For Lent this year I have decided to read the entire New Testament over the course of the season, reading just a few chapters each day. So far I have read through the gospels and am in the midst of Acts and learning more and more about the early church. I’ve read parts of the bible, and I’d even venture to guess that I’ve read most of the new testament already, but never in order and never consistently over a short period of time. So, it’s been quite enjoyable to take time each day to learn a little bit more and maybe get some more context about some things that I thought I already knew or understood to be true.
One of the stories that really stuck out to me was the story of the woman at the well. If you want to read it, you can find it in John 4:5-42. The image of thirst is used through out the Bible to speak to the human longing for God. In this story, the overall message is that God is thirsting to have a relationship with us more than we even realize.
Here’s a synopsis of the story to give you some background info if you are unfamiliar. Jesus, travelling back from Judea to Galilee, had gone through Samaria and sat down beside the well to rest. He was hot. He was tired. He just needed to sit. We’ve all been there, right? So while he’s sitting there, a woman comes up to the well to get some water and Jesus asks the woman for a drink of water. But Jesus, being Jesus, isn’t just thirsty for some water–he’s thirsty for the woman’s faith. He wanted the woman to believe in him and he wanted her to see him for who he really was–the son of God. In many ways, our salvation is summed up here, in that our thirst for God meets God’s even greater thirst for us.
Sounds like a simple story so far, right? You’d think so, but that’s not where the story ends. At first, of course, the woman is a bit evasive with her response. She doesn’t understand why this Jewish man is asking her for a drink. You see, fierce hatred between Jews and Samarians goes way, way, way back in the history books, so the woman is at first just a tad confused. The woman asks Jesus why he wants water from her, since she is a woman of Samaria. Since we know that Jesus is actually referring to a spiritual thirst, we can take the woman’s response to refer to her spirituality as well. Here she’s essentially asking Jesus: how could God be thirsty for my faith and my attention? What would he see in me? What do I have to offer Him? Maybe you’ve felt like this from time to time too.
Jesus’ answer to the woman’s question is beautiful and sincere: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst.” We are made to have a desire for God and a desire to know him. At times that desire may seem small, other times you might feel that desire become overwhelming. Here Jesus shows us that His desire to know us and be with us is even greater than our desire for him.
Your picture at the top, Rachel, is supposed to represent the times of prayer and reflection that happen during the season of Lent. Lent is an excellent time for spiritual growth and reflection, and I urge you to try to incorporate that into your life as you get older. When I took this picture though, aiming to capture prayer and reflection, I found that what I actually saw ended up being different. When I look at that picture, I see the innocence of a child. The purity and the sweetness of a child, combined with my own personal overwhelming feeling of love and pride that a parent has for their child. I am proud of you–you are kind, and smart and funny and compassionate. You have some faults, like the rest of us; however those faults could never outweigh the rest of my love for you.
If we only had the power to see ourselves through God’s eyes, imagine what we would think about not only just ourselves, but other people too. As I think about you and Jake and how special you both are to me, I can’t help but think about what God must see in me too. When I have trouble thinking of even one thing that I would have to offer Him, He can rattle of probably 50 things that he sees in me. I know He thinks of each and every one of us that way. Let’s try to see ourselves the way that God sees us. After all, He is thirsting for us.
I love you to the moon and back. Forever and ever.