Begin Again

I was incredibly moved recently when a friend shared the exciting news that she had changed her name. Having been taken in by a family when she was 14 she knew for the first time what being loved as part of a family meant. Now 30+ years later she finds herself beginning again and entering a new chapter of her life. Part of marking that new beginning was changing her surname to the family one. It’s a testimony of faithfulness , love and adoption but also one of an ownership of her identity as one who is loved and belongs. Although it’s a new beginning it’s also true to say the journey has  come full circle and brought a completeness that a full stop can give.
Names are significant aren’t they? So as I pondered John 21 again this week the question arose once more for me – why did Jesus say, ‘Simon Son of John do you love me?’
We first meet Simon in Luke 5 when he is fishing and Jesus helps him catch a huge haul but he calls him out of that to be a fisher of men. At this time Jesus gives him a new name to mark the beginning of a new journey as a disciple. He calls him Cephas which means Peter. Yet here we are after the death and resurrection of Jesus and Jesus is calling him Simon.
My first thought is that Peter has been behaving in his old identity – so call him by his old name then. He’s been journeying with Jesus, heard amazing teaching and seen incredible miracles. He witnessed the death of Jesus but when it came to really identifying with Jesus and being associated with him, fear set in and he had denied knowing Him 3 times. Even after the resurrection morning Peter is still confused: perhaps unsure which direction his life is taking now that Jesus was no longer with them and in the absence of any other plan to move forward, he returns to his old job of fishing. All night they work with no success until a man at the shore suggests casting the nets on the other side. As the men reel in another huge catch, one of them whispers,’it is the lord’ and Simon, ever the impulsive one, dives into the water to get to Jesus quickly.
As they breakfast on the beach Jesus’ heart to restore Peter is huge. It reveals such kindness to give Peter a ‘do over’. In a wonderful redemptive act Jesus gives him 3 opportunities to confess his love for Him. 3 times Peter had denied Him but now 3 times He declares his love. A wonderful restoring.  Yet the question remains why call him Simon? If Jesus is restoring him why didn’t He call him Peter and reinforce the new identity He had given him as a fisher of men?
 Jesus was coming full circle but also beginning again. In what can only be another ‘do over’ Jesus is also taking Simon back to the beginning when they first met. Jesus is taking him back to the foundations of that first meeting and gently reminding him of that fresh encounter. He wants him to hear again the voice that called him and begin again.  I can imagine all the thoughts going through Simon’s head: how when he first heard his name being called he lived up to the meaning of that name. Simon means ‘he has heard’ . Jesus wants him to hear again like the first time. He wants him to remember that in the state he was as a simple fisherman Jesus noticed him and called him and Simon followed. Nothing’s changed from Jesus’ side even though Simon denied him. Nothing’s changed about Simon’s destiny.  In fact in the ‘begin again’ moment there is also a fullness.
Jesus not only says ‘Simon Son of John’ but he repeatedly asks ‘Do you love me?’ Bit needy of Jesus?  Self centred?   No chance! This is where I remind myself of Jesus’ heart to always give.  By asking Simon this question He is revealing what is in Simon’s heart not because Jesus needs to know, but because Simon needs to know. As Simon points out as a reply to the third time of asking, ‘You know all things, you know that I love you.’  Jesus knew but He wanted Simon to know and realise the depth of love He did have.
 Oswald Chambers puts it like this,  ‘There was no room for passionate utterance, no room for exhilaration or sentiment.  It was a revelation to him to realize how much he did love the Lord. Peter began to see how much he did love Jesus; but he did not say – “Look at this or that to confirm it.” Peter was beginning to discover for himself how much he did love the Lord, that there was no one in heaven above or upon earth beneath beside Jesus Christ’
Simon has always been a bit implusive.
  • He’s the one when realising Jesus’ is serious about washing his feet replies with gushing exuberance of yes and do more as well ‘do all of me over and over’ .
  • Simon was the one who wanted to show his commitment to defend Jesus by cutting off the soldiers ear when they came to arrest Jesus. 
  • He’s the one who wants to prove his faith in Jesus by walking on the water 
  • He’s the one who can’t wait for the boat to moor at the shore but dives in to swim so he’s the first one to greet Jesus.
Jesus is beckoning Simon to begin again afresh realising that he can add no enthusiasm or outward gesture of commitment other than his heart attitude of love. The full circle is to bring Simon back to his truest identity and that is to be lived in a life of love with Jesus. It’s about:
  • abiding in that love
  • receiving that love
  • responding to that love
  • living all of our life and activity from that love.  


Using Simon son of John was Jesus’ way of bring Simon back to being Peter.  Jesus had renamed him Peter meaning rock. This was when Simon had the revelation that Jesus is the Christ recorded in John 1 . It is on that rock of revelation that the future is built. That was this disciple’s future: His identity  was wrapped up in Christ being the Messiah. His whole future was to be lived dwelling in Jesus love.

So I’m encouraged to begin again – start over afresh. By no means disregarding or leaving behind the journey thus far, but arriving at the place of hearing Jesus afresh and marvelling at the voice I first heard calling me again.   A time for a gentle, loving reminder of what being a disciple of Jesus is all about without all the needless efforts of my own extravagant demonstrations of faith or commitment but humbly loving and responding to Jesus. It a time for a fullness and  a complete circle bringing us back to the start to step into our truest identity that is focused solely and wholly around Jesus.
T S Elliot sums it up: ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time’
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Jesus is the Well

Did anyone else see the story coming out of China this week? Last Saturday a 12 year old girl was flying her kite and whilst her focus was in the sky she stumbled and fell into a well. Having established her head was above water the emergency services  were called. A fireman descended down into the well but could not complete the rescue after 3 attempts. It took them 8 hours to systematically unearth the ground around the well and take away brick by brick  the structure so that they could successfully get to the child and release her.  The structure was unimportant compared to the person inside it and resulted in a happy outcome for a playtime gone wrong. You can read about it here.

As I read it I couldn’t help but think about the woman at the well in John 4.

When you think about a well do you conjure up the imagine of the stones housing the pulley system that holds the bucket, with a little thatched roof? You know like a wishing well? I do. The focus is on the structure of the well rather than the water that is inside it: the container not the contents.

As the conversation between the woman and Jesus unfolds He’s continually drawing her attention away from outside structure and formats to actually reveal His very Presence to her as a spring inside her. Jesus had given this woman a promise: ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”   Straight away Jesus isn’t on the container but He’s explaining about the contents. He’s not talking about a well  outside but a spring of water inside her bringing Life.

What I notice is during the conversation Jesus is busy digging around all her structures of places she thinks she will get ‘water’ to refresh her. He wants to reveal that it is Himself, not the well, that is important. He wants to reveal Himself to her as a spring.

So what structures does she, and us, try before we see Jesus for who He is?

  • Relationships -He asks her to go call her husband and it’s a question that reveals her broken attempts at finding the refreshment of acceptance in another  human person. This woman is thirsty for love.  This woman hoped in the institute of marriage as a container to meet her needs but clearly, for whatever reason, the contents of those relationship failed her. Drawing her attention to the inadequate experiences she has had makes her vulnerable. It also shows us that our relationships, better or worse than hers, are just one place that we go to meet our needs. Another relationship, however, intimate, isn’t going to meet our deepest need. We’re busy using a water pot trying to draw out what we need the whole time. It leaves us thirsty.
  • Religion -The woman tries to deflect the question and brings up religion. Is it this mountain or that which is the right place?  Are we to please God in this location or that one? If I do it this way will He bless me? Will I be out of His will if I go that way?  Always with the right and the wrong. This fits that doesn’t. Its the rule keeping and the works of earning His love and pleasure. We do the same. Even when you hear great grace teaching we still fall into making it about how much we prayed, gave, fasted, believed or applied His teachings. Our focus becomes what we need to create to contain the goodness of God in our life.  Still using the water pot to draw out what we think we need to ‘do.’ This leaves us frustrated and thirsty too.
  • Reverence -Jesus leads her on that rule keeping religion needs to make way for worship.  He points out that people are worshiping what they do not know. People at that time went to the temple to make an offering or sacrifice. Here Jesus explains about worshiping in Spirit and truth.  To worship God involves every part of our lives given over to a deep respect to hold Him in the highest regard in all that we do.  How can you worship like that if you don’t know Him?  That’s a life style not a visit!  Fast forward to today and we can fall into worship being singing songs of adoration. Be honest, we’ve all walked away from a church service and commented at least once, ‘ well the worship didn’t do it for me, the singers were a bit off’ or ‘ the music was way to loud and I couldn’t connect with God.’   Of course instruments and melody add to our worship immensely but again we are trying to fill up our water pot to refresh us for a limited time of singing – leaving us thirsty again for more.

Jesus is busy taking away brick by brick any places of a ‘well’ that she has tried to go to to draw refreshment and fulfillment from, so that He can get to the important Person.  Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” He reveals Himself. The well or meeting place isn’t important. The outside structure isn’t important: it’s the Person of Jesus – I AM – that is the refreshment and fulfillment of all that we need. He is the living water – Jesus is the well of water. He is the inner spring that bubbles up into Life. It’s our union with Him alone that refreshes us so we are no longer thirsty, ever again. Jesus is the well because it’s not the container but the substance of who He is and that He gives Himself to us that matters. 

Having grasped the truth of this the woman leaves her water pot. Very symbolic that she is no longer going to need to draw from any well because she has the Spring -Jesus Himself – in her. I love that as she goes into the village and the invitation she offers isn’t ‘come to the well’ She’s says ‘Come, see a man’  She’s got it straight away that it’s not about the how to, or the location: it’s about the Person.  I’ve heard lots about Christ in me the hope of glory but this woman just gets it by revelation!

Imagine for a moment: have you ever been with someone who is in a new relationship or getting married soon? They talk about their partner a lot. Understandably. This woman’s been married 5 times and living with someone else. She has bound to have spoken to lots of people over the years about the men she’s met and the impact and expectations of that relationship. The village have heard her before and could have easily been predicted to ignore her going off on one about the latest man she’d met. But this time there must have been something different about her for them to pay enough attention to go and see Jesus. Christ in her the hope of Glory was already shining out of her. Jesus Himself in her drawing others to come see and experience Him for themselves. Jesus Himself, the living waters inside her were already bubbling up into life for her and others. Incredible!

I read lately that we are ‘not in the day of church but in the day of Jesus.’ What I understand from that is we have to be aware not to make religion and the organisation of a  relevant church meeting most important. The focus becomes the well as  a  structure to draw refreshment from in being connected to others and practicing our faith projects whilst singing songs. The day of Jesus keeps our focus solely and wholly on who He is and we live our lives abiding whilst He springs up as Life to us, in us, and through us.

Jesus is the well because Jesus is the Spring. We are the container, His Body, that has the Spring, the Person, who is offering the living water inside us.  When we meet people we can give them a drink! It’s our union and connection to Him that is Life. It’s His faithfulness to us that is the foundation of our faith in Him. It’s our reverence to put Him first that means we worship all day everyday so that His life shows out in all we do.

I’ll finish with a story that happened this week that illustrated this all to me. I had a busy day on Wednesday and drove My husband and daughter to the airport. On the way home I stopped at the supermarket only to finally get home and realise I had forgotten all the important items I actually needed. So back I go to the supermarket. At the till the lady in front of me is taking her time. She’s clearly having a bad day and had lost her car keys so walked, was busy changing her mind about items she did or didn’t want. Then when it’s time to pay she can’t find her card and has to void the whole thing. I thought for a moment to bless her by paying for the shopping (so we could all get on really!) and God whispers, ‘ take her home and chat’ She’s relieved at the offer and gets in my car.  During the 5 mile round trip She’s busy chatting away about her situation and why she’s frazzled. Recently separated in her marriage she’s disappointed to be starting again.She gets her shopping and I’m happy to drive her home again. All the time I can hear Jesus saying,’ just listen.’  As we pull up outside her home, she turns to me and suddenly says,’ you’re a vicar aren’t you and spiritual will you pray with me as I need to get my life on track!’  I’m loving that this wasn’t structured or about where or how we met but Jesus was drawing this woman and wanted to reveal Himself. I explain I’m not religious but I do know Jesus and He makes the difference, the only difference. As I prayed I asked that Jesus would make Himself real to her and promised to pop in and see her again.

That’s Jesus Himself springing up to bring life! That’s the Well doing His work.



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Look – See


I was walking in a local park recently when a couple approached. As we passed each other I just heard one of them say,’ I’m going to have a look see when I get home.’

How true is that? Only that morning I’d asked my daughter to get something for me and as she opened the fridge the reply came, ‘we haven’t got any.’  When it was there right in front of her on the shelf!  We look put we don’t always see something do we? It’s hidden in plain sight!!

In the context of my last blog, ‘fix your eyes on Jesus’ this seems so relevant.  We look, but do we see Him?

John 9 recounts the story of the man born blind from birth. It’s the Sabbath when Jesus spits on the ground then covers his eyes with mud made from the saliva.  Unconventional to say the least.  He asks the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam.  Whatever caused this man to be obedient to the request, he goes and comes back seeing. The man can see for the first time in his life but a lot of other unseen things surface too.  Rather than rejoice with the man at this miracle, the reactions that follow reveal people’s hearts. Doubts and questions surface over:-

  • the truth of the man’s original condition (v 8 is this the man who used to sit and beg?)
  • the timing of Jesus to work on the Sabbath and therefore not respecting the traditions and culture of their religion (v 16 This man is not from God for he does not keep the Sabbath)
  • the testimony of his parents (v 18 They called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them)
  • the theology of God using a ‘sinner’ like Jesus who couldn’t possibly work from their understanding of God. (v 24 we know this man is a sinner – v 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from)

The people raising this question, twice, were Pharisees: men who were upholding and set apart to instruct others on who God was. They spent their lives looking for God and yet when He turned up in plain sight they could not see Him. They looked but couldn’t see.  We really are blind aren’t we if we think we can see without Jesus?

It’s not the only time it happened either. Having been in the wilderness for 40 days Jesus ‘returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee,‘He goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath and picks up the scroll and reads Isaiah 61. Luke 4  v 20 says, ‘and eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.’ They’re looking but do they see?. This starts off promising as they ‘marvel at the gracious words’ but soon the limitations appear again as they react to His:-

  • parentage –  (is this Joseph’s son? rather than the Son of God)
  • the promise of prophecy fulfillment (the declaration of Isaiah 61 being  fulfilled and present in their midst caused such a reaction they took Jesus to the edge of the cliff to throw Him over!)

They, like the other Pharisees are offended by Jesus. The realities of the church and cultural traditions are challenged by the realities of the kingdom being present. So rather than looking and seeing what is in plain sight they reject it. They reject Him.  Karla McClurg puts it like this, ‘Jesus has barely begun his public ministry, and people begin already to make conjectures as to who he is, what his motivation is, whether or not he will live up to the rumours they have heard that he is the longed for Messiah. Their own hopes and longings get tangled in their desire for him to be for them what they long for him to be. Will they leave space for him just to be who he is?

If we are honest we can do this so often too. We look for Him, searching to find evidence of Him working or of His presence with us. We look to Him to answer our prayers and situations. But what about just looking at Him and allowing Him to be who He is not what we want to make him in our limited head knowledge?

You see, ‘Fix your eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith’ is more of a challenge than we perhaps realise. It is so easy to become entangled by the weight of distractions that blind us.

 There is no profound revelation to draw out of these scriptures I’ve mentioned. The only challenge to move from only looking but actually seeing is :-

  • to stop  fitting Him into our ideas and fixing our eyes on Him instead
  • to cease reasoning the information and receive the Person
  • to block our incessant need for judgments of right and wrong and jump into the mystery of God
  • to refrain from analyzing our thoughts and accept His actions

 We need to untangle ourselves from the stories we have been telling ourselves and let Him tell the story of who He is – however unconventional or unexpected that may be. If we can let go our limited knowledge to actually, ‘know this love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,‘ so that we’may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’ (Eph 3 v 19)

That’s a wonderful promise isn’t it that Christ is far beyond anything we can imagine or gain knowledge about. He wants us to surpass our looking and go further still to see , know and experience the fullness of who He is. We’re not meant to look in black and white but see in full colour!

 We can stop searching as it’s really is as simple as seeing what is already given in the Person of Jesus.  Karal Mcclurg goes on to say, ‘ Maybe this is why he says to the curious, “Come and see.” Don’t try first to learn all about me as though that were possible. Just be with me. Watch me. Let me be myself as I become who I am becoming, and you just be yourself, too. We’ll let go of our preconceived ideas of who we “should” be and discover our true identities.’


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Fixing 2017

I hear lots of people saying they are glad to see the back of 2016 and so 2017 is here and with it my inbox and Facebook page flooded with good wishes for the new year, full of hopes, resolutions, anticipation and plans. Yet my year ahead look a bit like this.



A blank page. Sure, I have plenty of things I need to pin down and arrange.  Lots of potential projects and meetings to firm up and people to see.  Yet , like many I ponder for a moment what I see for the year ahead. What do I need to do? What do I want to achieve? Then before I know it my focus is on the challenges that present of how to do it and when.  I’ve moved full throttle into ‘fix it’ mode.  Do is such a small word yet loaded with the clutter of distracting activity


I’m relieved to catch myself wandering quickly and peace floods over me as I hear God whisper, ‘Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of your faith.’ That’s exactly the simplicity that needs to fill up the pages of 2017. I don’t need to fix anything other than my eyes on Jesus and our relationship.


  Jesus told us, ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is clear,your whole body will be full of light. Matt 6 21 –22.  Where we fix our gaze and focus on will reflect what’s important to us. We get caught up doing and fixing life in our own strength and our treasure isn’t Jesus. He’s not the author then, we are.  As the new year begins we can start to reset the house again, tidying away all the clutter of decorations and finding homes for all the gifts and things we’re acquired. We can reflect on all the baggage that’s come from 2016 that still needs to be fixed or resolved and plan for 2017 with our hopes of a fresh start. We begin to reflect different treasures then in our doing and activity.  New year’s day seems to have that stamped in our thinking, faith or not, with so many of us trying to press the rest button: a fresh start to get back on track.; set new goals and resolutions to fix what we perceive needs doing. Perhaps the fixing is driven by:-

  • culture – everyone’s doing it this way so I’ll join in

  • tradition -we’ve always done it this way so I’ll just keep going

  • emotions – well this feels right so I will

  • reason – it seems like a good plan so I’ll go that route


 But we don’t want the same old same old do we? We’ve not been this way before- this time stretched out before us is new and none of that allows Jesus to be the Author. You see author speaks to me of someone who creates something, the instigator. It begins with Him.  The Greek word is archegos  meaning founder of,  the cause, beginning or  basis of all the rest.   All of what lies ahead is securely held by the One who holds it all together. That’s why we’re encouraged to fix our eyes on Him then all of our life lights up with His life. Maybe encourage isn’t imperative enough, but fix is. When I looked up the word fix it means:-

  • to fasten something in position  attach, secure, connect, anchor, establish or position

  • to keep something or some one in sight to direct ones eyes mind and attention steadily and unwaveringly towards.  Focus, gaze, zero in on, be captivate by, absorbed

  • to continue to think about or remember. Keep constantly in mind.

  • to decide or settle on  


 That’s the fix for 2017: Fixing our eyes on Jesus like that and allowing Jesus to write the story He wants to tell as the author.  As I reviewed 2016 I asked God want I had achieved and what were the highlights but He had a question for me instead. ‘What have I become to you and in you?’  This blog is more of a journal of my walk of faith and as I look at it for  the last year I started by writing (click on the links if you’re interested) about journeying with light then moved on to and yet  as God encouraged me to re frame my perspectives to allow more of His story, not mine, to be seen.  I spent several months thinking about practicing resurrection life as my understanding grew of what that common-union meant.  He’s encouraged me to be wholehearted and focus on who He is, not on what I’m not so that my life gets poured out and becomes one that is exposing God.   Hope’s home is always Christ in me the hope of glory and He can manifests in my life.  Yet Jesus wanted to go a little further as the year progressed from God with us to Christ in us to Christ is all. 


So 2017 starts with all the goodness He has already revealed and building further on that. Christ is all and I choose to fix my eyes on Him  I want my heart to reveal the treasure that is Jesus so that the blank pages of my 2017 book gets JESUS written on it in big bold letters on every page.

So be blessed in 2017. Know it doesn’t need to be fixed by resolutions, plans or by all our ‘doing’ but simply and deliberately fixing our eyes on who He is and what He has become to us and in us. Jesus is more than enough. He’s the start middle and end!

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Jesus wants to go a little further (3)

With five children there is a lot to do with the preparations for Christmas. As they’ve got older my expectations were that it would get a little easier, simpler perhaps.  Not so much. Our children are incredibly close and  enjoy each others company at every opportunity and when it comes to Christmas they have lots of family traditions that still have to be observed.  It’s not solely the traditions in themselves but the fun we all have doing it together. Like digging up a fresh Christmas tree and  selecting just the right one so it can house seven stars on top: one for each of us. Then placing the ‘Riga rat’  ( long story) in the branches along with a handmade decoration saying ‘Jesus is the reason for the Season’

Despite all the ‘things’ we do, we have always tried to make Jesus central. The core message whilst raising them, was that this season wasn’t about family time or religious traditions but a celebration of Emmanuel – God with us.  This year though I just can’t get away from Jesus wanting to go a little further and He’s been challenging me again this week that God with us leads to Christ in us  but more that Christ is All in all.
In the other two blogs on this I’ve been digesting that in all of our activity with and for Jesus He is going a little further to reveal that it’s Jesus that fulfils all our yearnings. Simply Jesus Himself. Whilst talking to Jesus about this He showed me just how far He went. Matthew 26 v 39  says,Going a little further, He fell with his face to the ground and prayed
It’s from the account of Jesus, on the night before He died praying in the garden of Gethsemane. Looking at all the gospel accounts of that time I could see again the little further Jesus is opening up to us. Reading how Jesus had shared a Passover meal with His disciples, prayed with them and then gone to pray in the garden before being arrested showed me Jesus’ heart in beckoning us on.  He showed the way.
God with us
Jesus is sharing a meal with His disciples.  He explains to them that He is with them now but will be going back to the father. They see Him as teacher and Lord, share communion and pray together.   He explained to them that although He was going away in a flesh sense, in Spirit He was not. He’s with them yet desiring to reveal to them the little further that the broken bread actually means. Partaking of Jesus Himself in this way moves us to:-
Christ in us
In John 17 he shares with us the prayer Jesus uttered just before He went to the garden. Rather than unpack that as a Bible study read it yourself and let the Spirit impart Jesus heart for you to you. HERE  It’s enough here to say that Jesus’ heart expressed is interwoven with so much love for the Father and us. He says, ‘I desire…’ He wants us so much to grasp that having left heaven to be born as a babe in human flesh He still lived solely and wholly set apart for the Father’s will.  He sets out that although in the world, we are not of it- He’s declaring that although we are flesh we are to live in Spirit just like Him. He’s given us the glory which is Jesus himself IN us.
I’d been sharing this with some friends on Tuesday and Wednesday morning an email arrived with the title,’ The answer to Jesus prayer – it will manifest’ I loved the encouragement Jesus gave me that, yes I was hearing Him but this is on His heart. The email was all about John 17 and how Jesus desires that we know our oneness with Him. People are awakening to the truth of it and that as these wheels have been turning they are now going to be joined together as wheels within a wheel, that the cogs joined together will create forward movement: union in each person with Jesus but a harmony with each other as Christ is central. Which moves us a little further to :-
Christ is All
The little further Jesus went was to lay prostrate on the ground to pray. He was utterly surrendered to God physically to face the cross but also in Spirit out of love- It was the joy of knowing that He would return to the Father and bring many others of us with Him. Yes, Jesus went on to pray ‘if there’s a way take this cup away’ but as Gibson points out, it wasn’t the weakness of Jesus’ flesh that this expressed but the purity of His spirit. He was just about to bear ALL our sickness and All our sin to end the separation we had with God. Yet He consecrated Himself so that we could be in the truth. He set Himself apart to do just the Father’s will, ‘  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us’
When He prayed He desired that we would be one with Him but also each other and that this relationship, not our activity, would be the witness to the world.  You see the glory of the relationship in Jesus leads to Him being ALL- nothing else is added,, or needed – it’s the relationship that is the witness not what we do because of it.  Jesus in us and ALL.
As Paul puts it in Colossians 2 v 9-10, ‘in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him.’  If we are filled with all that Christ is then we lack nothing and have need for nothing or to do anything. He’s done it all! We have ALL in Jesus Himself.
And then I’m back at the start – Emmanuel – God with us.  The night Jesus was born He was central, He brought together Mary and Joseph, He united the riches of the kings with the poorness of the shepherds to come and worship. Heaven was united with earth as the angels rejoiced. Jesus central and bringing all into unity around Himself. As we go into this season, not just Christmas but into 2017, rejoice at Christ being born but go the little further just like Jesus did. We can make room for Him, find a vacancy to accommodate Him. We can rejoice and make Him central but go the whole way: Jesus Himself is the way. Be utterly abandoned and wholeheartedly surrendered  to make Him all in all because what ever circumstance we are in Christ is all : Christ is my fullness; Christ is my supply; Christ is my peace; Christ is my rest; Christ is my meaning; Christ is my hope; Christ is Life “
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Jesus wants to go a little further (2)

As my husband is on a mission trip I get to eat all the things I enjoy and he doesn’t.  Of course I can eat them whilst he’s home but it’s a ‘treat yourself to your favourite’ vibe in his absence.  Beetroot and feta salad or a broad bean burger isn’t really a meal for a bloke is it? Besides it’s comfort food. It’s interesting why and how we do that isn’t it? Those choices remind me of someone and happy memories, so I enjoy the taste all the more. It feeds me on an emotional level as well as nourishment.


Humans seem to do that with activity too.  Carly Houselander puts it like this, ‘Strangely enough, those who complain the loudest of the emptiness of their lives are usually people whose lives are overcrowded, filled with trivial details, plans, desires, ambitions, unsatisfied cravings for passing pleasures…. They have no sense of being related to any abiding beauty, to any indestructible life: they are afraid to be alone with their unrelated hearts.’  We need to be connected to life and people in some way and filling it up with ‘doing’ can sometimes just fill the void for that moment – something extra is missing and we  yearn to be satisfied. All those temporary  foods, things or activity, however pleasant, don’t fill that yearning emptiness in a lasting way.


This follows on from my last blog on Cleophas walking on the road to Emmaus. He has been connected to Jesus. He’d been in the group called a disciple and he had lots of information and experiences of Jesus but knew something else was missing. Whilst talking it all through he didn’t regonise Jesus was there all the time with the answer. He  was connected and associated to Jesus but still missing that vital part of  engaging with the new life Jesus brings. That is until they break bread together and Jesus took them a little further to open their eyes to communion – Life in relationship to Him.




My thoughts have taken me to John 6 and the large gathering of men who Jesus fed with the bread and fish the boy provided.  The people have enjoyed His teaching and the provision of their needs being met. It’s pretty incredible that so many people eat a meal that filled them all up and still there was some left over. That’s a lot of food Jesus made so understandably  they want Him to stick around. They come up with a plan to make him King .

  • This man can lead us and rule our kingdom.

  • He can be the one responsible for our well being and set the order we need.

  • He can provide for us in every way.  They’re on to a good idea until we notice the word ‘ by force’.  Those 7 letters change the intention completely. It suggests that they are not willing to submit to His ways but actually want to control Him instead.

  • They need Him for  a certain service but are not going to give Him a free hand. 

Perhaps it’s the comfort food vibe again of meeting their needs of being associated and connected to him and each other and having the blessings of signs that are so good and comforting. It certainly provides for their emotional and physical needs but it’s limited there.  With this type of king we can still be in control, not Jesus. I said it last time: there are so many who clearly seem to be steeped in Jesus’ Spirit,–it is evident from the way they live and love–but they haven’t yet, for whatever reasons, recognized who He is or how close He is to them.  We’re all like Cleophas and this group of 5000 men sometimes.  We go to church, are connected to Jesus, love the profound teaching, the signs that get shared in testimonies of how God provided our physical and spiritual needs, how He does miracles for us breaking out in our midst.  We’re connected to the body, the people  we are journeying with and the order and the  ‘food’ for us and to us that it provides. 



And yet  Jesus ‘withdrew’ v 15 because He didn’t resonate with that. Not because He didn’t care for them, He’d demonstrated His heart towards them already, He’s not leaving them – He’s at it again going a little further to see who wants to come into the fullness. He’s beckoning us on to follow. He wants everyone to understand it’s not about the ‘food’ we eat, be it physical nourishment or activity that sustains us – it’s about ‘  true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world’  The little further  is to take them, and us, on into feasting on Jesus and the Life He offers in and of Himself, not the signs that are pointing to Him. He’s going a little further to explain it’s not about being a king ruling over a body of people, but about ‘His body’ only.


As Jesus begins to unpack what is going to satisfy our deepest longing He explains that they came because of the signs and the bread when really He wants us to understand we can feed on Him. What???!! what’s the difference?  Well it’s the jump from ‘the body’  to ‘His body’. Jesus brings it right back to Him being the living bread that gives Life.  He highlights that we don’t need to work for teaching, fellowship or signs but for the ‘true bread’ that endures with lasting satisfaction that completely nourishes and sustains us.  This food isn’t a comfort for a quick fix but the one that satisfies all the yearnings deep down in all of us. It’s Jesus Himself. He’s the food we need to consume.  If we really want to make Him king then Ephesians 1 v 23 explains, And God put everything under His feet and made Him head over everything for the church,which is His body,the fullness of Him who fills all in all.


It’s Christ actual body that  is the fullness, not the people, or gathering that are eating it that brings the fullness. Not ‘the body’ of people as the church but HIS body. His flesh that is all in all.  It’s Christ Himself. I’m not denying the benefits, blessing or function of the body being connected: I’m recognising that Jesus wants to make Himself central and then we get the rest anyway.




  It’s a hard one to understand  and we can identify with the people who

  • grumbled,  repeatedly  about it v 41 v 43 
  • dismiss and limit Jesus. Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? v 42 Jesus can’t meet my needs He’s just another man like me,   ( interesting that they feel they know Jesus’ father Joseph instead of the Father in Heaven who draws and teaches us everything)
  • said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”  v 60 perhaps they want their ears to be tickled with nice comforting thoughts again not a challenge to press in.
  • decided to walk away. ‘ many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.  v 66 perhaps they are satisfied with what they have received and experienced so far and go home.




Jesus presses the point. The flesh with it’s desires are no use to us at all. What ever type of  ‘food  we eat’ it’s  temporary: the experiences of Jesus we have in teaching, fellowship and signs are just that- signs pointing us a little further to the fullness. It’s all pointing us to Jesus’ body in Spirit. The words He speaks to us are Spirit and Life. He is the word become flesh, all things were made through Him and for Him and to Him and that is what He gives us as the living Bread. He gives Himself, willingly. He doesn’t want to be king externally by focus, he wants an internal kingdom in us by speaking directly to us words of Spirit and life.  When we partake in this food we are in communion and feasting!


That’s the right kind of flesh we need to eat that’s His body. When we hear this in the spirit we are sustained in a totally fresh way. We  can receive Jesus and take the words and life He offers into our spirit and our very being is energised and built up. We are healthy and satisfied in a way that physical food or the body only imitates. When we consume Jesus we are being in his presence and conscious of His life nourishing us.  When we eat His body we are then consumed with His love and beauty and who He is to us and in us.  Then Life blossoms and bursts out everywhere, we have everything we need. Life.


So the invitation stands, who wants to come a little further?  Let’s eat the Bread He offers. Jesus Himself, and be like the disciples who said, ‘give us this bread always’ and echo the words of Peter, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God’ 



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Jesus wants to go a little further….

It’s been a while since my last post. I wrote then about Jesus’ journey from meeting Nicodemus to the woman at the well and how through those two conversations He demonstrated the move from practicing religion to encountering the I AM.  This heart felt prayer of Hosea of ‘Oh, that we might know the LORD! Let us press on to know him’ resonates  with me that Jesus wants to take us much further in knowing and experiencing Him than we have yet understood. For myself and the people we meet with there is a yearning to encountering  the depths of I AM in a greater, fuller way. Jesus wants that too. Luke 24  v 29 says, ‘He made as though he would have gone further.It’s from the road to Emmaus with Cleophas and another disciple that I’ve seen the different ‘stages’ Jesus walks us through and the little further He wants to take us. 

Confusion and Conversation

 It’s actually the resurrection morning, as it’s the third day since Jesus died but I’m not clear why they would be returning home.  After all :-

  • They are disciples of Jesus so had been with Him during His life and listened to His teaching: saw His miracles and shared life together. 

  • They’ve been in Jerusalem and have witnessed His death, the events He told them about.

  • They’ve heard personal testimony from the woman who found the empty tomb and were ‘amazed’ by it ( v 22) 

  • They’ve heard from the other disciples who also found the empty tomb and  explained that they’d ‘even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.’ (V 23)

  • They expressed how they recognised Jesus as a ‘prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. ( v 19)

  • They profess they ‘hoped’ in Him ( V 21)

 So why, with all that history and evidence do they walk away? Why do they leave to go home?   It’s one Jesus wanted to know too. they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.  And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad Their eyes were still not quite open to Jesus’ presence with them despite how far they had come in their journey with Him.

  • Perhaps it’s because they didn’t actually go and see the empty tomb for themselves. 

  • Possibly it’s because they didn’t hear the angels declare to them personally about the living Jesus. 

  • Maybe it’s because they still referred to, and limited Him, in His flesh identity as Jesus of Nazareth and not yet understood Him to be the Son of God.  

  • Could it be they still think their interpretation of events is the only way to see things?  Why else do they ask Jesus. ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?  (Very Ironic as the story revolved around the one they are speaking to! He wasn’t a ‘visitor’ to Jerusalem-  it was where He belonged as His place of destiny.)

 All of these played a part along with the perspective that the story had ended and not quite worked out as they had wished for. They’d come a long way, enjoyed it all while it lasted but now it was time to go home. Plenty of us have moments like that right? We’ve been with Jesus, saw Him at work. rejoiced and enjoyed. We’ve heard the testimonies and hoped and trusted, but like Cleophas and his friend we need our own personal encounter with the Living Jesus. There are so many who clearly seem to be steeped in Jesus’ Spirit,–it is evident from the way they live and love–but they haven’t yet, for whatever reasons, recognized who He is or how close He is to them.

Coaching through the Scriptures.

The compassion of Jesus to come along side them and listen to their external processing is lovely. How He takes the time  to remind them, again, of all the promises and plans of scripture- to open up the familiar words so it’s stirring their hearts again. He gently starts at the beginning and urges them on to the glory. And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (v 27)  What a fabulous place to be having the scriptures explained. We’ve all loved it when we hear a good sermon that stirs our hearts up to ‘ wow – that’s good such insight!’  Jesus makes to go a ‘little further’ and the disciples urge Him to stay as the day has ended. Who wouldn’t want that ‘season’ to end right?  Such a great choice not to let Him walk on with out them though. A more significant invitation than they realised at the time to actually receive Jesus into their home. 


And here is the  turning point: in their home they let Jesus host.  When he was at the table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. v 30 That simple act opens us more than their realised at the time. Finally letting go of their agenda to be in charge of events and along with it their perspectives change. They have received Jesus and now receive from Him. In that moment sharing communion their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. They tasted and saw Life in a new way, finally recognising that Jesus was with them all the time. Finally they saw the complete, alive Jesus present with them.  The little further doesn’t stop with a meal though- It’s only just begun!

Conscious we are His Body

The two disciples made a response: they changed direction. They didn’t stay home but returned to Jerusalem leaving at once at night. Suddenly at night because staying put wasn’t an option now. It’s easy to say I’ll wait till morning when I’m refreshed and have the light to walk in and not  inconvenient. Perhaps it’s easy to be satisfied with conversation, teaching and fellowship.  They went forward, not back, to Jerusalem. Forward because it’s not the Jerusalem that they had left defeated and confused but the new Jerusalem where Jesus is alive. The bible says lots about the ‘new Jerusalem’ but it’s enough here to say it’s the place of a full manifestation of God’s goodness. It’s the completed work that Jesus has bought appearing. That’s what we get when we eat the Bread and eyes are opened to Jesus being alive. That’s the place Jesus wants to take us.  Jerusalem was where His ‘church’ was born. It’s where the new Life of His body came into being.

The wonderful thing I notice here is that as they finally understood whilst eating, Jesus vanished.  I struggled to understand that till I caught that as they eat the Bread it becomes part of them. Jesus Himself, the Bead of Life, becomes part of them. He’s not vanished but now  IN them. When we partake of Jesus we are eating resurrection too, swallowing it down, letting Him become us. We are being remade.  When they arrive in Jerusalem to tell the eleven disciples Jesus appears again because He travelled with them – in them.  Where they are, He is and where He is in Spirit, is where they are! He’s constant in the communion. The Lord, who often used visual signs around Him to make a truth become real to His followers now draws attention to His body,  He said, ‘See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see.’  He’s showing His aliveness but they understand they are part of Him too.  They’ve ate the Bread of life, tasted it, they have seen it, (well not it but Him) and as their eyes wander to their own skin they know the Life is in them too. 

This is the place I see so many people at the moment. We’ve enjoyed time with Jesus, saw Him minister but it didn’t all quite work out the way we thought.  And we’re all a bit busy talking about it and having our conversations. Our faith rises as we raise our confession and beginning again looking at scripture and  enjoying great teaching. But none of that makes His Body. It’s in the conscious, constant communion with the source of Life that the Body manifests. Eat the Bread – partake of Jesus, Himself. Accept Jesus’ out stretched hand to go a little further. Let Him host you. Let Him write the story, not you. Lay down your expectations and the comfort of ‘home’ and enter into His story – because there is MORE.  There’s a change of direction for you  to though.

  • If you want to stay talking about Him and hearing other people’s testimonies- that’s ok Jesus is still with you …..but He’s going a little further….

  • If you want to hear lots of teaching and have your heart stirred up – that’s ok too- He’s still with you…..but He’s going a little further….

  • If you want to invite Him to stay have fellowship with you – that’s great as well- because He’s present…..But Jesus wants to go a little further….

He wants to manifest His Body and Life in you and through you in a much deeper way. He wants us to sense the unity of heaven and earth, – so our existence sings with the life that is Life.  He wants to display His body through the Bread of Life shared with us, through us and to others.  He wants us to eat the Bread then be the Bread for others. He wants us  to walk on into a full manifestation of His Body living out the Hope that is in us- Christ.

 Who wants to come a ‘little further’?


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When being a nobody with nothing is just right

I’ve been pondering more on ‘Christ in You: the hope of glory’ and my thoughts have taken me to John 3 and 4.

In John 3 Jesus is talking to a  ‘Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews‘ but shortly after in John 4 He is talking to an unnamed woman at a well in Samaria. The two  encounters seem very different.

  • It is night time when Nicodemus speaks with Jesus but in the heat of the day at noon for the woman
  • Nicodemus has a position and standing in the community as a ruler but the woman is isolated visiting the well alone instead of typically in the cool of the day with the other women. She’s doesn’t even have a position in a family, let alone the community.
  • A Pharisee would have lived strictly by a moral code and seen to do the right thing . The fact this woman had 5 previous husbands and living with a 6th reflected not just her different moral code but also the men who placed no value on her. 
  • At least Nicodemus sought out Jesus to ask questions.  The woman doesn’t know who Jesus is and simply encounters a stranger at the well.
  • the man responds to Jesus with rational, reasoned questions whilst the woman reacts  to the experience of truth.

Different, but still the same and if we are honest our experience is found in both of them too.

They are both hiding who they are from other people. Nicodemus perhaps couldn’t have asked those questions in public with his position of ruler. He would have been perceived as having all the answers already. The woman attends to her chores alone in the inconvenient heat. She too couldn’t be herself around the other women who knew all about her and her disgraced position in the community because of failed relationships. How many people can we actually be ourselves around?

 They both meet Jesus alone- a private moment of vulnerability. It’s this space that allows for the personal encounter with Jesus. You see both have questions, but it’s Jesus’ questions that opens them, and us, up. To Nicodemus he asks, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?‘ for the woman He says ‘go call your husband‘. Both these requests would have cut to the core issue. Nicodemus for all his study and observance of the law still had not found fulfillment for what he craved. For the woman she had sought to find meaning and worth in her status as a wife which offered her no answers either despite trying 5 times. The joy here is that Jesus doesn’t do that to belittle them or pass judgement but to truthfully expose the driest area in  their lives in order that Living Water flows to restore, revive and renew every place. When you meet Jesus you can open up and it’s not so you expose the real you to Him: it’s so He can reveal who you really are, to you!

 John Anderson, in his book, Jesus the Inner Spring’ puts it this way, ‘ We shall admit that our lives, with their relationships and their out workings, are dead. we shall say,’ I have nothing.’ That is preparing the way for the Inner Spring’

When we all see that we are a nobody with nothing, the Someone with everything is right there offering Himself. We’re born again into hope by water and spirit. Living water that becomes a well inside of us springing up into life. The well is Jesus Himself abiding with us.  Christ in you: the hope of glory.  Christ in us takes the nobody with nothing and puts the Someone inside us. The real you is revealed in all of who He is. 

John the baptist understood when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” It’s not about having or not having  a position or title. It’s not  about our efforts or lack of them. It is all about being a nobody in ourselves so we can reveal the Somebody that is Jesus.

We’ve actually moved from no-body to being His-body. Our significance and security is settled so that we understand how special we are because we are in union with Him.  

I can’t acknowledge this quote as I don’t know who wrote it but it’s profound:

“you carry the fountain of hope in you. The Kingdom’s way is you carrying the life of Christ, the Presence of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.  It’s NOT about you but it’s ALL about the One Living inside of you. When people encounter you nothing happens but when they encounter the Presence of God abiding in you,  the atmosphere shifts because of Him dwelling inside of us. HE is life! HE is light! HE is healing! HE is provision! He is wisdom! HE is love! In Him ALL things consist.”

 Nobodies with nothing is now just right: joined to the Someone with everything and the only think we can help with is step out the way long enough for Jesus to be Himself through us. Let’s be empty so He can fill and overflow!


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Hope’s Home

Home is a very powerful word to me.

  • It’s meaning exceeds being just a noun naming the physical place where we live as part of a family.
  • It’s not merely an adjective to describe care and nurture or the security of a safe place to flourish.
  • It’s larger than a verb to explain the space we return to that created an environment where we are comfortable to be who we really are.
  • It’s deeper than the emotions of knowing we are ‘seen’, loved and accepted.

Home is all those things but more. Home is an experience: it’s a feeling that you fit somewhere, with someone, and are wanted and belong. This last weekend it struck me afresh that I’m not looking for or creating a home, I am home. I don’t mean in four walls but I, myself, am a home. In Revelations 21 it says,

God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God Himself will be with them.

When Jesus was talking to His disciples (John 14) He promised there would be a day when we realised, “that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you… and we will come to (you) and make our home” God Himself chooses to make my skin and yours, His home. We are home to the Divine Life.  God Himself feels my body is a place where He can be accepted and loved, comfortable and welcomed to be Himself. It’s a place he feels He belongs!

 So because I am a home, I AM is home.  As my body is the space He comes to dwell and live in, all that I AM is, becomes my home too.  Who God is becomes my home where I  live and move and have my being. We abide and live together and the relationship and union makes a home.  Wonderful. Wonder-full and not just a truth but something to be experienced.

God wants us to realise we are home. In fact Paul tells us in Colossians, “ God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” God’s pleased to reveal the riches of this to us.

This home (Christ in us and us in Him) carries hope. So what’s hope?

  • It’s not wishful thinking. ( I hope that this will happen)
  • It’s not an expression of uncertainty ( I hope we get it)
  • it’s not a desire either ( I hope I get the good of this)
  • A believer KNOWS that their hope is solid.Hebrews 11 talks about ,”the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen
  • Hope is faith – a faith that cannot be moved by circumstance or what the eye sees because an unseen God is seen in His faithfulness. Faith isn’t believing – faith is a Person. ” Jesus Christ is our hope.” ( 1 Tim 1:1)
  • Hope is Living. 1 peter 1 ;3 says, ” In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”  This fulfills Jesus’ promise in John 14, “ because I live you will live also

Hope is the assurance of the Person of Jesus living in us- it’s the anchor that does not move us from home base. Cynthia Bourgeault puts it like this. “Hope’s home is at the innermost point in us, and in all things. It is a quality of aliveness. It does not come at the end, as the feeling that results from a happy outcome. Rather, it lies at the beginning, as a pulse of truth that sends us forth.” Hope is our assured foundation. We are not waiting to die to go home to glory – quite the opposite -it’s actually the starting point, that we are in union with Jesus who is at home living with us now.

This home (Christ being in us and us in Him) carrying the assurance of hope, adds glory.  So what’s glory? Well it’s more of the riches of His Presence!

  • God’s glory can be the recognition of external manifestation of His being: think of “the heavens declare your glory.“(Isaiah 6)
  • It’s also His character and nature. When Moses asked God “show me your glory” God’s reply is to talk about His compassion, graciousness, abounding love and faithfulness. ( Exodus 33)
  • When John writes about Jesus He says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Glory is experienced here as relationship with the Father; identity in sonship; and characterised by a fullness of grace and truth.
  • Doxa is N.T Greek for ‘Glory’ and means the manifestation of God’s presence. When you encounter that ‘doxa’ it is the atmosphere of His presence. We have compassion, abounding love and faithfulness living in us.

How incredible that we are the dwelling place of God – That He comes and makes a home with us! Incredible that we are not striving to obtain it but can turn our attention and become aware of what is already given to us . We need to give thanks and receive the Person. Welcome Him home then fling wide the  doors of this place and as Russ Walden puts it, ” We are called upon to walk in glory:the manifest Presence of God. Someone on the inside of you is pressing to get out. when you walk into a room, learn to say in yourselves, ‘I release the glory here…”

We need to turn up with love in every situation and allow Jesus to be Himself. Maybe Julie Glover is right too, ” those who serve most potently work on levels of cosciousness that have to do with radiating love -God’s love. The basic premise is that you allow something, (Someone) to come through you… from somewhere deep inside.”


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Sitting with Jesus at the well

Wasn’t August great?  It’s been a different routine with the school holidays and I’ve so enjoyed extra time with our youngest daughter. I’ve been so blessed watching God at work in different ways too. What I’ve noticed more and more is that what God’s been showing me in my times alone with Him are overflowing and working out in everyday life. Just the way it’s supposed to be I hear you say! Here’s one story that happened this weekend.
Our church wanted to make the most of August and we spend our time together looking very practically on sharing Jesus in everyday life.  My ‘slot’ was to share some new opportunities to intentionally be involved in our community.  I arrived at our new venue for a young couple to take me out into the courtyard. There is a pond and the reeds had been cut back to reveal a water feature and it had been turned on.  There stood a woman with a fountain of water flowing out of a pot close to her stomach- another pot discarded by her feet.
john 4.jpg
So I knew I was on track as I was sharing from John 4.
“In that case, “ they encouraged me, “take everyone outside and sit by the well whilst you share!”  I so should have but God worked it out in another way.
That day I shared
  • how Jesus goes out of His way to be in certain places. He didn’t need to go through Samaria, most Jews avoided it, but He did. It is so easy for us to just mix with people like ourselves or who are acceptable to us. We need to go out of our way to make opportunities.
  • He was weary with His journey, so understands how sometimes we feel it is an effort to be intentional. It’s easier for us to want refreshment ourselves rather than give it to others. It’s important to be vulnerable though and share that  we have the same challenges as everyone but we do know where to go to get refreshment that lasts.
  • Jesus was thirsty- but more than His physical thirst His need was to fulfil the Father’s purposes. Jesus has a need to give Himself away to others.
  • the well was a regular meeting place for connections and community – the woman would have gone for water for washing, cooking, and watering animals but would have talked and shared their lives at the same time.  Those kind of wells happen in our culture now. They look like family homes,  our garden fence talking to the neighbour, work places, sports clubs, schools, pubs, coffee shops or churches.
  • This woman went in the heat off the day by herself. She was in a community yet isolated and not accepted. Although in our communities frameworks are in place to connect people many are alone, unseen and going through life not really living.
  • The conversation Jesus and the woman have is just beautiful. She talks in the natural and He responds with the spiritual. We all have ‘normal’ conversations with people in our everyday life but it is easy just to speak very naturally the words that come from God. Just look at how Jesus did it!
But the difference in all of this is Jesus saying, ‘if you knew the gift of God..’  Do we really know the gift we have from Him? Being in relationship with Jesus means we have the very Source of who He is living in us. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. The Father has made us participants in His Divine power giving us everything we need for life and godliness. My body is part of His body -it is a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell. We need to recognise the huge gift that we carry and recognise that we are taking Jesus to the wells we are part of. We need to be active in taking Jesus to wells and waiting there so others can encounter Him.
What was different about this well was the man at the well.  She’d been to the well many times but this time Jesus was there offering living water: a river of it springing up. When we go about our daily routine we will be at wells all day, and as carriers of His presence we are taking Jesus to those wells. We can be intentional and bold enough to let Him show out. The natural conversations that we have can become extraordinary as the Spirit works.
This Sunday  I walked around the ‘well’ in our venue. I saw the benches by the pond and listened to the water flowing. I asked Jesus that we would experience His presence refreshing us; that we would sit with the man at the well and let Him change us as we encounter the I Am.
We had a few new folk visiting for the first time and about half way through one of them stepped out into the courtyard. Two of us followed her out and sat by the fountain. #Cheryl (not her real name but it means beloved!) was very low and finding the meeting difficult. She didn’t say much as she lit one cigarette after another but it was obvious she was very low. It was her birthday and no one had visited. Each sentence she shared I could hear the woman at the well from John 4 more and more. A lady in a community yet isolated. God prompted me to mention how nice her shoes were. Bought the day before apparently but later she shared how she never knows what to wear as she doesn’t look good in anything. Her self esteem and worth was rock bottom. So there we were at the well and Jesus wanted to speak to her. We talked about the John 4 story and how Jesus knows exactly how we feel when we are weary,lonely and cut off from others. Jesus wanted her to know that she was accepted, just as she was, loved and known. He wanted Cheryl to know that despite everywhere she goes looking for answers or refreshment He will be the only one that will satisfy the need in her. There is a gift waiting for her to open on her birthday- a gift only God can give.
All the time the fountain was flowing. all the time  Jesus trying to break down barriers so eyes could be opened to choose Life and a fresh path. We were able to pray, bless Cheryl for the year ahead.
We trust God that the living water will do it’s work with in her, that this will be another step on the road to a complete turnaround of her circumstance and that Jesus will bring transformation.
What a lovely picture it is. God gives us an insight to His heart when we read the scripture but He wants to make it real. He is still busy incarnating the truth of it. This weekend we were able to let Jesus speak to a woman sat at the well and let Life flow. Literally re create it! But what He is really after is the transforming affect His Life has on each individual so the truths of who He is permeates every part of our lives and community.
 Keep taking Jesus to your wells- keep letting Him reveal Himself to speak to other so that living water can do it’s work.
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