“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere …” (Psalm 84:10a)
Our silent retreat, “Come to the Well,” proved to be a divine appointment for each one of us who cleared her calendar to spend the day at the Marianist Retreat and Conference Center, in Eureka, Missouri. We quenched our thirsty souls in His presence, soaked in His Word, and listened for His still small voice. After we broke for lunch, Pam Reed gave us more insight into the nature of the living water Jesus offers and shared with us how she has learned to drink deeply of it. Here are excerpts from her remarks.
The availability of water in the Middle East has always been an issue. The Egyptians lived in a land where almost no rain fell, and they used human effort to water the land through irrigation and canals. However, In Canaan, where the Israelites lived, the Jordan River flowed through a deep rift preventing irrigation. The land was completely watered by rain sent from God, and the Israelites considered it a miraculous gift from Him. It was no mistake that God led His people to a land requiring their dependence on Him for water. He did not want them to derive their security from their own efforts. The rain God sent was proof of His presence and blessings.
God made us and knows exactly what we need to survive and even to thrive. He made each of us with a thirst for spiritual truth that He alone can fulfill. This is the thirst that must be quenched by drinking of the life-giving living water Jesus offers. The more we spend time with Jesus, drinking in spiritual nourishment through His word, the more we are changed and our personal relationship grows deeper. This change is from the inside out. It is the Holy Spirit living in us who gives us the power to change; reveals God’s truth to us; gives us understanding of His Word; and convicts us of sin.
Like the Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at the well (John 4), there is much in our lives that needs to be cleaned up. However, “He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” (Psalm 103:14). He loves us unconditionally—so much so that Jesus died for us. We, His children, are secure in God’s everlasting love and His promise to never leave nor forsake us. What a gift! When I think about what He did for me, I want to drink much more of Him and open my whole heart completely to Him.
Because I want to be with Jesus, in the quietness of my living room, I praise His name through songs. I know my voice sounds beautiful to Him. This is how I drink. I tell Him how sorry I am for my sins and that with His help, I will not revisit them. This is how I drink. I thank Him for who He is: Holy, sovereign, the almighty God, infinite. And I thank Him for His answers to prayer and the strength to accept it when He says “no.” This is how I drink. I read His Word so I can better know who He is and how He wants me to live, and I listen for Him to speak to me. This is how I drink. I try to obey Him in every way and know this is possible only if I choose to do so through His power and strength, which He promises to provide. I continually call out to Him to show me what to do and give me the desire and ability to love others and to help me follow all of His commands. This is how I drink. I thank Him for all He has done: His unconditional love, His mercy, His grace, His patience with me, His Word, the way He works all things together for my good because I love Him, His discipline, and the list just keeps on going. This is how I drink. I just crawl up into His lap and tell Him how much I love Him.
And the more I drink of Him the more I know Him and trust Him and greater is my joy, even in the difficult times (and those are plenty). If the thirst isn’t there, He gives it to me when I ask.
Jesus is waiting. Will you come to the well?
“Lord, I praise you that you opened my heart to you because I would never have done it myself. ‘My heart owns none before thee, for thy rich grace I thirst; this knowing—if I love thee, thou must have loved me first’.” Amen.
(From Timothy Keller’s prayers in The Songs of Jesus, October 1.)