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At the Well

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Water.  It’s colorless, tasteless, odorless and yet, it cleanses our bodies and brings life to all living creatures.  It’s a necessity to our very existence and though it has no flavor, it tastes so good after a hard work out or an afternoon spent in the sun.  It can make you feel like a whole new being after showering in it and it relaxes tired and achy muscles that have clenched under the stress of life.  It’s pretty power stuff, that H2O!

Water for Kenya (At the Well) - breething.comClick image to view the full video of Water for Kenya

In nations, such as Turkana, Kenya (a small village north of Narobi, where my pastor has recently been visiting on a mission trip) women travel up to sometimes 10 kilometers a day to gather water for their families.  Often times the water in which they collect is unclean which leads to many illnesses. Over this past month my church, Covenant Community Church, has been collecting money in order to provide the people of Turkana new water wells that will keep the women of their village closer to home and supplied with clean, fresh drinking water.  This past Sunday it was announced that already our church has collected enough funds to build 3 wells and in the next week we may have enough for the fourth!

As I mentioned last Thursday, I’m an excited newbie in the world of Online Bible Studies.  Through Proverbs 31 Ministries, I am participating in a Bible Study online with hundreds of women worldwide (isn’t the advances of modern technology great?) and our assignment for our first week was to read the first two chapters of the book, A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope.  I had read the first chapter back in June when I had purchased the book, but I hadn’t gone any further than that.

Chapter two is entitled, Because God’s Love is Perfect, I Don’t Have to Be.  The title alone speaks volumes, especially to me the perfectionist.  The knowledge that I don’t have to be perfect is like that drink of clean water, cold enough and satisfying enough to quench my thirst!  Parts of this chapter really opened my eyes because Renee’s words could have been my own.
The candid revelation of her struggles and feelings of inadequacy echo the cries of my heart.  My highlighter was in hand and I quickly filled the pages of this chapter with yellow markings and notes within the margin, and anyone who knows me, writing in a book is not something that I usually condone, but the words are ones that I need to reflect on time and again, so it had to be done.

Below are some of the quotes that really jumped out at me…

“Pretending leads to hiding and isolation.  What we need is someone who will pursue us and accept us even though we’re flawed” (Page 32, A Confident Heart)“Oh how I longed for someone to see past the exterior facade and look into the secret places of my heart” (Page 33, ACH).

I have hidden my fears, anxieties and feelings of inadequacy for the majority of my life. I have spent most of my life pretending.  I have put on a mask that showed to the outer world that all was well with my life and that I was enjoying ever minute of it, but with that mask, I’ve build a fortress around me.  This fortress has kept people at an arms distance so they wouldn’t see my flawed and battle-ridden heart.  I have only allowed a few select individuals in my life to enter in and see what I’m really made of.  Luckily those who have entered have been worthy and have accepted me for who I am, but I still yearn for the day that I can let the walls down and not be afraid of what others see.

Also in this chapter, is the story told in John 4, the Samaritan woman at the well.  I have often times felt a lot like that Samaritan woman, “Sam”, as she is called in A Confident Heart.  She had been discarded time and again by men who were not willing to commit and she felt ashamed by her current status.  Instead of hiding behind a mask, she hid herself by not joining the woman as they walked to the well before the heat of the day. She hid from their accusations and sideways glances.  She hid from their unspoken words of disappointment of what she had become.
I too have been discarded by men who found it in themselves to cheat rather than to stay in a relationship that had the potential of going somewhere.  I have also hid from others, making excuses not to attend events or gatherings so I did not have to feel their judging eyes on me for my past, my lack of a significant other, bargain-purchased wardrobe or at one time my paint-peeling car.

The story continues to tell about how Jesus met Sam at the well, going out of his way, through an area avoided by Jews, to meet her.  He spoke to her publicly, something that was not customary in that day and told her that He knew who she was. He also offered her the opportunity to receive a living water that could quench her thirst better than any water she had known.  He met her despite her disappointing life, in the loneliest part of her day and offered her a chance to start fresh and clean.  And today too, Jesus comes to meet us in the trenches of our own lives.  “He is there for us in the midst of our imperfect lives, when our pain and failures confirm our self-doubts” (Page 36, ACH).

The book continues to say that Jesus knew who Sam was and what her heart longed for.  He offered her what only He could provide, living water, but it was up to her to make the choice to drink of it.  It seems like an easy choice, but I wonder if self-doubt entered Sam’s mind as it would have enter my own had I been there that day.  That the opportunity seems too good to be true, that no matter what, I am not worthy of great things because of my past. That a chance for a relationship that could carry me through the rest of my life, one that would build me up instead of tear me down, one that would point me in the direction that I needed to go in order to succeed, is one that seems so foreign.

But it doesn’t have to be a scary thing, because going “beneath the surface with Jesus…shows us places in our hearts that need His repair” but it also means that He is not there to criticize, but rather help pick up those pieces to put us back together into the person that we are meant to be.

It should be easy for me to understand these things and accept them, I’ve gone to church ever since I can remember.  I’ve known who Jesus is and was and I know that He loves me and I Him, but I still doubt his goodness and mercy and grace that he offers.  I still doubt that I am worthy of being a part of His plan.  And so Renee’s words really helped me to my heart today through these words, “Maybe you know God loves you and forgives you, but you still beat yourself up for mistakes you’ve made and the ways you think you’ve let Him and others down.  Today can be the day the gospel of grace moves from your head to your heart.”  

I do think too much sometimes and often over-analyse a situation, so allowing His grace to be welcomed in my heart is probably a good challenge I need to take on and practice going forward.

Do you feel this way too? Do you wonder where to begin?  No worries (see you were worrying where to begin, weren’t you?), Renee tells us what we need to do.  “The first step is to embrace your imperfections in the light of God’s perfect love, ‘being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 1:16)” (Page 44, ACH).

And so, I leave you with this quote, a cool glass of water, to satisfy your hearts cravings…

“If you’ve ever doubted God’s personal pursuit of you, let this truth sink in, my friend; wherever you are, He wants to meet you there.  He is waiting for you to stop, come up close, and turn your heart to listen to His.  You don’t have to pretend things are fine when they aren’t.  He knows what is going on in your thoughts.  Nothing could keep Him from wanting to be with you” (Page 37, A Confident Heart).

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  1. Hi Bree, I loved your blog today! All the quotes you shared from the reading were the ones which spoke to me the most and I found myself relating to so many of your life and doubt examples. So glad God led you here to these online Bible studies and that you’ve linked up here today! Can’t wait to read more of your future posts and see where God leads you from here. Praying he uses this journey to lead you to the love and confidence you are thirsting for.

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