Attention to The Spirit, September 2012 Edition.
Does the phrase, “having a personal relationship with Jesus” seem to stir uncomfortable feelings within your spirit? If so, why do you think that is? What is conjured up for you in that phrase?
When Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well, he asks her to give him a drink. Recently, someone put this in a light I had never seen before. If you think about it, Jesus was thirsting for something too. Jesus was thirsting for her thirst of him. What a concept! To think that the Lord of all goodness who is the source of all contentment and joy thirsts to fill us with the Living Water—that is deep! Jesus of Nazareth longs for deep relationship with us. That can feel scary to those of us who are afraid to trust that the Jesus of Nazareth intends good for us. Some of us have hang-ups about being in “close relationship with Jesus Christ” because we fear that what it means is what our old Southern Baptist tapes tell us about being a Christian. Our relationship with Jesus then becomes hijacked by a hurtful image of God so that we do not trust to place ourselves daily before the feet of Jesus and drink from his deep well of goodness for our souls.
But this passage from John encourages us to trust that Jesus longs for us to be in relationship with him so much so that he shares his life with us, the life that springs forth from his center, what he calls the Living Water. It gives us life eternal. Eternal life does not always have to be thought of as the afterlife. Eternal life can mean living in life full of joy, to the utmost of our ability—to have life and have it abundantly—this is LIFE. If we would but know who Jesus is daily, if we would but make ourselves more aware of Jesus’ presence, as he encourages the woman at the well to do, then we would be seeking him as the source of all our goodness in life. Seeking Jesus is the only way we can know this experience of LIFE, of fresh nourishment for our weary souls. As Abilene says to Miss Hilly in The Help when pointing out the fervor of her need to fight for fighting’s sake and her insistence on being an angry person, “Ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired?” Isn’t your soul tired of resisting Jesus and being angry at old, hurtful images of God? Isn’t it time to trust in the Jesus your soul so longs to believe in? Jesus desires to show us the beauty that is found in relationship with him. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
~Rev. Rebekah Falk