Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Like the Woman at the Well...

Last night's Psalms Bible Study (a Jeff Cavins production) gets a "thumbs up" from me.  We talked about how our human nature leads us to fill our spiritual emptiness with things of the world instead of the gifts of the Spirit.
Cavins is always good at showing me connections between the Old and the New Testaments.  In this case, he draws forward from the psalmist to Jesus ministering to the woman at the well.  She was thirsting, and nothing could quench her thirst, not even her multitude of husbands.  Living in an arid region where water was precious, she carried what must have been one of the most important implements of the time, a water jug.  When Jesus spoke, she was spiritually ready to hear what He said, and rushed off to share the news, leaving her precious water jug behind.  He was offering living water and the promise that she'd never again thirst.

Reading one of my favorite blogs, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, I came across her thoughts on the very same passage.  She writes:
[Jesus] broke all the rules.  I watched him sit in a market place braiding for himself a whip.  And when he was done... He went apeshit on a bunch of scumbags, overturning tables and going all Indiana Jones with that whip until the House of God had been restored to just that.  I watched him sit on the edge of a well in the countryside, where he had a quiet conversation with a sordid woman that would change her life and the lives of many around her.  In that little chat, he challenged her honesty and invited her to become one who worships God in spirit and in truth.  I watched Jesus tell stories.  I saw him talking to normal people about normal crap and point out God along the way.  And I started to realize that I had been created with a distinct voice and that God was calling me to use it, whispering, "Be who you are, Baby Girl.  I made you. You were meant to tell an honest story."
And now we approach the celebration of Christ's birth.  How would Jesus, the rule breaker, like us to celebrate His birthday?

Making wish lists of more things to clutter our lives?  Standing in lines waiting to purchase those things with people who are afraid to say "Happy Christmas" or acknowledge the season?  Spending our quiet time wondering how we're going to pay for all those things instead of being still and breathing in the wonder of God?  Indulging in food and wine and desserts until we can no longer button our jeans?  Rushing around to celebrate family and friends and skipping the inconvenient, time-consuming, and often crowded church services honoring His birth?

Dunno about you, but I'm screaming, "NO! NO! NO!"

And in the midst of my screaming and conforming to what's expected in the holiday season, I found a post titled "Rethinking Christmas" by Jennifer Davis.

A sample of her thoughts:
  • Let me be clear-I'm not opposed to presents, I'm not opposed to spending time with loves ones, and I'm certainly not opposed to the good cheer and good deeds that traditionally accompany Christmastime.  However I'm not sure that how we celebrate this holy day is in fact, holy...
  • While my family sits around a tree, ripping into gifts that we don't need, another family around the globe goes without water and the basic necessities we take for granted...
  • Christ did not come to make us comfortable... He came to seek and save the lost...
  • What if Christmas were known around the world as the time of year when Christians took care of all God's children...
  • What if the month of December were marked by Christians giving food and building wells as a means to show the world the Bread of Life who promises that we will never grow hungry or thirst...
  • I want to push past the mound of presents that I don't need to remember the only true treasure that I couldn't buy... 
  • I want His gift to be enough...
Ah.  Yes.  That resonates.

I have spent years trying to fill my own emptiness, one first created by a parent incapable of nurturing me, and later by a world sadly devoid of spirituality and full of commercialism and consumerism. 

How many of us have shared the same thoughts, ones that start, "If only..."

If only I had that pair of jeans, I'd be happy.

If only I were thinner, I'd be happy.

If only I could play the piano like he does, I'd be happy.

If only my kids got straight ehs, I'd be happy.

If only that friend were more honorable, I'd be happy.

If only...

     If only...

          If only...

Does the list ever end?

I'm glad I don't make "If only" statements anymore. 

And interestingly enough - though I still thirst - I'm actually happy.


  1. Great tie in with the story of the woman at the well to how we approach Christmas--it's one of my favorite stories in the Bible to show how Christ ministered in truth and love. I love your ending--that you still thirst but are happy.

    I'm honored to have been quoted, and I enjoyed your post! :)

  2. I hope it connects someone else with your post. I loved, loved, loved it!