God and Me

I have known God from a very young age. It began as a sense of something or someone that I couldn’t understand. It touched me in the form of music as a choir boy. Even some of the ritual of church services, awe and comfort, reassurance in a frightening world where I felt very insecure and small. As I grew older this vast God who was formal and probably disappointed with me became more real when I was introduced to Jesus. He emerged as personal, kind and loving. More relevant to my life than I had imagined, inviting me into relationship and friendship. He loved me despite my inadequacies and sense of not being good enough. The stories about him and his disciples came to life.

Later I was introduced to God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Sounds weird to the uninitiated. I learned that God is both personal and powerful. Most exciting of all, he is not angry or disappointed with me. Rather, he loves me like a father and longs to help and empower me, supernaturally. I learned that God’s Spirit is much like electricity flowing through electric wire. The wire, merely copper and plastic, doesn’t amount to much on it’s own. But when electricity flows through it all manner of possibilities emerge. I learned that God’s Spirit flowing through very fallible human beings will release passion, love, healing, wisdom, kindness, and so much more into a broken world.

A world, and even a church, that so often loses the plot and focusses on the electric wire, the copper and plastic of life. When that happens the power does not flow and disillusionment and hostility take over. We end up strangling God and each other with long strands of cable, disconnected on both ends, producing carnage rather than gifts of life.

I have learned that God loved me from a very early age, and that it is never too late for broken wires and disconnections to be repaired. He took the initiative before I knew or even cared. Recently a friend reminded me of the passage in the bible where Jesus meets the woman at the well (John 4:4-42). It is beautifully depicted in the movie, ‘The Chosen’. It encapsulates so much of who I believe God to be and why I first felt compelled to spend my life in ‘ministry’.

Jesus is walking on his way to somewhere else when he and his disciples pass by a Samaritan village, around midday. Jesus waits at an ancient well while the disciples head to the village to get some food. A woman approaches the well, alone, in the heat of the day to fill her water jars. She is Samaritan, a woman, with a reputation as promiscuous. Hence even an outcast among her own people.

The religious people would throw stones at her, a Jewish man would never talk to her, and from her perception of reality God would certainly be the last person to pay her any attention. In the subsequent conversation that broken twisted piece of wire is tenderly touched and reconnected in the most unexpected and non-condemning way. The encounter reminds me again about why God is so real, so relevant, and so worth knowing.

He appears to the woman in the disguise of an ordinary man with extraordinary gifts. He does not want to frighten her, nor to add to the weight of condemnation she already carries. He converses with her and allows her to vent, to question, to express disappointment and even mistrust. He does not react, dogmatically correct, discipline, or argue. Gradually she melts and begins to hear and see beyond her defenses as Jesus listens to her and quietly engages. Her biggest problem, challenge, and failure has been with men. Here is a man who looks at her without lust or an agenda, who listens to what she has to say, who gives her dignity and respect, and who even validates some of her pain. The unspoken in their exchange is as powerful, maybe more so, than their words. That is often the way with God.

Our world is thirsting for such encounters.

I don’t know how many times over the undulating course of my life I have journeyed to the well alone. I have come disappointed, unbelieving, angry, feeling a failure, avoiding the scorn and judgement of my tribe, wondering where God has been, or why am I here again? So many questions. Perhaps you have, or are, making a similar journey? Time and again Jesus has met me, much as he did that woman so long ago. Accepting, refreshing, restoring. Most of us don’t need reminding of where and how we fail. We need water poured over our dry disfigured spirits to awaken and nourish new life – and hope.

We need to hear that God loves us even when things have gone wrong. There’s too much accusation, judgement, and casting one another out. Too much silence and not enough time for conversation. Time for listening in order to see and understand. Time to drink deeply from water that is freely poured out to overflowing in the cups of those who least deserve – maybe even us – remember when? One thing is for sure. Every human being will at one time or another find themselves at the well. Who we meet and the conversations we have could be life-changing. May we meet Jesus in 2023 and have revelations that bring us to life like that Samaritan woman did over two thousand years ago.

God will take the initiative, just ask for eyes to see and ears to hear. And don’t be afraid. Then, like the Samaritan woman, after drinking – pay it forward with joy.

The Song….

Woman at the Well – Olivia Lane

I heard a story from the Bible
When I was just a little girl
About a broken hearted woman
Who met the savior of the world

Thought it was just another story
One that the preacher man would read
But as I’m sittin’ here at home
Drinkin’ red wine all alone
I think that woman might be me

Cause tonight I feel just like
The woman at the well
Wondering how someone could love me
When I can’t love myself
But you want me as I am and that sounds crazy
I guess maybe that’s why grace is so amazing

Staring at that empty bottle
I swear I caught a glimpse of Him
He met me right there at the bottom and
Turned that wine to living water
And taught me how to love again

Cause tonight I feel just like
The woman at the well
Wondering how someone could love me
When I can’t love myself
But you want me as I am and that sounds crazy
I guess maybe that’s why grace is so amazing

It’s no longer just a story when I read it
‘Cause I’ve seen it for myself and I believe it

Cause tonight I feel just like
The woman at the well
Wondering how someone could love me
When I can’t love myself
But you want me as I am and that sounds crazy
I guess maybe that’s why grace is so amazing

Just like the story from the Bible
I heard when I was just a girl
I’m the broken hearted woman
Who met the savior of the world

Olivia Lane

John Cox

Christian Author

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