John 4: 1-26
Spiritual influence. This is one pastor’s term for using our gifts and talents to bless others. “Who will be your spiritual influence for year 2021? Who can you share the Gospel with and encourage for year 2021? ” he asks his congregation. For me, that means more serious study and meditation on the scriptures for the purpose of transforming myself, and then others within this blog space.
The purpose of this blog is to encourage readers, including myself, to return to God’s word. I’m writing to the spiritual and nonspiritual, but my emphasis will always be on the Bible. My goal is to publish at least twice a month with a scripture reference in every post. Pastor Garrett Kell, lead pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandra, Virginia, posted this wise gem on social media. “One of the most dangerous things a Christian can do right now is neglect Bible reading. Thousands of voices are attempting to convince you how to think. Be certain you are being shaped more by scripture and less by social media. More Bible, less books. More prayer, less blog posts.” The irony does not escape me here, since this is yet another blog post, but my intention is to point my readers back to scripture in the midst of worldly chaos. To make sense of cultural issues and current events from a Biblical perspective. No, I am not trying tor write sermons. No, I have not been to seminary or studied Greek or Hebrew. I prefer to think of these posts as “reflections” based on my personal study of God’s word from Bible Study Fellowship, or whatever God lays on my heart through prayer. I trust that the Holy Spirit will give me insight and discernment as to how to do this. I’m always seeking after new ways of thinking about scriptures, how they apply to our living our lives today, and teachings from brilliant, well respected Bible teachers (Joyce Meyer, Priscilla Shirer, Dr. David Jeremiah, Bishop T.D Jakes to name a few) and the pastor from my own church, so I am drawing from many resources.
The title “Reflections from the Well” has been prayerfully and carefully chosen. What do we draw from a well? Yes, water. Water fascinates me. Watching it. Listening to it flow, drip or splash. Feeling it. It engages all my senses. Immersion. Ocean surf. (The beach is my absolute favorite happy place) The saltiness of the sea. Its healing properties. Its physical and chemical properties. Two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom sustain life. It’s an excellent solvent. Water reflects whatever is below or above it. It has no shape or color of its own. Transparent. I am water before the Living God. I want to become a reflection of Christ above me and Christ below me. (I realize that I’m not even close to that yet, but that is my heart’s desire, and He who began a good work in me will carry it through to completion. Philippians 1:6) I want Christ to sustain me.
God gave me a reflective mind where I love going deep to process and understand what scripture is teaching me, how I can apply that to my life, and He has given me a desire to help others understand and appreciate it. Yes, the Bible is hard to read, even with a dozen different translations and commentaries. We first must understand the historical and cultural significance of what is going on in any passage. Then we must be aware of the original audience and author. Finally, if we aren’t worn out by all that, we figure out to respond and apply the lessons to our daily lives. No easy task. (I know. A John Grisham novel or whatever Oprah is reading seems way easier and more fun.) Pour yourself some strong coffee and let’s get started!
But God’s word is our lifeline in this worldly sea of chaos. Let us not conform to the world’s shape and identity, but let us conform to God’s shape. What a precious gift he has given us and, at least at this point in American history, we are free to study it anywhere anytime!
One of my favorite stories from the Gospels is John 4:1-26 where Jesus meets with the woman at the well. It’s a fascinating conversation and I could write 1,000 words on that alone. Suffice it to say that Jesus changes her life at the well. He offers her the water of eternal life. Water had special symbolism in ancient times. It represented spiritual nourishment. There’s so much more I want to know about the “well woman.” What was her name and her entire story? I am also a “woman at the well,” going to meet Jesus at the page and allowing him to write through me. Wells and water are important literally and figuratively throughout both Old and New Testaments. I am going to invite Jesus to transform me “at the well,” this year and hopefully encourage my readers.
I conclude with this nugget of wisdom. Sometimes the very thing we are seeking, or what we think we lack, is actually right in front of us. We simply don’t have the proper perspective to recognize it. The woman at the well didn’t know how much she desperately needed a Savior, and didn’t recognize Jesus as such until He revealed himself to her and she was then overcome with joy. John 4: 25-26, “The woman said, ‘I know that the Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes he will explain everything to us. Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you – am He.'” In Genesis 21:8-21, Abraham had sent his older son, Ishmael and his mother Hagar away into the desert with a small amount of provisions. Eventually the food and water ran out and Hagar grew desperate and begged God not to let them die. “Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” (verse 19).
I pray that You give me a genuine passion for Your love letter to us, the Bible. I pray for my readers, that they may be encouraged and are drawn to your Word when they feel threatened or are tempted to respond in fear. May we all draw closer to You in times such as these and walk in closer fellowship with You. Amen.