Posted on: March 8, 2023 Posted by: vudfc Comments: 0

By Kelly Wright

It’s the third week of Lent and I’m feeling it. It’s the “in-between time.” Liminal space. The anticipation of starting Lent is over and Easter seems like a long way off.

I love the start of Lent, especially Ash Wednesday, and I LOVE Easter. It’s the weeks between that I find challenging. Not so much because of what I’ve given up for Lent, but more because I struggle with the ordinary, in-between times. I crave excitement and adventure when things are new and ever-changing.

Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to March Madness this time of year. Of course, it could be because the Missouri Tigers are doing really great but maybe it’s also because I’m feeling blah and need excitement.

March Madness is three weeks of excitement with unexpected twists and turns. Lent, on the opposite extreme, is intended to be ordinary and simple.

Lent is a daily remembrance over six weeks that we are mortal, we have sinned, and that Jesus paid the price for our sin by dying on the cross. It is about making space to reflect and slow down, to pay attention and to breathe.

I’m drawn to excitement and need a season where my life is ordinary. It is a challenge to hold both extremes, but honestly, such is life. We need a balance point of remembering daily that we are limited humans who need a savior. We need the gift of routine in the madness of life.

Life for this Samaritan woman was ordinary. She didn’t get out much and the big event of her day was going to get water from the well. At noon she made her way with buckets in hand. Sure, it was the hottest time of the day, but it afforded her time alone. The last thing she wanted was an encounter with other women. She didn’t need judgmental glances or the quiet whispers of condemnation.

One day her routine was disrupted as a Jewish man was sitting by the well and struck up a conversation by asking her for something to drink. This was unusual on two fronts – first, Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans; second, men did not usually speak to women in public.

His actions surprised her and when she asked him why he, being a Jew, would speak to her, Jesus replied that if she knew who he was, she would have asked him for living water. Now she was both surprised and super confused. But she felt invited to ask how Jesus could do such a thing since he had no bucket to draw from. Jesus explained that the water he offered was not physical water, but spiritual water that would bring eternal life.

“On that hot afternoon in Samaria, all she wanted was a drink, drawn by her own hand. But God had another plan. That was what Jesus wanted too: a lukewarm gulp of water from Jacob’s well. A moment of relief during the heat of the day. He understands exhaustion, stress, muscle aches. He knows what it means to feel weary, thirsty, hungry. Then she appeared, right on time. If she’d hoped to collect her water and get out of Dodge, that wasn’t happening.”
Liz Curtis Higgs

This ordinary day became extraordinary.

As the conversation continued, Jesus revealed to her that he was the Messiah. The woman was convinced that this was true because Jesus knew everything about her. She went back to her town to tell everyone about Jesus, and many believed in Jesus because of her testimony.

God works through the ordinary in extraordinary ways. Lent reminds us that ordinary days can lead to extraordinary encounters with God.

The Samaritan woman came to the well that ordinary day with an empty bucket physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But after her encounter with Jesus, her empty bucket was filled to the brim with the love, grace, and truth of Jesus.

Jesus wants to fill us as well. Where are you noticing places of emptiness – physically, emotionally, and spiritually?

Jesus invites us to receive this living water so we can live in the freedom of forgiveness; where He has thrown our sins as far as the east is from the west, where every day is a new day, His mercies are new every morning.

Jesus also wants to free us from our emptiness. We too may be isolating ourselves, have the curtains drawn to hide out, believing lies about self and others; attempting to fill our emptiness with addictions and escapes; living in life-taking habits . . . all of which only leave us thirstier.

Your thirst can be quenched by following Him and depending on Him. This sounds complex and confusing, but simply put, it is about having a relationship with Jesus, talking to Him through prayer, reading the Bible, talking to someone who is following Jesus. He knows you, loves you, and desires to meet us in the ordinary in extraordinary ways.


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