Saturday, January 12, 2013

a different thirst

the goodness of speaking with a friend who both knows you well and cares for your heart is such a treasure.  stumbling over words that really have just remained in my heart and have rarely been formed into an actual voice, i was trying to explain to her how i've been.   i am always trying to neatly bundle up a few succinct sentences to describe my heart.  the more i attempt to package it into something its not, i can almost feel my soul rebel, uncomfortable with being put into such limited constraints.  while God is changing so much in me and in my outlook on many different things, i still desire to be "simple-hearted" in the midst of a multifaceted circumstance.  then i find myself trying to sort it all out only to make it sound better, and of course, that gets me no where. 

so, when i get exasperated with myself that i don't have a tidier outlook on things, i go back to keeping my mouth shut and only listening to His voice . . .and then again when i feel like i don't have a revolutionized plan for how now i will live my life.  or a clearly defined way to see God shifting my heart from here to there.   and because He's so very complete and not only the Author, but the Finisher of my faith (heb 12:2) i am reminded not to worry about my lack of tidiness-of-the-heart.  as the Finisher, He has me working on the same thing i started working on this past september 18th:  learning that He simply cannot be contained.  His truths continue to speak such richness to my heart (when i'm willing to listen) and as surprised as i was at how He stole my heart this fall, i've been even more amazed at how He continues to do so even still.  day in and day out.  again, when my heart is yielding and soft.  humble and contrite. 

so ready for a word, like a word word from the Lord, it was awesome timing that when sharing my heart with my friend, she would hear what I was saying and respond something like, "it's kinda like how the woman at the well felt.  she experienced Jesus and walked away simply amazed and in love."

eager to reread that passage -- with fresh perspective and my news eyes that see what used to be simple as more detailed and what used to be complicated, now made simple -- i jumped to john chapter four.  i've looked at it again several times since and turns out God did have something for me there.  what got me was the beautiful way Jesus shoots straight to the heart of this Samaritan woman.  and she knows she's encountered something like she's never known before.

there's Jesus.  He's sitting beside a well waiting for His friends to bring back some lunch.  He then asks this woman, to whom no one would be caught dead brushing shoulders with, for some water while He's taking a break. (vv. 6-8).  the Hero of this story has a reputation for unconventionality and for keeping His eyes fixed less on His circumstances and more on the eternal.  she is caught off guard by His pursuit of her.  He's crossing over the dangerous line of social mores to reach her heart.

and when she asks Jesus why on earth He would be even be speaking to a woman like her, Jesus tells her that God has a gift for her and if she saw Jesus for who He really is, that all this well business would pale in comparison to the living water He could offer her (v. 10)  i think about this living water that He is offering her, and know He's offered the same refreshment to me.  it's the same offer of life abundant (john 10:10). 

it strikes me that any situation can result in my thirst being quenched by living water.  and living water is found when my spirit is tapped into the Source.    Jesus is always there to offer the best in any given circumstance if i can grab a hold of Him.  not only grab a hold of Him, because that is often the easy part.  but how about keeping that hold?  remaining steadfast in tapping into the only Source of real life, thirst truly being quenched?

and her heart's not very different than my own.  she trudges to and from the well, working hard to get that water, sweat and fleshly effort both strong and serious.  but it's not lasting water.  she thinks it is, but it's not. it's the fruitless pursuits that satisfy me for only a little while.  and the vain attempts at filling a void that only Something supernatural can satiate.  and to Jesus' offer of living water, she retreats to what she's known all her life, "do you think you're greater than our ancestor jacob, who gave us this well?  how can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?"  her mom probably gathered water from that same well.  she'd probably gone there since before she could even peer her eyes over the ledge.  she confused familiarity with fulfillment.  her heart is loyal to what she's known all her life and she simply can't imagine a better source of water. 

the best part in all this is that she stays in the story.  she doesn't chalk Jesus up to some crazy, shaking her head as she walks away.  she stays in the story. 

oh, no, Jesus tells her.  not that kind of water.  what i want to offer you is


it's a bubbling spring within you.

it gives you eternal life.

you will never be thirsty again (v. 14).

almost like He could be see, with this water, something will happen in your heart, something that can't be found anywhere.  or happen by any other way.  it's Me from where your satisfaction will come. 

He's got her now, and then pursues her the same way He's pursued me.  by knowing the details of my heart and life.  meeting me smack-dab right where i am.  and proving His love, yet again, even though He doesn't have to.  He reveals that He knows that she doesn't have a husband, has had five in the past, and isn't married to the man she's living with now (v. 18).   Jesus catches her by surprise with His knowledge.  He spoke specifically to her, who she was in all her faults and weaknesses.  and how i've enjoyed the heart of Him who singles me out, making His love personal and real.  He calls me to Himself not just to stand beside me, but to meet me where i am in order to take me out of that place.  a place that will offer more than a mouthful of something cool and refreshing for the moment. 

the woman continues the conversation by asking a question that has very little to do with the bigger picture Jesus is accomplishing in the moment.  oh how familiar . . .  "the time is coming"  He says, "indeed it's here now -- when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.  the Father is looking for those who will worship him in that way" (v. 23).

and there it is.  the challenge:  to live as a true worshiper.

which will mean letting go of every other idol, so i am an ardent follower of One.  

the Samaritan woman ran off to tell everyone she knew that she had just met the Messiah.  that He had told her all about her past.  and her present.  and her new future found in Him. 

and from the Scriptures, that seems like pretty much all she shares.  she was having a regular day, carrying a heavy bucket to the well, along with the heavy heart she acquired from living a life in this world.  running from man to man, assured that the greener grass would finally land her peace.  only to find that there was an offering much more sweet.  she left Jesus that day with no lesson learned other than she knew she loved Him way more than the life she was living, and that she'd never again be the same. and that is certainly tidy enough. 

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