A girlfriend invites me to join her at women's conference as I wade through the murky waters of divorce. I accept. Force a smile. Go. On the last day we arrive to envelopes thoughtfully placed on our seats. Each contains a Scripture . . . a "timely word from God," if you will.
I'm afraid to open my envelope. I'm afraid because these days I prefer swear words over ten-week Bible studies. I dread my "word" will read something along the lines of: Repent! Repent! Wicked servant. So I take my ticking bomb to the ladies room and shut myself inside a stall where I pray: Lord, please don't hurt me. I'm fragile. I need a kind word even though I probably don't deserve one. Only You know how many times I've said the F-word since I read the phone bill and, well, You know. Amen.
I peel back my envelope hoping the fragments of my heart won't be blown to bits so tiny they're unrecognizable even to me.
Renounce your sins by doing what is right,
and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed.
It may be that your prosperity will continue.
Daniel 4: 27 NIV
Me to God: Um. I was kind of hoping I wouldn't get a scripture like this because it tempts me to throw myself off a bridge--Bible in hand.
God to me: If I was your earthly father, Wendy, do you know what I'd say to you? Why do you allow him to treat you this way? Why? Abuse is not my will.
Talk about a Daddy-daughter moment. He loves and sees and hears me in my circumstances. He wants me to repent; "to see things differently after having spent time with Him" and renounce my wicked tolerance of the abuse and neglect I've tolerated for years in the very home I've tried so hard to make a haven. It's time to extend some long over-due kindness to the oppressed: Me!
Daniel 4: 27 reveals my distorted view of my heavenly Father's heart toward His daughters. This is what amazes me about the love of God. In less than five minutes and from a bathroom stall, He redeems my perception of a scripture I can only see through the eyes of guilt and shame. Wow.
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do?
Won't he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills in the conference and go out and search for the one that is lost (in the bathroom)?
Matthew 18: 12 NIV
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 @ 3:32 PM CDT
I'm back on the "blogisphere" this morning with bohemian thoughts on John 4: 4--26. (The infamous story of Jesus and the woman at the well.)
Jesus has just left Judea and is headed to Galilee with plans to cut through Samaria because due to recent events and per usual, the Pharisees are out to get Him. He's thirsty. He approaches a well where he sits and waits for an opportunity to satisfy His thirst.
Jesus . . . Son of God, is thirsty and waiting by a well for someone to retrieve water so he can drink? Um, is it just me, or am I the only one who reads this and thinks: Jesus, do you know who you are in Christ? (You make miracles happen.)
It brings to mind a scene in the movie E.T. when Elliott, with E.T. perched on the handle bars of his bicycle, escapes with the help of his brother's friends into the forest where an alien ship is on route to retrieve him.
Elliott: [out of breath] He's a man from outer space and we're taking him to his spaceship.
Greg: Well, can't he just beam up?
Elliott: This is reality, Greg.
Do you see where I'm going with this? He's Jesus. He has super powers. Can't he just beam the water up from the well? I'm convinced there are two answers to this question. 1) Yes. And 2) This is reality, Greg. And reality is, a woman in need of living water and destined to arrive, trumps the physical thirst of God incarnate. Why? Because this is how He rolls. Sacrificially.
Five times married and divorced and shackin' with man number six, our girl is thirsty. Still. Water pot in hand, she returns to the only water source she's ever known and bumps into the Jewish Messiah who's not only willing to converse with a woman, but a Samaritan woman, at that!
"For Jews had not dealings with Samariatans" (John 4:9).
He not only acknowledges her, He asks her for a drink. The chances of this happening on any given day are like, zero. And she knows it. Seriously, if they'd been indoors when He looked her way she'd have turned to see if there was a clock hanging over her head.
"Give me a drink," He says.
But she doesn't offer him water from the well. Instead, she offers up a question. And a good one at that!
"How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink of me, a Samaritan?"
Jesus goes on to say if she knew the "gift of God" and who it is who said to her, "Give me a drink," she would have asked Him for one, and He would have given her living water.
"Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get this living water. Are You greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well . . .?"
Samaritan Woman: Dude, You don't even have a cup! Are you a greater source than the man who hooked us up with this well and drank from it to sustain his own life?
Jesus: Whoever drinks from a man-made source will thirst again. Whoever drinks of the water I provide draws from an everlasting source of life and will never thirst.
Samaritan Woman: In that case, give me a drink. And super-size it. I'm parched.
Jesus: Okay. Go get your husband.
Samritan Woman: I don't have one.
It's not unlike the story of Hagar, who'd encountered an Angel of the Lord when she fled into the desert due to Sarai's mistreatment. (Genesis 16). The Divine knew the details of Hagar's life then, and He's got the skinny on the woman at the well, now. He speaks of her failed marriages and current living arrancgments. She marvels at this and calls Him a prophet.
He tells her of things to come. She agrees the Messiah is coming. So Jesus takes out his wallet and breaks out his I.D. About that time the disciples arrive on the scene, dumbfounded to see Christ speaking to a woman but not smart enought to ask why.
"The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 'Come and see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?' Then they went out of the city and came to Him."
She goes. She tells. Her words inspire many Samaritans to believe in Christ. Others went to Him and urged Him to hang out a few days. So He did. And after having spent time with Him, they believed all the more.
Christ. Savior of the world.
Something to Think About
People in third world countries do not drink contaminated water because they are unintelligent. They drink because they are that thirsty--hoping the choices they make in a desperate attempt to live, will not end in death.
The validation and comfort Jesus offered the woman sprang a hope so eternal she left her water pot and went on her way. This is a big deal. It's not like she could stop and buy a case of bottled water on the way home. Love peered inside a broken heart and spoke without judgement. He understood why she'd given up on marriage but not men. Up until their chance meeting this was the well she drew from while hoping for the best.
I've often wondered why we're not told the name of the woman at the well. The longer I follow Jesus, the more inclined I am to believe she remained nameless to represent the massess--you and me. All our hope for His glory.
Please Do This
Spend some time alone with God every day. Bring an empty cup with. Talk. Don't talk. Cry. Throw a fit. Do what ya gotta do. And then receive. Allow Him to pour into you like our sister friend at the well. Enlist the aid of a counselor if you need heilp sorting through your emotions. And while you're at it, stop wasting your time with people who are too afraid to love you just as you are. Scarred. Imperfect. Beautiful. You.
When I die, I want my headstone to read:
She was unafraid to love with her whole heart. She was brave enough to see value in herself and others, and embrace it. And so she was sought after.
Published on Sunday, August 21, 2016 @ 12:09 PM CDT