April 22, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Now we have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it – a hope that reaches farther and enters into the very certainty of the Presence within the veil where Jesus has entered in for us.”
Hebrews 6: 19, 20
“The Storm Thrush”
“There’s a sweet little bird in a far-off isle –
The isle where the shamrocks grow;
And of all the birds in that dear old land,
He’s the dearest that I know;
He is dressed in a suite of sober brown,
And a speckled breast has he;
But his eye is bright and his voice is tuned
To heaven’s own minstrelsy.
He sits and sings when the sun shines fair
To his mate in her downy nest,
But the topmost twig of the tallest tree
Is the place where he sings best!
When the rain pours down and the floods are out,
And the wild winds rage and roar,
Then, clear and high, o’er the shrieking gale,
The storm thrush sings the more.
That frail little bird on the swaying twig,
As his clear voice pierced the gales,
Dropped a message sweet at my faltering feet,
Of a ‘Love’ that never fails:
Though many a storm has crossed my life,
And many a grief and fear;
Yet with heart and voice did my soul rejoice,
For my Lord was always near.
So when dark clouds are about YOUR path,
Like the storm thrush, learn to sing;
For from topmost height of a lofty faith
You can always see the King!
And with eyes that gaze on His blessed face,
You never need fear or fail.
The gales may PROVE they cannot MOVE,
The anchor ‘within the vail.’”
Mrs. C. L. de Cheney
Today’s Study Text:
“She said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with, no drawing bucket, and the well is deep: how then can You provide living water?’”
John 4: 11
Behold The Man” – Part 9
“When The Will Is Deep and Dark”
“Your difficulties are not almighty. The Lord alone is Almighty.”
Has there ever been a time in my life when I faced a problem which appeared unsolvable because the “well” looked to me to be too deep?
How has God given me aid when I face a “deep well” on my journey?
“All our difficulties are only platforms for the manifestation of His grace, power, and love.”
“God is in every tomorrow,
Therefore I live for today,
Certain of finding at sunrise,
Guidance and strength for the way.”
Alone she came to Jacob’s well so she could obtain her daily supply of water. However, much to her surprise, a guest was at the well, a Jewish man she did not recognize who asked her for a drink of water.
As the Biblical story unfolds, Jesus, who had specifically come to Jacob’s well for this encounter, began to share His identity with the foreign woman when He told her, “If you only knew and recognized the “Gift” God is giving, you would be the one asking for water, not me.” But as the Apostle John shares, it wasn’t just “regular” water that was on the menu that day, it was “living” water, something this woman had never heard about. And so she responded with what is one of those comments which I found I had overlooked as I quickly read this familiar passage in Scripture: “She said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with, no drawing bucket and the well is deep: how then can You provide living water?’”
It took some quiet reflection and Bible study for me to recognize, as you might, too, that often we are no different than the woman who came to Jacob’s well at noontide. In his comments on this particular portion of Scripture, author Matthew Henry offers this pertinent insight: “‘Thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep,’ she said, not knowing the power of Christ…there are those who will trust Christ no further than they can see Him, and will not believe His promise, unless the means of the performance of it be visible, as if He were tied to our methods, and could not draw water without our buckets…The springs of living water which Christ has for those that come to Him are secret and undiscovered. The fountain of life is hid with Christ. Christ has enough for us, though we see not whence He has it.”
All the Samaritan woman could see was an empty-handed thirsty man and a very deep well. And it is this very point which so often I confront in my own life and quite possibly you do in your life, too. Pastor J. R. MacDuff really brought a new understanding to my mind regarding this exchange. He reveals the fact that we often speak the words, “I have nothing to draw with and the well is so deep,” when we are struggling because we do not comprehend the mysterious ways of God’s providential leading in our own lives. “Here in this imperfect world, there is nothing to draw with, nothing to gauge the ‘needs be’ of the divine…the more we try, with our puny wisdom, to fathom the depths of God’s dealings, the more unfathomable they appear.” And then Pastor MacDuff goes on to lay out those times in all our lives when we may peer over the edge of a dark, deep well, wondering how our needs will be supplied when so much appears to be lacking. “Standing by the mouth of the well, looking down its unexplored cavity, ‘The well is deep.’ The future – that dark, ungauged, unfathomed future, how many a thought it costs.”
Just maybe, as you look out on your tomorrows you feel as though you have been left with nothing to draw with. Then I want to encourage you with these uplifting words by Pastor MacDuff, “It is a merciful thing, when, we attempt to cast a glance down the future, to hear Him who has that future in His hand saying, ‘Thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep,’ for this is our comfort. Though too deep for us, it is not too deep for Him. He has the rope and pitcher in His hand; and whether, in drawing up the vessel from the unseen depths, it will reach safely the well’s mouth, or be broken in the transit, all is appointed and ordained. ‘The Lord reigneth.’ ‘Trust Me, He seems to say; ‘that Well is mine. Trust Me; the unwritten scroll of the future is Mine…therefore trust thou in Me.’”
In studying about Jacob’s well, I found it to be an enlightening fact that this very plot of land had been given to Joseph by his father Jacob. Yes, our Joseph, who found that even in Dothan, when his future was as bleak as you could get as he was being dragged as a slave to Egypt far from the wonderful life he had known, that in fact, God not only had Joseph’s future in the palm of His hand, but also the lives of all the residents of Egypt as well as Joseph’s family back home. Talk about looking into a deep well, a pit no less. Yes, Joseph’s life, for each of us is a lesson in trusting God when darkness is all we see. As Walter Brueggemann so eloquently states: “The story of Joseph is an affirmation about providence. ‘Providence’ is scary to ‘can-do’ (individuals). We fear we will lose free will and moral responsibility and all of that…however, life, with God is much, much larger, shattering our little categories of control, permitting us to say that God’s purposes led us well beyond ourselves…to create a life we could not have imagined.”
In his wonderful book, God Is Up To Something, author Tony Evans lifts our concerns out of the dark well of tomorrow and away from our empty hands by helping us focus on God, who as he emphatically observes, “has your tomorrow covered even though you haven’t been there yet.” Praise God!
“God holds the key of all unknown,
And I am glad;
If other hands should hold the key,
Or if He trusted it to me,
I might be sad.
When if to-morrow’s cares were here,
Without its rest?
I’d rather He unlock the day,
And, as the hours swing open, say,
‘Thy will is best.’
I cannot read His future plans,
But this I know, -
I have the smiling of His face,
And all the refuge of His grace,
While here below.
Enough; this covers all my want.
And so I rest;
For what I cannot, He can see,
And in His care I sure shall be
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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