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A Deep Well

Scripture

John 4:11-14

11 She said* to Him, “Sir , You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Observation

Jesus refreshes the deep places in our hearts

Application

When Jesus told this woman that if she would have asked him he would have given her living water, she only looked at him with her limited understanding. She has no spiritual sight yet. All she can think of is the physical world. She knows getting water requires a bucket and she saw he had no bucket, so no way to get water. She also tells him the well is deep. As I was thinking on why she said that, I came up with two possible reasons. One, she could be commenting on the fact that a stranger might not know that the water coming from the well was cold and refreshing because of its depth. In other words, maybe she is saying to him, “You’re offering me something better than what I can get here? Who are you to make that offer and how will you do it?” Another possible reason she might have commented on the well being deep is to tell Jesus that it won’t be easy to retrieve the water. But we know something beyond the physical is going on here. The woman is speaking of the physical realities of thirst and water, but Jesus is speaking of the spiritual realities of desire and satisfaction.

How well do you know yourself? It’s safe to say that you know yourself better than any other living person on earth, but there is One who knows more. Someone created you. You can only see what you can see. There are some things in us so deep that only the Lord who made us can help us see them and then meet the need. Some desires are deep within us. He is deeper still. We realize the woman doesn’t understand spiritual realities yet, but don’t we do the same thing even when we do have spiritual sight? Don’t we look with our physical eyes, and question how he will deliver on the staggering promises in the Scriptures? We wonder, “Is what He’s offering really better than what I can manufacture in my own strength by following my own way?” And deep wells are hard to get to. It takes effort…and really…who has the energy? The Good News really is good. He knows what you need even when you don’t and He meets needs you can’t meet.  He is the living water. His presence is enough. … He bids us to come and drink the water without price. Slow down today and meet with Him.

Prayer

Lord, we desperately need you. We don’t even know how much we need you. Draw us to yourself today. Fill us with your overwhelming goodness. Help us see You. Thank you for promising that you will never leave us or forsake us.

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Take the Gift

Scripture

John 4:7-10

7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 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.”

Observation

Jesus is the giver, not you.

Application

Neediness. Who wants to be needy? It feels much better to be in control and having no needs you can’t meet yourself. But, no matter what financial or emotional or physical state you find yourself in, there is an unalterable truth to our universe: You ARE needy. We are needy 100% of the time. We are dependent creatures. We need air, food, water, shelter, clothes, love, hope…it’s an endless list of neediness. This passage is so awesome because Jesus starts with a picture of his own human neediness. He was weary from his journey. He was thirsty. He really was fully human. He entered our humanity so that he could be a sympathetic high priest. No matter what you are facing today, Jesus experienced the same aching reality of humanity. Now the focus of the story shifts to the appointed person in His appointed plan. The woman comes to this place in time in desperate need, but she doesn’t realize it fully. I love that Jesus is the instigator in this entire story. He comes to the well at the right time. He engages in conversation with the woman. She doesn’t seek Him out. She doesn’t even know she needs what He’s got. That’s our Savior…He came to seek and save the lost. He is seeking you right now. You need Him. He is the gift He’s offering. His living presence inside you exchanging His life for your death. Make the exchange. Surrender to Him.

Prayer

Father, I confess that I desperately need you. Your word says the one who comes to you will certainly not be cast out. You are a good and faithful and sympathetic high priest. I can trust you to give me what  I desperately need. You see my inner place and my brokenness. You are not put off by the ugliness. You came to heal the broken places and set them right. Thank you that you do not get weary of me. Renew my spirit today. Cause me to walk in your commands.

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His Definite Plan, Timing, and People

John 4:1-6
Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), 3 He left Judea and went away again into Galilee. 4 And He had to pass through Samaria. 5 So He came* to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; 6 and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

Observation:
Jesus had a very definite plan with very definite timing with very definite people.

Interpretation:
Seeing the word “Therefore”, makes you realize that the text is telling us this story based on reasons previously communicated. The prior chapter has told us two significant stories. The first is Jesus revealing to Nicodemus that eternal life comes through a second birth, not through the first physical birth. The second story is John revealing that Jesus’ ministry is more important than his own. Namely, that Jesus will remove the wrath of God from us. John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” So, with that backdrop, Jesus knew the time was right for Him to reveal specifically and directly that He was the promised Messiah.

Samaria is a country of outcasts and full of impurity to the Jewish religious order. The name of the town mentioned, Sychar, actually means town of the tombs…or town of the dead. It is full of Jewish history as the place Jacob gave Joseph and where Joseph actually was buried when his sons carried his body from Egypt back to Israel. So here, in the town of the dead, with the actual dead body of the first “savior” of Israel, Jesus will reveal himself to be the real Savior. Joseph had saved Israel through suffering. He was thrown into a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused and thrown into jail, and then exalted to a position of influence to save his nation from famine. Joseph famously says to his brothers as he forgives them, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. “ Gen 50:20

Jesus comes to dead people and brings life with Him.

Application:
Wherever you find yourself at this moment in time, it is no accident. God has a perfect plan with perfect timing. When you are in the middle of something you don’t like or something that doesn’t feel good, it is easy to feel like it is just a big mess up. It’s not. Trust Him. He knows what He is doing. He knows ALL things. God is working all things… ALL things… to reveal Himself. We have been called for this moment in time to go to a far away place because God has a definite plan for a definite group of people. He’s doing a work in us and through us to reveal Himself to specific people in Ecuador. We don’t know all the details. We never will on this side of heaven. All we know is to be faithful in the moments He gives us. Rest in His plan. Rest in His timing. Repent of any lack of trust in Him. He is all-wise and all-good.

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Not Hopeless Enough

It seems I start every blog post with a comment on how long it has been since I last blogged. This time, it has been over a year since the last entry. That’s impressive. =) I’m sure there have been people checking here everyday to see if today was the day that I would write. =) Well…I think this is the last time I will do that (comment on my infrequent blogging, not actually write.) I am going to accept that I am hopeless about blogging regularly. Since I only write to process thoughts anyway I should only need to apologize to myself.

Anyway…back to the original thought…I was walking last night and thinking about hope. For the most part, we are hope-filled creatures. If we started enumerating all the ways we have hope, most people would have numerous things to list. However, we all have bouts of hopelessness in our lives. Something isn’t going like we want and we struggle to keep hope. It’s easy to get myopic about the one thing in our lives that isn’t going well. The thought I had while walking was that maybe hopelessness is a good thing. Maybe I am not hopeless enough. I know… a strange thought.

Let’s see if I can make a case for my thought. Everyone has hope. To be sure, not everyone has the same amount of hope and not everyone has hope in the same things. But, I believe that once you cease to have hope in anything, you are not much longer for this world. Let me list a few things in which people have hope: enough money, people you love, a roof over your head, food to fuel your body, time, ability, normal life, entertainment, electricity, a good night’s rest, Jesus, health, productive work, good relationships, clothes that make you feel attractive, a car, a good credit history, the right body weight, the right candidate to get elected. There is only one thing on that list that you can bank on 100% of the time. One thing. One person, actually. You know who it is.

If you are not a follower of Jesus, you don’t have even one reason to have hope. You are experiencing God’s grace and mercy every second of every day. Every gift could be taken tomorrow, including your life, and God would have done you no wrong. Everything happening in your life (the good and the bad) is designed to drive you to Him… to acknowledge His supremacy in everything, so that you can know Him, so that you can thank Him. Everyone is on a journey to face Him. One day everyone WILL face Him. In this life, until you submit to Him and bow to Him as the King instead of yourself, you are taking what is His as your own. That’s theft and if we had a person in our lives that did that to us over and over again, they wouldn’t be in our lives very long. But… do not fear. God is good and forgiving. What He demands of us, He provides. He offers you Jesus. Your sin for His righteousness. He never did anything wrong. He gave up His life willingly to pay the penalty that God demands for sin. The Father poured out his wrath for sin on Jesus. Jesus paid the penalty for sin for anyone that trusts Him. He rose from the dead to prove that He was who He said He was and that He did what He said He would do. His perfect righteousness can be yours for the asking. You can’t beat that deal.

If you are already a follower of Jesus, you DO have a reason to hope. You have something rock solid to bank on everyday. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you. He will provide for your needs. He continues to forgive your sin. While I was walking I kept thinking how often I transfer this hope I have in Jesus into that gift list I listed earlier. If I am really honest, it’s the gift list giving me hope. I know… because if something goes away, I have a tendency to lose hope. Those aren’t good sources of hope. They are gifts, to be sure, but just that. They should produce thankfulness and reminders everyday of how good God is, but they aren’t good indicators of how much He loves me. The only thing that infallibly tells me how much I am loved is Jesus’ death for me.  If I turn the gifts into a hope source…they fail… and they all fail eventually. Using gifts as hope is idolatry. and an idol is just something we turn to for help other than God. So…maybe I am not hopeless enough. I’ve only got one reason to have hope… but, thankfully, it is a VERY good source of hope. When my false hopes fail, it drives me to the one good source of hope. Anything is good when it drives me to Jesus.

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No King

Scripture:

Judges 21:25 – In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.

Observation:

We need God to be our king.

Application:

The stories in the book of Judges are awful. Really… you start wondering why God would include them in His book. The one that really stood out this morning was the story of the raped concubine. I’ll save you the recap… you can read it if you want … Judges 19… Suffice it to say that no one comes off looking good in this story. No one. Not even God. The story leaves you wondering why God is not judging this awful sin… and there is plenty of sin to go around: the Levite, the concubine, the father of the concubine, the old man who offered his home, the men of Gibeah… it goes on and on. Why do I say that God doesn’t even look good? He is silent on a lot of the sin. He judges some of it, but not all of it. Finally… at the end of the book… one of the phrases that is said at the beginning of chapter 18 and 19 is explained. The phrase is, “In those days Israel had no king.” God explains it with the last sentence in Judges. He says, “everyone did as he saw fit.” For most people, doing whatever you want to do sounds like freedom. The stories in the book of Judges show the folly of that thought. Whatever we see fit, when our thoughts are not shaped by God’s holiness, is evil. Evil thoughts lead to evil deeds. These stories are supposed to shock us. They are supposed to show us what a life not surrendered to the holiness of God looks like. It isn’t pretty.

One of the beautiful things about reading through the Bible in 90 days is that I am reading more Bible than I usually read in a single sitting. It caused me to read the story of Ruth and Boaz immediately following all that disgusting stuff from Judges. The story of Ruth and Boaz is a beautiful Old Testament picture of what Jesus will do for us on the cross. Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. He is our Boaz. It was also a beautiful reminder that God is not silent on our sin. He has not missed one single act of rebellion. He has punished it thoroughly on the cross. For those who trust in Jesus, He has taken the punishment we deserve. He was crushed for our iniquity. Praise God, Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. Praise Him.

Prayer:

Thank you, Father, for the sacrifice you gave to pay for my sin. Thank you that you have not treated me as I deserve, but instead have lavished grace and mercy on me. Help me point people to the only source of grace and mercy that exists… your Son, Jesus.

 

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Scripture

Numbers 27:12-17

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes.”  (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin). Moses said to the LORD, “May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

Observation

We should care about God’s people like He cares for them

Application

Sometime back God showed me something I hadn’t really seen before. I was studying the passage where Moses makes his huge mistake and God tells him he will not be allowed to enter the promised land. You remember the story… the people are grumbling because they don’t have water (see previous entry on what God thinks about that)… and Moses gets instruction from God to speak to the rock to provide water for His people. Moses instead strikes the rock with his staff, and water gushes forth. But God tells Moses that because he didn’t treat Him as holy in front of His people, he will not get to bring his people into the land.

At first glance, this seems a little harsh of God. Moses wasn’t perfectly obedient, to be sure. But it seems harsh of God to deny him entrance to the promised land just because he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God commanded. Keep in mind also that in times previous God had asked him to strike the rock to bring water. What God showed me about this incident was that God was not bringing those consequences merely for disobedience to revealed commands (although He could and be perfectly just), but because Moses had an attitude of contempt for God’s people. Moses was sick to death of the Israelites complaining, and he struck the rock out of anger and contempt and disdain. God didn’t like that attitude… and he judged it. We don’t get to be the judge over God’s people. That is His role, and He doesn’t like it when we try to take His place.

So… this passage this morning really was eye opening for me. God brings up Moses’ biggest failure (if you don’t count murdering the Egyptian), and Moses responds by asking God to appoint a man to shepherd the people. God’s chastisement of Moses had done its job. Moses’ heart now was functioning correctly.  He cares about what God cares about.

Prayer

Father, help me to see when I have an attitude of disdain for your people. Who am I to have that kind of attitude? Forgive me when I have been quick to be exasperated. Help me see that the God they need is the same God I need daily.

 

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Scripture:

Numbers 11:1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the LORD, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.

Observation:

The LORD takes the complaining of the heart seriously.

Application:

The people of Israel are known for their grumbling and complaining. But, let’s face it. I’m not any different. In fact, I can make a pretty good case that I am far worse. I sleep and work and live in climate controlled buildings. I am rarely hungry unless by my own will I forego food for the purpose of losing a few pounds. I enter a closet full of an array of choices for clothing my body. The moment I start to feel sick I head to a store full of medicines that will relieve my suffering.  I could continue, but I’ll stop for now. You get the point. How quickly I turn to grumbling when there is some bit of “suffering”. Let’s not even talk about real suffering for a moment… just something not happening that I would like.

Yesterday I was leaving work and heading to Sonic with 5 minutes of “happy hour” left in the day. A half-price Powerade slushy was what I decided I needed to finish off my work day. As I pulled away from the stoplight, I was sick to see police lights in my rearview mirror.  I turned the car off the road and found out from the nice policeman that my vehicle registration had expired in April. Did I grumble in my heart? Ummm… yeah… And it occurred to me that I was more upset that the policeman was doing his job than I was at my disorganization that led to the error. How messed up is that?

As I was reading these very words in Numbers this morning, I could sense a grumbling going on in my own heart. The irony was not lost on me. The words from the passage “in the hearing of the LORD” jumped out at me. What is not within the hearing of the LORD? I feel like I’ve done something if I can just keep the words from spilling off my lips. But the attitude is there. It’s in my heart. I feel wronged. The LORD is withholding something good that I need and desire. Am I not rebelling in that very moment? I am telling the LORD He is not good, He is not wise, and that He needs some help from me to run the universe. How offensive that is to a holy, good, loving and merciful Father. He’s withheld judgment from me for sins I have committed. He has placed the wrath I deserve on Jesus and given me His righteousness. Anything I receive from Him is a mercy. He owes me nothing. I owe Him everything. He is enough, no matter what the situation.

Prayer:

Father, thank you for your mercy. You are so good to me. Your goodness extends to Your willingness to let me experience the consequences of my own sin. Yet even in that, You do not leave me to experience it by myself. You are with me throughout everything that comes my way. Please continue to show me my inner attitudes and transform this heart that is quick to grumble into a heart that is grateful and thankful for each and every mercy.

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