This is my prayer for myself today, that I would find sustenance and satisfaction in the coming year. That I would have support, endurance and strength to make it through what lies ahead. Throughout each day may there be a rich feeling of contentment in my life, that brings joy and even a good helping of happiness. So I pray for some sustenance and satisfaction in my life.
I hate to admit this, but my life up to this point would probably be more appropriately classified as striving rather than satisfying. Every bar that I have leaped over, every finish line cross, every graduated achievement was not satisfying. It was simply a time of refocus and then moving on to the next thing. I have been pretty ferocious in my pursuit of that which I thought would satisfy.
In all of the pushing, pulling and striving I’ve become tired, no, weary. Weary is probably the better word. Weariness is a blessing for it draws me to the scriptures with a focus I may not have in the midst of my pursuits.
I often find myself returning to the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. I always feel such an encompassing connection to this woman.
I imagine what it would be like to be her. What thoughts consumed her as she went about her daily tasks? What memories haunted her as she made her way to the well? How far out of her way did she go to avoid those whose presence made her feel shame over her sins? Did she try to avoid direct eye contact with Jesus? Did it feel like he would be just another man who over looks her?
As you can see I have many questions about this woman and her encounter with Jesus. I hope that one day in Heaven I will have a chance to sit and sip lemonades with Jesus and the woman at the well. I’d like to know her by name. I’d like to learn more about her and her encounter. I want to see the reflection in her eyes and the expression on her face of what happened in her heart.
I wonder if it caught her off guard when Jesus asked for a drink. Was she entangled in her own thoughts? Was she in shock? Was there a bite to her words, a tiny crack in her voice from the damage of past hurts – that sound that would have been inaudible to the men in her life but a sound that would have roared like thunder through the perfect ears and heart of a Savior among us?
In John 4:10 (NIV) Jesus says “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
Many times as I have read this chapter, I have been drawn to the words of Jesus about the spring of water welling up to eternal life. It seems reasonable that if I was praying for sustenance and satisfaction that a quenching glass of living water would be the treasure that I would be searching for.
That is not the case today. I’m at a dead stop, eyes wide, attention fixed on verse 10, ” If I knew the gift of God and who it is that asks ME for a drink, I would have asked him and he would have given ME living water.”
I. Me. My knowledge, my fixation, my realization, my revelation. It’s getting deeply personal. Do I know the gift of God? Not the punishment. Not the wrath. Not the consequence. The GIFT.
Do I know the gift of God? That is where it begins. Can I get out of my to-do list, can I get away from the voices in my head, can I step back from all the requests made of me, to surrender long enough to ask myself if I know the gift of God.
My eyes were filling with tears while I repeatedly prosecuted myself with this question, do I know the gift of God? Suddenly, words in the previous column in my Bible caught my attention.
“For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” John 3:34-36 (NIV).
What if the gift of God is the gift of the Holy Trinity itself? The Father loves the Son and places everything in His hands. In John 4:26 (NIV) Jesus declares, “I am the one speaking to you – I am He.” Jesus speaks the words of God (John 3:34) and He says I am He (John 4:26). The gift of God, Jesus. My heart nudges me. Ask Him. Ask Him for sustenance. Ask Him for satisfaction. Ask Him to help you surrender. Ask Jesus for what you need.
The woman went to the well seeking water. Jesus used that to speak to her of living water. If I come to the well seeking sustenance and satisfaction, what will Jesus speak to me of, that which sustains and that which satisfies.
“You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 145:16 (NIV)
“For he satisfies the longing soul and the hungry souls he fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9 (ESV)
As my thoughts tumble about, I wonder, what if I put less focus on what I am asking for and focus more intently on who I am asking?
I’d be embarrassed to reveal how many times I practice, rehearse and reiterate to myself the requests I plan to ask others for in my life. Are the words right? Is that going to give the right impression? How will that make the other person feel? Do I deserve this? Am I asking for too much?
Perhaps Jesus just wants me to stop spending so much time on that stuff and to refocus the energy and attention on Him. I need to put my confidence in the character of Christ – His unfailing love, His goodness, eternal hope and perfect provision.
Then I’d probably have the gumption to go ahead and ask. I do not have because I do not ask. I do not ask because I am so focused on the string of thoughts I’ve tangled into a hideous knot. Time to surrender playing with that mess and focus on knowing the gift of God. It’s time for me to ask for the help to let go, the sustenance for today and for that feeling of deep satisfaction that I have been thirsting for.
So, my dear reader, what is it that you have come for? Healing for mind, body, and spirit? Reconciliation in a relationship? Encouragement for a weary heart? Energy and attention to continue in your calling? The desire to be fully known? Provision to cover that which taxes you financially?
Do you know the gift of God? Have you asked for what you are seeking? Have you encountered Him in the comings and goings of your day?
Please know my dear, that I ask no questions of you that I am not willing to ask of myself. Some days I think I am the most lost of the lost. I share my struggles not to advise or counsel, but it is my only hope that I would encourage. Sometimes the greatest encouragement is to transparently see the life of another.
Here is what I do know with unyielding certainty. You are a beautiful treasure and a precious gift. You have a miraculous purpose to be a part of history in this time and this place. You have been gifted to be who you are. Jesus is calling you up to an incredible life, an abundant life.
Through the gift of Jesus, of His passionate and enthusiastic love for us, may we find sustenance and satisfaction.
Beloved Lord, Incredible Gift,
Thank You for the way You can take a few simple verses to speak directly to our hearts. Lord, thank You for the stories of those who have gone before and the stories of those who journey along side of us to encourage us, reveal hope to us, and point us back to You. You are just so talented and amazing.
May we be drawn into Your presence today, right into the middle of the Holy Trinity where we may find the strength and protection of the Father, the faithful laughter of a brother and a friend in Jesus, and the wise counsel of the Spirit. May we find that all of our needs, those vocalized with words and those cried through groans that we can not understand, are met according to Your measure and not our own.
Thank You for sustaining and for satisfying, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.