Tag Archives: well

If you’re in the valley, take heart

As the summer winds down in West Virginia, the nights are getting cooler and the days are filled with crisp air and falling leaves. A drive through the hills and valleys is filled with the splendid colors of fall and you can almost smell the pumpkin pie in the oven. I love this time of year! It’s a time of refreshing of the soul as the hustle and bustle of summer lends itself now to rest and a slower pace. At least until Christmas!

This morning I’m in Psalm 84, a Psalm said to have been written by David during the time his son had forced him out of his city, a Psalm that anyone who has been away from a place they longed to be in could understand. Perhaps it’s not a place you long to be in but rather a state of being you long to be in. That is more along the lines of where I am this morning. I long for a time of rest and not a constant battle to survive. Hmm… that may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s none the less true. And the places of refuge I find is in the word and house of God, so Psalm 84 encourages me this morning as I glean the understanding of the place David was in.

Psalm 84:6

Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.

According to bible scholars, the valley of Baca was a part of the desert country filled with many risks and dangers and it lead up to the city of Jerusalem where the house of God was located. Along the way there were wells of water that were apparently far apart and not easy to get to. It was a hard, suffering way to travel which is why the Valley of Baca literally means “Valley of weeping.” Those wells would have been a welcome sight as David fought his way back to his beloved Jerusalem.

During any struggle in life, time in the word of God is that refreshment between the times we’re in church. Church is a soul filling station, but for every day away the journey of life can become consumed with thorns and cares, and although few of us have to fight wild beasts, there are some pretty scary times to be faced, which can feel like something has its teeth in us that’s not about to let go.

David’s Psalm 84 has him longing to return to the house of God. Verses 1-2 says How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

But he couldn’t get there. And for much of our week there’s not a service to be attended until Wednesday and Sundays, so on the other days it’s so good to know that there is a soul filling station a hand breadth away in the Word of God.

As David traveled that rough terrain, a well was a welcome sight.  But take note that the spring of water didn’t just appear, when David was passing through he had to “make the well.” In our pursuit of God while traveling a rough terrain, the well that satisfies our soul may not just spring forth for a ready drink. We may have to dig a while. But that too is a welcome distraction away from the cares around us.

As always I have a long to do list and a performance at the end of the day. It was good to stop by the well location this morning and dig a little in the word of God.

I love the McKamey song that says

“Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain, you’ve got peace of mind when life’s at it’s best

But it’s down in the valleys of trials and temptations, that’s when life’s really put to the test,

For the God of the mountain is still God of the valley, the God of the day, is still God of the night!”

Glory, if I had shoes I kick’em off. (that’s what mama McKamey would do at a performance when she’d get in the spirit!”)

I sincerely hope you’re having a mountain top day, but if you’re in the valley, take heart. There’s a well ahead. Dig…

Stay Put and Dig

keep-calm-and-dig-deeper-35

Having watched my husband treat and supply water for our community for over 25 years I understand the importance, but I don’t think that I have a clue about the significance of the water in the days of Abraham and Isaac. After all, I turn on the faucet and the water magically appears, I waste water as I let it overflow down the drain when filling pots or running dish water, or running the dishwasher. Giving no thought to the value of it in comparison to its value in the days of Genesis 26 and of its spiritual implication and application in life.

Stay Put Shari… that’s what I hear this morning.

Genesis 26:1-3

And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;

Isaac was a new generation, he had begun his family and now had the responsibility of provider. Egypt would have made a lot more sense from the world’s standards with its great water supply and fertile lands, but God said stay… Gerar was a training ground for provision. It didn’t make sense by the world’s view point but from the perspective of Heaven it made perfect sense. God was teaching Isaac to depend on Him. Yes, he’d seen his father live by it but that didn’t make the lesson any easier for Isaac. I too have seen God’s provision for my parents in miraculous ways, I’ve seen Him provide for me in miraculous ways, but that doesn’t make it a breeze when I’m having to re-dig a well that has been stopped. When I walked away from a career in 2005 that was stable for the land of instability I second guessed that decision multiple times. It was a fertile land, but it was full of despair. So I traded it for a land with few resources, a land where I believed God said go. And after a short span of time, the new well I had dug dried up (A Substance Abuse Prevention Grant) but I struck water again at another location, but strove for it was well and it was soon gone. Again and again I’ve struggled, questioned, prayed and continued to stay where God has placed me. This morning as I grappled with unemployment, a land of little resource, God said stay put and dig. And so I dug for water where I knew it would be in the word of God.

Genesis 26:18-22

And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.  And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.  And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.  And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.

So… this morning I sit at my kitchen table… in my make shift office. Grateful for a husband with a wonderful job, who today is aggravating me with redneck hunting shows while I’m trying to blog and God speaks sweet peace to my soul. He put a giggle there too when my husband came in as I wrote that last sentence and asked if I’d like him to make himself scarce… and then read what I just wrote. We both laughed. God is good and God alone is an awesome provider.

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The First Easter Bucket

John 4:9-14

Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

I know we’re a few days past the Easter holiday, but truthfully, if we celebrate Christ in our lives every day we’re celebrating Easter; and this thought came into my mind and my heart yesterday and I needed to share it, as I’ve not been able to stop thinking about it since that time. The story of the woman at the well paints such a marvelous picture of salvation for the child of God. An interesting note about this story is that it’s the longest recorded conversation that Jesus has with any one person. And it happens to be with someone He, twice over, should not be talking to according to Jewish law. One a Samaritan, and two a woman. And yet, the Lord doesn’t stand on the formality of religion but rather He goes for the relationship. I love that about Jesus!

So here He stands (or sits, because He was weary) talking to this woman who came to the well in the hottest portion of the day, most likely to avoid people judging her, and she meets the only One worthy to judge. There’s probably a thousand points in this story, but today I’ll mention three.

  1. The Holey Bucket

The Samaritan woman came to the well prepared to get her own water and head back to the house before any of those judgmental people of her city came around. She’d had four failed relationships and was working on the fifth. She’d been let down so many times before, she knew better than to rely on anyone else to take care of her, she could take care of herself. Or so it is that I think of her. And independent woman. Her attitude with Jesus seemed to be almost sarcastic when she says “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with….” In other words, Mister, You came here without a bucket! How do you plan on getting water?

  1. The Holy Bucket

This is what I love about the Lord, and reading His word. In the Bible according to Shari, the one that plays out in my head when I hear or read the Word of God; the one that sometimes adlibs, I hear Jesus saying… Woman, I am the bucket! I have everything you need to sustain life. You can drink of what this world has to offer for the rest of your days but at the end you’ll die of thirst because you can’t live without me.

  1. The unholy Bucket

And then she realizes there’s something different about this man. He knows her, inside and out. He tells her everything that’s been going on in her life, and yet she doesn’t feel condemned. All the sinful, shameful things she’s been doing, she knows He knows. And she also knows that what He speaks is truth. Nothing in the world has ever satisfied her. She tried everything, and every time it fails. She’s tired of coming to that well ashamed, she want to be clean. She’s tired of carrying that unholy bucket around in her life that has her labeled an unfit woman. So she cast care to the wind and says “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”

I don’t want to come here again.

Woohoo! And Hallelujah, does that story ever put a shout in my soul! If the woman had a name tag, and she doesn’t, it would likely bear our name. She every one of us who comes to Jesus with our unholy bucket trying to cleanse ourselves, and it never works.

But Jesus isn’t at the well any longer, He is the well. Because of the cross of Calvary we now have that Easter Bucket of endless living water that will allow us to live eternally with our Lord, but for now will allow us to live effectually for our Lord. For now we have purpose.

There is so much in this story I can’t possibly do it justice in a blog, but after she finished her business with the Lord at the well, she went back to the city. This time she wasn’t avoiding people she was looking for people unashamedly to tell them what the Lord had done in her life!

So… have you been to the well? If you not… go quickly! If so… tell somebody!!!