyes alone, but with your heart. Have faith. Believe.

For the darkness does not win, it closes in, but never snuffs out the light.

The Veil Is Torn

Torn011

Sometimes we don’t see clearly. Do we?

We live our lives in an understanding of who we think we are. We tell ourselves we’re products of our environment, dependent upon the circumstances in which we live.  Our life as a child growing up created this framework in which we now engage and view the world. We are caught in this reality of a brokeness. No matter what you experienced in your home –  neglect, financial instability, additive behavior, abuse – difficult, oh so difficult life situations – whatever life threw our way, we feel like victims. Victims. We all have our own story don’t we?  Often there are things we have experienced that we wouldn’t wish on anyone, yet here we are. Hiding behind the curtain that shrouds our vision, our thinking – our very being. We’ve swallowed the lies.

I am not good enough.

I am not worth it. I am not lovable. I got what I deserved. Can you hear it? The doubt, the fear – the desperate need to be loved. It’s cries out from our deepest longings. We see glimmers of light shining as the curtain sways. We grab its edge, gently move it so we can peer out – yet all we see is skewed, distorted – untrue.  We have this veil covering our eyes, our minds – our very hearts. We just can’t see ourselves for who we are – or for whom we can become.

We move within our lives in ways which reflects what we believe. I think I am not good enough, so I act like I am not good enough. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. I won’t eat right or control my tongue and certainly not cut back on my internet use – I can justify these as ways that serve me – however do they not enslave me? I can’t speak for you – you will have to name the ways in which you do this to yourself. I am asking when did taking care of ourselves become a sinful thing to do?  Choices I now make reinforce this thought pattern in my mind. I say to myself, “I’m not going to take care of myself, no one cares anyway.”  If I think I don’t deserve to be loved I will allow myself to be treated as unlovable. Those in our hearts we long for to treat us differently, will choose to continue to treat us as we believe about ourselves.

It’s time.

It’s time to confront the lies we live in, the thoughts we combat, the ways in which we doubt. Sometimes the doubts keep us in that valley while we are eager for the mountaintop. We yearn for acceptance, we work hard to gain love,  we serve in a multitude of ways and we just get busy. These can be dark times and we keep ourselves enslaved by believing the lies. That veil covering keeps us from understanding who we are, and whose we are.

We must take off the veil – and see.

“But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last. At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces.” Matthew 27:50-53

The very moment Jesus Christ died upon the cross at Calvary, God moved. Immediately! Scripture says that the Temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. There wasn’t one jagged edge left to rip apart, it was completely torn in two – separated and a new way was born. In death life sprang forth. God ushered in a new way for us to be intimate with Him. In former times only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy of Holies but once a year. Now Yaweh has torn away the dividing wall and brought us, you, me – into our true identity.  He invites us to be one with Him in the most sacred place. We are His.

His.

Because we are His it’s time to embrace who we really are let Him mold our true identity. To live not as victims but as victorious. Rip away the curtain you are hiding behind, tear off the veil shrouding your sense of vision, let the Light shine deep into your soul. Because of Jesus Christ we can be intimate with the Father, we can have sweet, deep, intimate fellowship with Him. Your vision of the world can change my friend. But first, let Him change you.

It’s long past time.