"But the time is now coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." ~John 4: 23-26
I started this Lenten journey to inspire myself to create more, and to spend focused time in scripture. It was inevitable that there would be days when the time to get to my supplies in a prayerful way just didn't exist. But my intention was to give myself grace, and just get to it when I could. So my post today is a bit later, but I found that the project itself motivated me to prioritize this time. In a normal week this wouldn't have happened. Success.
So I listened to John 4 on the Youversion app as I traveled around on errands with the kids. I'm trying to listen and read differently, these stories that are so familiar. The woman at the well, the Living Water, the man who trusted that Jesus' word was enough to heal his son. I listened three times and when I got home I prayerfully sat down at my art table with no plan.
What spoke to me most in the reading today was the way Jesus was a uniter. The disciples didn't even question it when they came back to find him talking with a woman of an unacceptable race. I have not often been this grace-giving, though I want to be, and I saw so clearly that Jesus is that bridge. The one that spans the chasm between us and them, inviting and loving all, choosing no sides.
"You have decided to dedicate yourself completely to God, to make Jesus the center of your life, and to be fashioned into an instrument of God's grace. Yes, you still experience your inner dividedness...but you see that you have made important choices that show where you want to go...Jesus is waiting for you at the end, just as you know that he is guiding you as you move in that direction." ~Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love
Moving in that direction is not always easy, crossing bridges that are narrow and treacherous as we set aside our own fears and insecurities and preconceptions. But as Jesus sat by the well and offered the woman something he had that she desperately needed- acceptance, value, life- he showed us very simply the way to follow him. Reach out and be a bridge, share the depth of Light and life we have within us, and be a gentle voice of grace and love.
"This is a movement toward full incarnation...
You must trust the depth of God's presence in you
[this Living Water] and live from there." ~Nouwen
Spend this weekend with John 4. It is rich and filled with symbolism, radical trust, and healing, both inner and outer. When Jesus says that "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" what do you think that means in a practical sense? How do we worship "in spirit"? Is it a deeper level of connecting with God than we typically experience? Does knowing that the Latin word for spirit is the same as the one for breath change anything in your understanding? This is a concept I am always trying to reconcile with my human understanding of worship. Let the words and images come as you pray, and let your creating be an outgrowth of this process.
Jesus, breathe understanding into me on a deeper level. Teach me to worship in spirit and truth. Teach me to trust as did the official whose son was dying. Teach me to live from your presence within me, that deep well of Living Water that never runs dry. Amen.