Friday, March 22, 2019

Jesus Speaks to Women: Where's Your Husband?

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” John 4: 16

This week was my husband's birthday.  We celebrated one of those, how shall I put it? Milestone-type-birthdays!? Yes, it was a biggie.  And I praise the Lord for allowing him to be by my side still.  By now, we have shared more than half of our lives together.  When I look back at our beginnings, I realize what babies we were.  I mean, I know, some couples start their history way before we did.  But, I still remember when I met Dan, I felt as if I was already old.  However, it has taken me actually being old, to understand how young I truly was back then...

The riddles of life...sigh...

In spite of our disagreements and arguments about nothing, I do cherish every minute God has given me to spend with the man He designed to be my husband on this earth.  For better or for worse, I know it was a God thing the fact that we ended up together.  

I was never one of those girls who dreamed about her wedding and her prince charming.  I was more into material things.  I daydreamed about an apartment in the city, a cool car, fashion, purses and shoes.  Deep...I know... I spent countless hours seeing in my mind the furniture and the distribution of my house in the heights, overlooking skyscrapers and the ocean as a backdrop.  But, I can honestly say, I never pictured me sharing that fabulous home in the sky with a husband, living the mundane existence of an ordinary life.

God's plan, however, has unfolded very differently from my distant, adolescent dreams so far...
but, that's OK.  Reality doesn't diminish the value of my, once-upon-a-time fantasies.  We all have them, right?  So did the Samaritan woman, I'm sure!  And, I'm willing to bet, that in her memory, it still lingered the fainting thrill of the vanishing dreams of her youth.  

When life was simple, and she went to the well to fetch water for her Mom, I'm sure she never imagined life would turn out the way it did.  I'm sure she never imagined either, that one day she would have a divine appointment with the Redeemer of Her Soul.

The peculiar question that Jesus asks her after she requests of Him that water He promised would never make her thirsty again, is mind-boggling.  Why, of all things, did Jesus ask her to go call her husband and then return to this place?  It seems like such an out-of-the-blue random thing to say...but...we know better than that, don't we?  We know that with Our Lord, nothing is really random or unrelated.  Everything makes perfect sense.  The thing is that to understand it, we need to have His mind, and, unfortunately, we do not.

The blessing is, however, that in His mercy, Jesus allows us to have a peek at His thoughts.  As He explains or as He allows dialogues to develop, if we pay attention, He reveals His purposes.  In this case, the reason for Him to bring up the husband issue is the need to have an open recognition of our sin.  Like Jon Courson says in his commentary of this verse:  "There's no true conversion without conviction."  

Jesus brought the sin in this woman's life to the forefront, not to humiliate her, but to heal her.  We cannot be completely free if we continue to hide our life of sin.  The Searcher of Our Hearts uncovers the deepest darkness so He can vanish it with His Light!

As we continue to witness this encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, I wonder what would my life have been like without my husband?  Had I obtained all the stupid things I used to dream about in my youth, where would I be now? What would I be writing about? What would be the state of my soul? What would my heart be chasing for?

I don't really want to answer those questions, because I already know...and the unspoken truth makes me shudder...but it also makes me Praise Him all the more for my shattered teen fantasies.

May the Holy Spirit show us The Way, The Truth and the Life that are only found in Jesus Christ! Amen!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Jesus Speaks to Women: It's a Matter of Faith

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” John 4: 15

Have you ever missed the truth because you are stock on the facts?  

What I mean is, in my life, there is a lot that I miss from the spiritual realm because I am too focused on the material.  My eyes haven't yet learned to truly see through the spiritual lense of faith, because I always have on the glasses of this world.

2 Corinthians 5: 7 tells us: "For we walk by faith, not by sight." What does that mean?  It means, that we are supposed to to fix our eyes on what is unseen, not on what is seen! For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4: 18) But often, we find that difficult because our faith is weak...and a weak faith does not allow us to see beyond our circumstances and beyond the material reality of the world around us.

The Samaritan woman wanted that water so she didn't have to come to the well anymore.  She wanted to have her material need (thirst) eternally satisfied.  Besides, there were many reasons she didn't want to have to come to the well on a daily basis ever again: all the gossips in town.  Therefore, her focus on the world wasn't allowing her to really really understand that the Water that she was being offered by this Holy Man in front of her was not from this wasn't a liquid that she could put in a was Himself! The Living Water was Jesus and non other! And this Water satisfies a different kind of thirst.  It quenches the thirst of the soul to find a place of safety where to belong.

I am the Samaritan woman, clamoring for Jesus to "give me this water!" but still with my sight fixed on my situations, on my physical thirst, rather than on my spiritual emptiness.  I forget that I need to fill up the jars of my soul, and forget about the water bottles in my refrigerator.  The dryness, the true desert is the one in my heart, which longs for a fulfilled life in this world, neglecting the eternity that awaits me after all that surrounds me has passed away. 

I pray the Holy Spirit awakens my faith so I can finally I can finally understand the meaning of the concept, which is simply the "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Hebrews 11: 1

Monday, March 18, 2019

How He Speaks to Me

"I trust You, Lord Jesus.  I trust You, Lord Jesus.  I trust You, Lord Jesus!"

That is my life-line affirmation for today.  I am hanging on to this truth with all I've got.  I'm pausing from the study of how Jesus speaks to women in the Bible to focus on how Jesus speaks to 

He speaks to me in the messages and words of my sisters in Christ:  "Remember your History with Him."  "Peace and tranquility today."

He speaks to me in the messages and words of my husband:  "I love you." "You are OK!"

He speaks to me in the lyrics of songs in the radio:  "My fear doesn't stand a chance when I stand in Your love!"

He speaks to me through His Word:  "Be still and know that I AM God!" (Psalm 46: 10)

He speaks to me in the test, as it becomes another opportunity to trust Him.

I'm hanging on to You, Dear Lord.  I am trusting You, and You alone!  I am confident in Your love and mercy.  You are the Great Healer and You have already healed me!  I leave my fear and anxiety at the foot of the cross, and You will raise me in Victory!  Great is Your Precious Name!  Lord Jesus, I love you!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Jesus Speaks to Women: His Way!

13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4: 13-14

Don't you just love it when you get to witness Jesus' love, compassion and PATIENCE?

I am NOT a particularly patient person.  I think my lack of patience comes from my desire to be in control at all times.  Patience involves a glorious amount of waiting.  Waiting implies lack of control. Hence, my irritability in times of waiting and my inability to be patient.  ... sigh... (DEEP sigh)

Waiting also scares me.  There is little else that scares me more than waiting for test results.  I'm around the time when I need to get my thyroid check ups and just thinking about waiting to hear the test results is causing me great anxiety.  I realize, again, the implication/explanation of my emotions stems here also from a deep dislike of not having control over outcomes.  The thing is...any idea of a distant possibility of control is just an illusion.  I. Am. Not. In. Control! It's not about my plan.  It's not my design.  It's not my way.  I just get to experience it.

The Sassy Samaritan woman was very preoccupied with worldly things as well.  She lived on the practical realm, probably neglecting the spiritual side of things.  He encounters this stranger by the well at noon, who is talking about drawing water without the proper tools, implying that he is, somehow greater than Jacob himself!  Crazy stuff!  I mean, she could feel something was "different" about this man, but she couldn't shake the thought that it all sounded like just a bunch of nonsense to her...hence, her sassiness.  Jesus, however, having the ability and the power to strike her dead for her irreverence and unbelieve...exercised a tender patience that only is possible out of His infinite love, desire to teach us how to come to Him, self control and humility of heart.

We are the sassy Samaritan.  Even the most saintly person among us, still doesn't fully get it.  We stand by the Living Water and we are still thinking about satisfying our physical thirst...when it is our spirit which needs satisfied.  We still incessantly look just for regular water, when what we need is the water that He gives us...the water that in us will become the spring which will well up to eternal life!  Only He can provide that water...only when we encounter Him we receive it...only when we let Him lead and be the true Lord of our lives we get to drink it...only when we do it His way we see it springing and welling up.

Life is not like the old song, My Way.  That's one of the hardest lessons I have yet to truly learn: total and complete surrender.  I have to understand that, no matter how hard I try, there is NO way it is my way.  In reality, when the "end is near" nothing would fill my heart with more peace and joy than to be able to sing: "I did it God's Way!"

I pray that the lessons Jesus is teaching us through His encounter with the Samaritan woman reach into the depths of our souls and minds so much so, that we are willing to trust Him enough to surrender completely.  Amen!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Jesus Speaks to Women: And Women Speak Back!

11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” John 4: 11-12

We're back at the well, witnessing the dialogue between Jesus and the sassy Samaritan.  I know, that sounds disrespectful, but I can't help to hear in her voice a tone...she has no clue who this man she is talking to really IS.  Her understanding is ruled by the conventions of her day:  Samaritans and Jews don't get along.  Jewish men don't talk to women, especially, Samaritan women, especially in public.  Therefore, her reactions are conditioned to society's stipulations: she is suspicious. 

The more she hears Him speak, though...the more we can perceive a change in her tone...even if in a most subtle way at the beginning, but it's there...look at how she addresses Jesus by "Sir" here...

Yes, she is still staying within the material realm.  Thinking that the water Jesus is referring to is water as in the one she can draw from Jacob's well, she is concerned with Jesus' ability to get it.  He's got no jar to get it with; and she knows she cannot just use her own jar to draw for Him...she's not clean.  Women were not supposed to speak to strangers to begin with.  Now, she was in the middle of an exchange with a Jewish one.  The scene was all wrong! Of course she was caught in the material repercussions of what was happening! But, the fact that she addresses Him as "Sir" here, causes one to wonder if that was the beginning of the softening of her heart.  That was the first clear evidence of the irresistible nature of Christ's presence.

Of course, she ends it back on her sassy tone in verse 12:  Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”  I have to chuckle here...I mean, listen to her, can't you hear the attitude?  

This exchange is truly incredible to me.  This woman's got spunk! She has no clue who this stranger really is.  She seems to perceive He is worthy of respect somehow; but that doesn't keep her from being who she is:  a no-nonsense type of woman.

Let's continue reading to see how Jesus reacts after her reply and discover what His words reveal to us today.  Dear Lord, may we always be confident on Your Love for us, regardless of our own nature and disposition.  By Your Great Mercy we are one with You!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Jesus Speaks to Women: If I Only Knew...

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4: 10

Don't you just LOVE Jesus?  I don't know what else to say... My heart bursts with love for Him, Who Knows Me...and even so ... loves me all the same... loves me enough to speak to me... old wretched me...

I identify so much with this "sassy" Samaritan woman, I can't even begin to tell you.  I mean, she's like confronting Him in the previous verse with her implied: "Hey, are you talking to me??" question.  And what does Jesus do?  He pours out His infinite patience onto her.  Can't you see Him?  The almost imperceptible shake of His head; perhaps a soft sigh as He lowers His sight for an instant, to then formulate the words that will bring life to her:  "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying it to you..."  If you only knew who I Am... If you only knew Me... If you only knew... me know!

Help me know You!

Help me know it is You speaking to me in my lowly state...

How many times have I not realized it is You talking to me, Lord?  How many times have I ignored You, Jesus?  How many times have I walked away not understanding it is You whom I have encountered?  How many times have I missed drinking the Living Water because my pride had kept my eyes from seeing You?  How many times have I returned home with an empty jar because I refused to allow You to fill it?  How many times have I not comprehended that Your request of me is only Your way of coming closer so I could receive You and all You have to offer?

Often I fear God's will because I don't understand it.  Often anxiety overcomes me because I don't trust the fact that God's plan for me is good and beneficial.  Often I feel like fainting at the thought of things not working out the way I'd hoped because I still doubt God's love...

I don't want to live like that!  I'm tired of fear, anxiety and doubt!  I want to dive into the Living Waters of Jesus and let go of everything else!  I don't want to be enslaved by the chains of this world.  I want to be free in Jesus' embrace!

The conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is far from over still.  But before we continue reading along, let's pause here and just be in His presence for a while.  There is no better place than sitting by the feet of Jesus, dirty sandals and all.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Jesus Speaks to Women: And Women Speak to Jesus too!

9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. John 4: 9

Have you ever been asked for a favor just out of the blue?  It kind of catches you by surprise, doesn't it? And what really might throw us off balance is if the request comes from someone completely unexpected...someone we never thought would ever ask us for anything ever...

That's kind of the situation here, but like a million times more intense.  We have talked about the hatred and disdain Jews felt for Samaritans.  Add to that, the fact that she is a woman and Jesus is, for all purposes, a Rabbi.  Teachers of the law, Rabbis, didn't talk to their own wives in public, let alone a Samaritan woman, let alone, an ill-reputed Samaritan woman.  On top of that, He is asking her for water to drink.  This implies, she will have to hand Him the water in her own container, hence the question later about Him not having anything to draw water with.  She knew she was not ceremonially clean, how would He receive anything from her??? How would He drink that water drawn by her using her own jar??? Jesus was intentionally breaking like a bunch or rules here.  Isn't He the BEST!?

I'm sure, the last thing in this woman's mind was that Jesus would actually speak to her.  I bet she was surprised He didn't just get up and leave at the sight of her.  Not only did He not move, but He addressed her!  And...she spoke back at Him!  She was not a shy desert flower, no way.  She questions Him.  She's like, "wait, what?  Don't you know how things work around here, Mr?"

Being the opinionated, loud-mouth woman that I often am, this moment gives me hope.

Had she been timid, she probably would have turned around and waited until this strange man was gone.  She didn't.  She stood her ground and began a toe-to-toe conversation with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings!

Rather than avoiding the encounter, she came to the well and met the Stranger, listened to His request and embarked in a life-changing adventure completely outside of the realm of what she could have considered possible up until that very moment.  Such are the ways of Our Lord!

By talking to her, Jesus elevated her position as He dissolved the traces of division between Jews and non-Jews, man and woman, sinner and Saint.  This is a beautiful illustration of how little it matters who one is, one's status, gender, place of origin or background...Jesus speaks to us all the same.  He places His requests on us all.  He engages all of us in spiritual conversations that lead us to dwelling at His feet, covered by His Mighty Shadow!

Blessed is the one who faces the challenge of divine encounters!  Though scary, confusing and intense, it is in those encounters when we get to see the Face of Jesus!  We might be nervous about His requests...however, surrendering ourselves to Christ when He speaks to us is the key to living in His presence for now and for eternity. Amen!