Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“…And when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.”
Ruth 2: 9
King James Version
“A Fruit-Full Time”
When We Thirst
“…Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give (her) shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give (her) shall be in (her) a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
John 4: 13, 14
King James Version
What do I thirst for?
Have I taken my thirst to the “One” who can quench my thirstiness forever?
“Like the Samaritan woman, contemporary women thirst for living water. They stand at the well, hoping to draw life…they long to discover their own inner wells, to meet God within, as the Source of their wisdom, power, creativity and strength.”
“Thirst for Jesus that He may inebriate you with His love.”
Abraham of Nathpar
Growing up and continuing into adulthood, if someone asked me what my favorite T.V. show was, it would be the Andy Griffith Show about the friendly, small-town antics of the kind and sometimes eccentric people who lived in Mayberry, North Carolina. For those of you around the world who may not have seen this program before, the foundation of the show was Andy Taylor, the town sheriff and his loveable deputy, Barney Fife. Along with Aunt Bea who lived with Andy and helped him take care of his young son, Opie, there were a group of other interesting characters who made up, what I call, a big family that like most families, fought, loved, disagreed, and united – especially when someone on the “outside” came in and picked on one of their own.
Of all the characters I grew to have a fondness for, none touched my heart like the “town-drunk,” Otis Campbell. You couldn’t help but love Otis. He’s described as the guy who stumbled into the courthouse with a “snoot-full.” When he found himself too “inebriated” to get around, he’d actually check himself into a jail cell at the police station.
For most of us, the visual image of a person who has drunk too much, is what comes to our minds when we hear or read the word “inebriate.” However, in the 600th century, Abraham of Nathpar, who had a deep devotion to a life of prayer and following Jesus, used this word which in the Latin is an expression of “intensity” and “exhilaration.” It may be that later on, since the consumption of alcohol promoted intensive and exhilarated behavior, we have come to associate and use the word “inebriate” in a more negative way.
However, I’d like to offer the idea that it was an exhilarated and intense Samaritan woman, who drank of the water provided by Jesus, who was so intoxicated with her love for Him, that going throughout her city and proclaiming His love to villagers who had mocked her before, was something she did not hesitate to do.
If you are wondering what the book of Ruth has to do with the Samaritan woman at the well, I’d like to offer some striking comparisons that will open to us the beauty of what happens when the Master of the field invites us to become part of His family and to walk among the sheaves during “Harvest-Time.” Once we have fed on the mercy, compassion, and generosity of our Master, as Ruth did with Boaz, we find that it becomes a “Fruitful-Time” in our lives. We will want to pass on what is given to us.
During our “Fruitful-Time,” one of the gifts that is given to us is the gift of water that keeps us from thirsting again. Heavenly water!
In our text today, one of the first things Boaz did when Ruth came to his field, was to tell her that if she got thirsty, she should drink from the vessels that were filled by his workers. Ruth didn’t have to draw water for herself. Boaz had taken care of the problem. As long as he owned the field and provided the workers, Ruth’s supply of water was unending. She didn’t have to thirst. This outsider, this Moabite woman, like the Samaritan woman thousands of years later, found that her benefactor would not allow her to be thirsty again – ever.
Ruth, we read in chapter 2, kept asking Boaz. “Why are you so kind to me?” The Samaritan woman basically asked Jesus the same thing, “Why do you care about me, a Samaritan?”
I love the example author Mary Zimmer uses in her essay in Sister Images:
“There is a reservoir in my neighborhood that is part of the Louisville Water company. I am one of the regular walkers around its perimeter. On the way back from my walk, I often sit by a fountain along Frankfort Avenue. When the morning or late afternoon sun hits the water drops, they sparkle with light. So the fountain has become an icon for me of the “inner spring of water always welling up” of which Jesus speaks in John 4. I go to the fountain to ask God the how and why questions of my life.
The Samaritan woman, or the woman at the well, was a woman of questions. She asked the socially taboo question of why Jesus, a Jew, would speak to her, a Samaritan and a woman. She asked the pragmatic question about where Jesus might get a bucket for the promised living water. And by way of argument, she asked the theological question about where the spirit of God resides. The Samaritan woman has been judged as a cantankerous and stubborn person, but her persistent, even sarcastic, questions bring her to the realization that she is known by this man at the well. She finds her Messiah through her questions.”
In an almost prophetic way, Ruth found that Boaz, in representing the actions of Jesus years later, gave her a personal example, as to the treatment of one who had no standing in the Israelite society. Boaz included Ruth. Just as Jesus included the Samaritan woman, along with you and me and every outsider who ever lived. But we aren’t just included, we are also given water to drink that will put an end to the thirst that without our Master, would be unquenchable. What a story of love!
“I was dying of thirst. When my spiritual eyes were opened I saw the rivers of living water flowing from His pierced side. I drank of it and was satisfied. Thirst was no more. Ever since I have always drunk of that water of life, and have never been athirst in the sandy desert of this world.”
Sadhu Suddar Singh
The Water of Life
“Come to the waters,
all you that are thirsty:
children who need water
free from diseases,
women who need respite
from labour and searching,
plants that need moisture
rooted near the bedrock,
find here a living spring.
O God, may we thirst
for your waters of justice,
and learn to deny no one
the water of life.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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