A Loaf Of Zucchini Bread

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_49A9018Written by: Cindy Morrone

Going with one of our daughters to the hair dresser last week, I was delighted to see an elderly customer, hand her hair dresser a loaf of zucchini bread.  Her hair dresser remarked on what a wonderful lady she is. We marveled at this woman’s kindness and how we do not see this often.  Someone showing their appreciation with gifts.

The yearning in my belly rose once again to the surface that day.

I wanted and needed someone to show me such kindness.

For a plethora of personal reasons, I longed for tangible loving. Something I could see, hear and touch.

On a particular difficult morning, I received her message. She had something for me and could she drop it off after work?

This lovely had no idea what I had been going through and I did not disclose this yearning to her.

I had to my Jesus though.

In my constant prayers, I asked Him to fill my needs, to comfort me, and to heal me.  Not only did He hear my prayer but He asked someone else on my behalf, to deliver a gift of kindness.

Unbelievable!!

When she came to my door she said she felt silly bringing me a loaf of zucchini bread.  Yes, I said zucchini bread!  She explained that she had made several and when praying about who to give a loaf to, my name (Yes, MY name!!) came to her mind.

At my door, I tried to awkwardly share how much this meant to me.  And she started to express that although she felt silly, it was more important for her to be obedient.  She didn’t know why or how important this act was and she didn’t need to know.

She said, “I did feel a little silly, but it’s more silly to be disobedient to God! Thank you God for leading and guiding us!! I pray God will bless you and use you today!! I probably won’t know how much it meant to you but God did and I want to be used by Him!”

Unbelievable!!

How often do we let our feelings of silliness get in the way of being the hands and feet of Jesus? Maybe we think the act of kindness too little, too inexpensive, too ordinary.  Maybe because we don’t know the reason behind the call to action our feet stop.

The way I see it, there were (at least) 3 Gospel Truths at work in this act of kindness towards me:

  • The Lord heard my prayers and answered them. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jerimiah 29:12
  • There is opportunity to serve and come alongside others. Jesus, Himself being our ultimate Servant. ‘When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”’ John 13:12-15
  • Saying Yes! and doing is necessary to deliver tangible love. This lovely was ready, willing and obedient to deliver this act of kindness to me.  “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it various forms.”  1 Peter 4:10

Thank you, lovely, Julie MacIntosh-Hough!! Again, you’ll probably never know how much your gift truly blessed me (and yet, you did it anyway)

 

Running On Empty? What Do You Do?  The Choice is Ours.

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I had several prescheduled appointments to make.  Time was tight but I had arranged each stop strategically so it would all work out.

I didn’t make room for error.

At the appointed time, we got into our van, turned it on and immediately I noticed that in order to do what I had to do and get back home, I would need gas or we’d be stranded.

I didn’t have time to get gas before all the scheduled appointments so I prayed that the van would get us through.

The warning sign didn’t come on until after the first appointment, about an hour away from home.  I pushed through the next appointment and the next, and then started to drive home.

Recently a close friend asked me, “Does it get any easier saying good-bye?” She knew we had just lost our precious foster baby to her forever home and was concerned about how I was coping.

My immediate answer was, “No.”  After a brief reflection, I answered, “Well, in some ways its easier and in some ways its harder.”

Knowing the pain to come, I knew the things I could do to help ease the pain.  Finish her life book, meet up with friends, exercise and not over extend myself during this time of grieving.

When you know difficulty is coming, you can somewhat brace yourself.  You prepare for the storm and you put in place those things you know have helped in the past.

But no thing can prepare me for the depth of this storm.  And it’s when I try to press on in my own strength, thinking those things in themselves will completely heal my pain that I find myself running on empty.  I can’t just stop at the next gas station and fill up.

I need to account for my human error.

It’s only in my intimate and deep dependency on my Jesus that I make it through.

Devotions and prayer become my refuge.  The Word my anchor.

Scriptures like this, hold true;

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  James 4:8

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ 2 Corinthians 12: 9&10

And in my prayers, I don’t just hope that I’ll make it through, I know for certain that I will.

The Miracle

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you feel completely empty?  Perhaps you are at that place now and feel like your energies are spent and you can’t go on.  Maybe you feel like you have nothing more to give. Broken.  Poured  out.

That is how we find the widow in a passage of scripture in 2 Kings Chapter 4.  I can picture her in my mind. She is an emotional wreck, frantic, desperate, afraid,  and alone.  Her husband is gone. Dead. Her heart longs for him. She misses him.  He died leaving her destitute, leaving behind a debt she couldn’t possibly pay. He owed people money and they want to collect.  So after just having lost her husband, she is about to lose her sons too.  The creditors are threatening that they will take them as slaves as payment for the debt that was left owing.  How can she possibly survive?

Then this widow turns to Elisha for help.  Elisha knew this man; her husband.  He had served with him, walked alongside him.  Perhaps they had even been friends.

Elisha had compassion on this woman and asked how he could help. He asked her what she had in the house, to which she replies “Nothing… except for a flask of olive oil.”

3-4“Here’s what you do,” said Elisha. “Go up and down the street and borrow jugs and bowls from all your neighbors. And not just a few—all you can get. Then come home and lock the door behind you, you and your sons. Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”

His request to her might have sounded bizarre but she did as he asked without hesitation.  It would have taken a lot of faith to believe that something good could happen from this act of obedience.

This widow and her sons borrowed many jars from their neighbours and friends until there were no more empty jars to be found.  Then just as she was told, she shut the door behind her, and began pouring oil into the collected jars.

Then a miracle happened! The oil continued to flow until all the jars were full!  She was able to sell all the oil, pay off the debt in full, and there was enough left over for her and her sons to live on. God showed up in a real way to this woman and came through for her at a time in her life when she was desperate for a miracle!  She had the faith. She believed and then acted in obedience.

Do we sometimes limit God’s blessing by our lack of faith or disobedience?  Is He asking us to do something we don’t think we can do because maybe we think that we don’t have anything to give or to offer? What does He want us to trust Him with?

There are those times when we feel empty and alone that we need to just shut ourselves in so to speak with God.  Shut the door. Find that place alone with Him and allow him to fill us up….fill those empty places in our lives and hearts.  Sometimes we have to be empty before we can be filled and He will fill us to overflowing!

Keeping Boundaries

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IMG_0386Written By: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

God created Adam and Eve and gave them endless blessings; however He did ask them to refrain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

He gave them one boundary.

The enemy found Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and convinced them that the boundary God put in place was not for their own good, rather to keep them from something better. “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.” (Genesis 3:6)

The enemy can be mighty crafty, don’t you find? We, as human beings, tend to have difficulty with boundaries and the enemy will do everything in his limited power to convince us that boundaries are not necessary.

Even when we know that they are.

What do boundaries look like? To name a few: 1) Sticking to a budget and not letting your expenses exceed your income. 2) Eating to satisfy your hunger, not overindulging or eating emotionally. 3) Keeping your mind, eyes, and body in your marriage relationship, and not seeking outside your spouse for intimacy or pleasure.

In our ministry journey, my husband and I find that those are the top boundaries that the enemy will attack. We have chatted with lots of people who fall into one of those three boundary struggles. I am certain there are others as well, the enemy is relentless….but the good news is we all have victory in Jesus.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. (Ephesians 6:12-13)

Do you have trouble with keeping boundaries? Here is what the bible says:

Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17)

We have everything we need in Jesus to hold true to our boundaries. Claim that victory, sisters, and walk in His freedom today.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the victory we have in You. Thank you for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that we have everything we need for the battle that rages against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world. I pray, Jesus, for wisdom and a sound mind when keeping healthy boundaries in place. I pray also for my sisters who struggle with boundaries, please grant them peace and hope for victorious days ahead. I pray all these things in Your precious and holy name, Jesus, amen.

Walk On Water

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ConnyWritten by: Conny Varga

When is the last time you did something crazy? Something that was completely out of your comfort zone? Maybe you made a new friend; or maybe you managed to drive all by yourself from A to B without getting lost; maybe you went hang-gliding; or maybe you decided to have children! Whatever it is, chances are, you felt quite exhilarated about it. You did it, and no-one can take that experience away from you! Even if you tried something and it turned out less-than-glorious, you still tried! And you are a stronger person because of it.

Imagine how Peter must have felt when he stepped out of the boat into a raging lake, with nothing to hold on to except the gaze of Jesus. He must have felt on top of the world! And yes, he messed up, but at least he did it! The other eleven disciples couldn’t ever claim to have walked on water, not even one step. I’m sure Peter never forgot that experience, and he was a stronger person because of it.

God has a way of calling us out of our comfort zones. He wants us to do things that we couldn’t possibly do on our own – like Peter’s walk on water. He wants to stretch us beyond our limits. Why? Because He knows that this is the best way for us to grow, to become stronger, more mature. And because He wants us to be dependent on Him for every step we take, like a little child who is completely dependent on his or her parents.

Too often, though, we rationalize away the mere thought that God might want us to do something outside of our box. I’m not gifted. I’m too busy. I could never do that. This can’t be God’s will. What if I fail? I’m not a Super-Christian. And by reasoning ourselves back into our little box, we miss out on great opportunities of growth, faith, and trust. We forget that it’s not our comfort zone that’s trustworthy, but the Comforter who lives within us.

Let me ask you another question. When is the last time you felt God calling you to do something you thought was crazy? Something that was completely out of your comfort zone? Did you do it? I’m not talking about trying a new dish or getting a different hairstyle. I’m talking about the opportunities God invites us to take. The time when you felt you should do something kind for that person who hurt you. Or the tug you felt to give more generously to a mission. The unease that came over you when you heard about the desperate need for foster and adoptive parents. The urge to sell your home and join yourself to a mission or ministry. The overwhelming sense to pray with or for someone. Those are moments of God speaking to us, urging us to action. Do we listen? Do we step out of the boat?

Jesus faced the same challenge when he struggled in the garden, right before His capture, torture, and crucifixion. He had to choose whether He wanted to step out in obedience to His Father and do something completely out of His “comfort zone”. He had to count the cost of walking away, versus stepping “out of the boat”, so to speak, and impacting mankind for eternity.

If we obey God’s invitation, we grow and become stronger people because of it. We are able to bless, inspire, and serve others. We become active participants in God’s work here on earth. And we become more like Jesus as we are stretched beyond our capabilities. And that’s what God is after. He wants to change us. And He wants to change the world through us.

Today, choose to do something out of your comfort zone. Pray that God would show you the opportunities He wants you to take, and then step out in obedience and “walk on water”!

 

Solitude

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_49A8991Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Several years ago, my husband and I had the privilege of taking a Sabbatical Retreat for Lead Pastors and their spouses.  Five other ministry couples seeking sanctuary joined us, along with two lead couples facilitating the event from Broom Tree Ministries.

The backdrop for this experience was a log cabin resort situated in the woods, on a lake, just outside Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It was October and the leaves were many brilliant colours.  There was a refreshing crispness in the air and the smell of bonfires filled each evening.  We heard the sound of animals preparing their winter lodgings as we walked the nature paths.  The sun bounced off the lake with its last rays of warmth and the odd snowflake fluttered in the breeze.  The whole atmosphere was revitalizing.

The entire purpose of the retreat was to simply unplug and seek solitude with God.  There were no flashy worship services or high profile speakers.  There were no workshops or prayer meetings.  There was simply solitude; an opportunity to be very quiet, to catch up on rest, to reconnect as a couple, to just sit in the presence of God.

The lead couples provided study tools to use throughout this four-day rest.  They were available for prayer and guidance if needed.  At suppertime, we all came together to eat, share and pray with one another.  But, for the most part we were left to rediscover God and rest in His presence at our own pace.  It was absolutely refreshing!

Recently, I was revisiting some of the things I read and wrote down in my retreat workbook and the following quote struck me.  It pertains to all of us.

“Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.

We do not take the spiritual life seriously if we do not set aside time to be with God and listen to Him.”

-Henri Nouwen

This is easy to do on a Sabbatical Retreat, but what about every day?  Sure, I spend time with God daily, but often I am rushed because life gets in the way?  Or do I allow life to get in the way?  Am I intentional in setting apart time in my calendar to seek true solitude with Him and listen to His voice?  Or do I come to Him dominating the conversation with my prayers, cramming His word into my thoughts and moving on to what I am interested in?  Hmmm.

One of the exercises in response to this quote asked us to, “Stop all that you are doing.  Find a quiet spot and just stop thinking about or hearing anything, except what God is speaking at this moment.  Do this for 60 seconds.”  This proved to be a very difficult task, being that I am a woman and women can think about 75, 000 different things all at once…Daughters, you know what I mean!

So, I encourage you to do what I did.  I closed my eyes and sat very still.  I visualized in my mind a large square with a fence around it.  Inside were my many thoughts.  I mentally took each thought and moved it out beyond the fence until the square was empty.  When I did this, one word remained.  I could not move it.  That word was “God.”  I focussed on His name, allowing my thoughts to dwell there.  I could still see all the thoughts outside the fence.  When one would creep in I simply picked it up, put it beyond the fence and focussed on God.  I felt His presence so strong and when I was done I was surprised that 20 minutes had passed!  I had far exceeded the 60 seconds requested in the workbook.  I had reached a place of solitude with Him!

I need to get back to that place each day with intentionality.  I need to carve out time daily to simply sit in His presence, purging my mind of everything but Him, and wait for His presence to wash over me.  I need solitude!

An Extravagant Expression

Written by: Jody Mugford

“Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3

Lately, I can’t seem to get this image out of my mind – Mary anointing the feet of Jesus.  There are so many lessons we can learn from the life of Mary but the lesson that is burning on my heart this week is of her love for Jesus.

This particular scene happens 6 days before the Passover, when Jesus will be crucified.  He is having a meal with friends including Lazarus (whom he had raised from the dead), Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha, and His disciples.  Jesus is relaxing with his loved ones at dinner, Martha is serving, and here we see Mary pouring expensive oil (worth a year’s wages, by the way) all over His feet.  She then proceeds to wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair!

I can only imagine that, at this point, all conversation has stopped and you could hear a pin drop.  There are a few reactions going on in the room now, one being a comment made by Judas about how wasteful Mary is being.  In Jewish culture at the time, it was customary to give someone water with maybe a drop of perfume in it for them to wash their feet, but Mary used a whole pound of expensive oil!  “Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”, he questions.  We know from scripture that Judas was possessive of the money set aside to help the poor because he would steal from it but, nonetheless, he was probably echoing the thoughts of some others at the table.  There were likely also those in the room that were uncomfortable with Mary’s lavish expression.  A Jewish woman would not usually be seen with her head uncovered and her hair let loose but here Mary has abandoned tradition, let her hair down, and been brave enough to express her devotion to Jesus, despite what others may think.  In verse 7 & 8, you’ll read that Jesus defends her against the criticism of others, saying that she is preparing Him for burial.  Whether Mary realized that was what she was doing, we don’t know, but we do know that she receives His acceptance and approval of her extravagant, even somewhat scandalous, expression of love and devotion.

This challenges me so much.  I am such a doer and can be overly practical sometimes.  I would probably think to pour costly perfume on Jesus’ feet out of love but then stop myself.  What would people think?  Should I use up all this supply?  Maybe there’s a less daring, more practical way to show Jesus my love?

There is nothing wrong with being conservative and using our resources wisely.  There is nothing wrong being aware of the type of example we set and how our behaviour impacts those around us.  I would challenge us all, though, (myself included) that if we are redirecting our expression of love for Jesus into more practical ways out of fear, embarrassment, selfishness, or another inhibiting emotion…if we are rationalizing our way out of pouring passionate affection on Him because we feel it isn’t as valuable as other acts of ministry, it is time to reevaluate our hearts.

Mary didn’t let finances or appearances stop her from worshipping Jesus in abandon.  She had spent time listening to Him and learning from Him (Luke 10:38-42), seeing Him perform miracles, seeing Him raise her brother from the dead (John 11)!  She knew who He was.  She knew what He had done for her and her family.  She knew He was worthy of ALL her praise and adoration.  So she gave it to Him.  Simple as that.  In the best way she knew how.

Friends, our acts of service, our ministries, our commitments, they mean nothing if they are not rooted in an overflowing love for Jesus.  More than anything, He wants our affection, our surrender, our devotion.  If we spend time in His presence, learning from Him, falling in love with Him and seeing who He truly is, that love will grow.  It will become like a well that is overflowing within us.  Then we will serve Him and worship Him with all we have in adoration and love.  Oh, what a joyous place to be!!!!

“Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him.”  Philippians 3:8-9a

I love how, after Mary had poured her perfume on Jesus’ feet, the room was filled with its beautiful fragrance.  Authentic love for Jesus is contagious, friends.  It spreads like a sweet perfume.  I pray that our love and our worship, when poured on Jesus, fills our homes, our communities, our churches and our lives with a beautiful fragrance, pleasing unto the Lord.

Love and blessings,

Jody

STEPS DOWN NEW ROADS

Written by: Christianne Williams

I love routine.  I am quite comfortable when things roll along in the same way they always do, no ripples or waves, just nice, smooth, sailing.  I love the idea of change, fresh starts, new territory to discover, but the actual act of being submersed in it makes me uncomfortable.  I like my comfort zones.  They’re very safe.  But they can also be very barren areas.  I’ve often heard it said if you change nothing, nothing will change.

Comfort zones can also be detrimental to others because when we feel what we’re comfortable with, or used to, is being pushed or challenged we can lash out and leave others wondering what they’ve done wrong.  In actuality it’s a reaction to feeling threatened and is something within us that God wants to work on.

As much as I dislike straying from my comfortable places, like leaving my big comfy chair in the morning to go to work, as I look back over my life I see those journeys as giant seasons of growth.

When our daughter was diagnosed with congenital heart disease, I spent many hours telling God that I wasn’t able to handle such a bad situation.  I was terrified if I’m being honest.  I had three children, all healthy, and this new prospect made all of normal hurdles of motherhood seem incredibly insignificant.  Getting up in the night to feed a hungry baby was nothing in light of the challenges we would face at the end of this pregnancy.  And that was if she survived at all.

We just celebrated her eighth birthday, a lot of water had flowed under that bridge, a lot of shifting from one comfort zone to another, only to be displaced once again by something new.  I had no clue what in the world was going on.  I had no idea at the time that while I was leaving my comfortable place of dwelling that God was increasing my faith, increasing our witness, increasing my confidence in Him but also in my relationship with Him.  He was teaching me to live by faith when all the circumstances were out of my control.

When He called our family out of everything we knew to live in a place far from family and lifelong friends, He had a plan to grow us.  No longer in our comfort zone of ‘home’ He showed me how to rely on Him and not others for comfort and friendship.  When you’re a pastor’s wife and you relocate all the rules change.  What you did before, you may no longer do.  Where you fit before, you no longer fit.  There are days when loneliness sets in you feel sad for what you’ve left behind, you long for the comfort of what you knew.

In these seasons, growing in relationship with Him has always occurred. He always gives direction for the new normal, the new places to fit, the new areas of ministry, and usually it’s different.  It’s a new opportunity to develop skills and gain confidence in new giftings.  I love finding out things about myself I would never had known if we’d never taken steps down a new road.

There awesome, amazing things awaiting as you walk out of your comfortable places.  I love the song Oceans, especially the part that says,

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever you would call me.  Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my saviour.”

When we step outside of what we feel we can handle on our own, because that’s basically what a comfort zone is, we allow God to really show us how he’s working in us.  He calls us, and strengthens us, and grows us, and we look back and see how amazing His work in us has been.

Running On Empty? What Do You Do?  The Choice is Ours.

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I had several prescheduled appointments to make.  Time was tight but I had arranged each stop strategically so it would all work out.

I didn’t make room for error.

At the appointed time, we got into our van, turned it on and immediately I noticed that in order to do what I had to do and get back home, I would need gas or we’d be stranded.

I didn’t have time to get gas before all the scheduled appointments so I prayed that the van would get us through.

The warning sign didn’t come on until after the first appointment, about an hour away from home.  I pushed through the next appointment and the next, and then started to drive home.

Recently a close friend asked me, “Does it get any easier saying good-bye?” She knew we had just lost our precious foster baby to her forever home and was concerned about how I was coping.

My immediate answer was, “No.”  After a brief reflection, I answered, “Well, in some ways its easier and in some ways its harder.”

Knowing the pain to come, I knew the things I could do to help ease the pain.  Finish her life book, meet up with friends, exercise and not over extend myself during this time of grieving.

When you know difficulty is coming, you can somewhat brace yourself.  You prepare for the storm and you put in place those things you know have helped in the past.

But no thing can prepare me for the depth of this storm.  And it’s when I try to press on in my own strength, thinking those things in themselves will completely heal my pain that I find myself running on empty.  I can’t just stop at the next gas station and fill up.

I need to account for my human error.

It’s only in my intimate and deep dependency on my Jesus that I make it through.

Devotions and prayer become my refuge.  The Word my anchor.

Scriptures like this, hold true;

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  James 4:8

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ 2 Corinthians 12: 9&10

 

 

And in my prayers, I don’t just hope that I’ll make it through, I know for certain that I will.

The Water Jug

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

This post was inspired by a sermon I heard a couple weeks ago by a man named Walter in Manos Extendidas church.

The Bible talks about the Samaritan woman. She was a well- known woman with a reputation. She was an outcast. Everyone knew her as an immoral woman. They knew she was living with a man that she was not married to. They knew that she had had five husbands before. She was not well esteemed or well liked. I imagine she would have been desperately lonely.

This woman went to the well at the hottest time of the day instead of during the evening as was the norm back then.  A time when she knew no one else would be there. Going to the well was likely something the ladies would do together. There would have been a lot of socializing at wells. But this woman went alone. Perhaps she wished to avoid the stares, the snide comments and the gossip.  Maybe she wanted to avoid being shunned.  Little did she know how her life was about to change.

It was at the well, where she met a Jewish man…Jesus. He was a man who ignored the social rules of the times and talked to her.  Jews were not supposed to talk to Samaritans. It was considered improper. They were supposed to hate each other.  However, this man Jesus spoke kindly to her. He knew all about her past. He knew everything about her, all the wrong and sinful things she had done and yet, he was not repulsed. He accepted her. He offered her living water.  Freedom. Forgiveness. Redemption.

John 4:13:14 Jesus replied , “ Anyone who drinks of this water will soon be thirsty again. But those who drink of the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them giving them eternal life.”

John 4:15 “Please Sir,” The woman said, “Give me this water! Then I will never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

They conversed back and forth a little and the woman left, leaving her water jug behind at the well with Jesus. She was not the same woman who came to the well that day… a woman rejected and cast aside by society. She had been changed and she wanted to tell everyone all about it.

John 4:28. 29 The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

I can almost hear the excitement in her voice. She had found freedom. Living water.

In leaving her water jug, she put her past behind her.   She abandoned her brokenness, her shame and left it at the well, with Jesus.

She didn’t allow her past to get in the way or stop her from going and telling others. Everyone knew the kind of woman she had been, and yet with their own eyes they saw the change. Because of her testimony…they too came to Jesus and believed.

What is your water jug? What is in your way of sharing your faith with those around you? Is there something you feel in your heart that God is calling you to do?

If God can use the Samaritan woman, He can use me and he can use you.  We need to leave behind our shame, our mistakes and our past and not let them be an obstacle. We need to abandon our water jugs, leave them with Him, and go.