Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chasing Happiness

In the movie The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Will Smith’s character makes the observation that the United States Declaration of Independence includes in its short list of “unalienable rights” the right to the pursuit of happiness—not the right to be happy, but the right to pursue happiness. Why, he questions, was it worded that way? His conclusion is that its author, Thomas Jefferson, must have understood that happiness is something that we all desire and strive for, but also something that not all will find or be able to hold onto.

I had my years of chasing happiness, of always feeling that if only I had a boyfriend, if only I could change certain aspects of my job, if only my circumstances could be just the way I wanted them, then

I would be happy and free from the bouts of depression I struggled with.
Two years ago I hit a low point. I felt that all the cards had been stacked against me, that I must be the most horrible person in the world, and that I wasn’t worth anything. In desperation I asked God to do something—anything—to pull me out of the morass I was sinking into.

In one of my times of prayer, He helped me see that a major reason I was so down was that I wasn’t willing to accept and make the most of the situation I was in. It was true. I felt that the problem was always with my circumstances, never with me. Accepting my circumstances, whatever they happened to be at the time, seemed impossible at first. That made me even more depressed, but finally I gave in and asked God to help me to accept that truth—that the real problem was not my circumstances, but my attitude toward them.

Once I was willing to let God change my attitude, He did the rest. For example, before long He brought a wonderful person into my life, and that reassured me of His love and boosted my self-esteem.

I am still hit by depression from time to time, but now when it starts to pull me down its dark path I know I don’t have to give in. I have learned that happiness is a choice, and one that I must make every day. Circumstances don’t need to be perfect for me to choose to be happy and thankful for what I have and to make the most of it.
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV / For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 6:14 ESV / For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Hebrews 13:8 ESV / Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Prayer Points

1. Please pray for Bro Choon Eng, Sis Jenny, Sheila, Scott & Chui Peeng.

2. Please pray for one another in your prayer - Spiritual Growth, Challenges in Life, School, etc, especially those that are not feeling well. Encouraging one another in Christ likeness.

3. Please pray for various ministry that going well bring forward fruitful result

4. Please pray for Penang Children's Home Open Day and all boys and staff in the home

5. Please pray for Mrs. Tan's mother for health to be restores.

Announcement

Penang Open Day Date: 18th Oct 2014 Time: 8am - 2pm Venue: Penang Children's Home. Help needed to sell coupons, please look for Lt. Fiona Volunteer needed.
  
Annual Day of Prayer For victims of human trafficking Date: 28th Sept 2014 Sunday

Music Class Date: 24th Sept 2014 Time: 8:00pm Venue: Worship

SMM Spiritual Leadership Conference Date: 4-6th Oct 2014 Venue: TSA Singapore

West Malaysia Children's Camp
Date: 27-29 Nov Venue: Penang Children's Home Fees: RM30.00 (early bird before 27 Oct 2014 )
RM60.00 (normal rate after 27 Oct 2014)

International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking - Sunday 28 September

A NEW selection of resources has been made available online ahead of The Salvation Army's Annual Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking 2014. Sunday 28 September has been set aside as this year's day of prayer, when Salvation Army corps (churches) and centres around the world are encouraged to call on God, through focused prayer, to bring hope and freedom to the staggering number of people who are trafficked every year.

This is the eighth year that a day has been specifically set aside by The Salvation Army to pray for the victims of trafficking. As in 2011 and 2012, the Bible verse chosen as the theme for the 2014 day of prayer is Jesus' words from John 10:10: 'I have come that they may have life' (New International Version).

A powerful array of resources – including a sermon, Bible study, poem, prayer ideas, PowerPoint presentations and information about The Salvation Army's anti-trafficking ministry – can be accessed from a new anti-trafficking section of the International Headquarters (IHQ)

website: www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/antitrafficking

The site includes a promotional poster which was created for the 2014 day of prayer by IHQ Communications Section designer Berni Georges.

The English version and a blank version to allow the poster to be adapted into other languages are already available for download.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Divine Nature

God has given us “exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these [we] may be partakers of the divine nature.” What is the “divine nature”?—It is the essence of God, how He thinks and how He acts. And through the promises He gives in His Word, we can be like He is. We can partake of those same attitudes, those same feelings, those same ways of looking at things by believing and putting into practice the principles and promises that are right there in the Bible.

We can transcend the confines of earthly attitudes that keep us weighed down, sorrowful, fretful, worried, and fearful. We can not only have a head knowledge of the fact that “all things work together for good to those who love God,” but we can believe, practice, and experience it.

We can be cleansed of all those attitudes and mental habits that are earthly and not heavenly. Jesus told His followers, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” We can be rewired into new creations in Christ Jesus, and through His power overcome our wrong attitudes and bad habits.

The more we live in the Word and believe it and practice it, the more we’ll be in sync with that heavenly realm. The more we “set [our] mind on things above, not on things on the earth,” the easier it becomes to live in this world without being controlled or shaped by it.
* * *
God has given us “exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these [we] may be partakers of the divine nature.” What is the “divine nature”?—It is the essence of God, how He thinks and how He acts. And through the promises He gives in His Word, we can be like He is. We can partake of those same attitudes, those same feelings, those same ways of looking at things by believing and putting into practice the principles and promises that are right there in the Bible.

We can transcend the confines of earthly attitudes that keep us weighed down, sorrowful, fretful, worried, and fearful. We can not only have a head knowledge of the fact that “all things work together for good to those who love God,” but we can believe, practice, and experience it.

We can be cleansed of all those attitudes and mental habits that are earthly and not heavenly. Jesus told His followers, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” We can be rewired into new creations in Christ Jesus, and through His power overcome our wrong attitudes and bad habits.

The more we live in the Word and believe it and practice it, the more we’ll be in sync with that heavenly realm. The more we “set [our] mind on things above, not on things on the earth,” the easier it becomes to live in this world without being controlled or shaped by it.
* * *
How to avoid burnout

When a candle burns, it’s mostly the wax, not the wick, that’s burning. An oil lamp is the same; it must be the oil that burns, and not the wick. If the wick burns without oil, it will be consumed quickly. Most of the wick must be deeply immersed in the oil, so only a small part of the wick is exposed to the air and flame.

Sometimes we work too hard, trying to do everything ourselves when we need to let Jesus do it through us. When we do the burning, we give off smoke and soot and burn out fast, but when we let the Lord’s oil, the Holy Spirit, flow through us and do the burning, we last a long time.

“It is no longer I who burn, but Christ burns in me.”
When a candle burns, it’s mostly the wax, not the wick, that’s burning. An oil lamp is the same; it must be the oil that burns, and not the wick. If the wick burns without oil, it will be consumed quickly. Most of the wick must be deeply immersed in the oil, so only a small part of the wick is exposed to the air and flame.

Sometimes we work too hard, trying to do everything ourselves when we need to let Jesus do it through us. When we do the burning, we give off smoke and soot and burn out fast, but when we let the Lord’s oil, the Holy Spirit, flow through us and do the burning, we last a long time.

“It is no longer I who burn, but Christ burns in me.”
2 Peter 1:4 ESV / By which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

Romans 1:20 ESV / For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Genesis 1:1 ESV / In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Friday, September 19, 2014

More like the Master

Christians are supposed to try to be like Jesus—living as He would, acting as He would, speaking as He would, and even thinking as He would. But how do we accomplish that? How can we be more like Him? As in the Persian fable, it comes from living close to Jesus.

Many of us do spend time with Jesus, but how much quality time do we spend with Him, where we shut out the business of the day and give Him our full attention, communing with Him, enjoying Him, and getting to know Him better in order to become more like Him? If we don’t, no matter how many good qualities we possess or how dynamic we are or how dedicated we are, no matter how good we are with people or what else we may have going for us, if we’re not spending time with Jesus, we’re not going to be a very good reflection of Him or His love to others.

The dictionary defines “communion” as “a feeling of emotional or spiritual closeness, a connection.” So communing with Jesus means to make an emotional and spiritual connection with Jesus. Praise, prayer, and reading God’s Word are all ways of making and sustaining that connection. These are the lifeblood of our spiritual lives.

Quality time
Many of us tend to pick up the pace when our workloads increase, and that leads to more stress. Taking time off to relax can help relieve the pressure, but time alone or with friends or family can’t give us what Jesus can.

Hobbies can also be relaxing and fun, but if we’re not careful, they can actually contribute to the problem by taking time away from the essentials, including the most essential—taking time with Jesus. That’s a common mistake people make—filling every spare moment with more “busyness,” when the Lord wants them to take that time with Him.

The surest way to complete and lasting renewal—in fact, the only way—is to spend time with Jesus. We need His love and strength and wisdom, and the only way we can get those is by spending time with Him.

But carving out time from your daily schedule is no guarantee that you’re going to get closer to the Lord; it’s what you do with that time that counts. You need to get still, empty your mind of the business of the day, and let the Lord fill you with positive, encouraging, strengthening, faith-building thoughts from His recorded and living Word.

Jesus said the requirement for a fruitful life is abiding in Him. “Abide in Me, and I in you.” That means staying connected with Him by taking time to read His Word and pray and listen to Him.

It’s easy to let prayer become a formality, but one thing that can help you avoid that is to think of Jesus as the Friend, Counselor, and Lover that He wants to be to you. As someone once said, “The more one loves Jesus, the more he delights to be with Jesus alone. Lovers love to be alone.”

But He won’t push you. He waits to see how much you are willing to abandon all other distractions in order to put Him first. If you have Him in first place, then you will see and feel His power and help in your life beyond what you ever imagined.

The nature of Jesus
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

These are virtues that define Jesus, and if we read His Word and spend time with Him in prayer on a regular basis, we will take on some of His attributes. How can we expect to be changed for the better? Let’s go down the list and see.

Love: God is love. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s love. As followers of Jesus, we, too, need to manifest love in every way we can.

Joy: True happiness comes from being close to God and living our lives His way.

Peace: The word in the Old Testament that is translated “peace” actually has a broader meaning: completeness, soundness, and overall well-being. In the New Testament, “peace” often refers to inner tranquility, a combination of hope, trust, and quiet of mind and spirit. Peace comes from faith, and faith comes from reading and believing God’s Word.

Longsuffering: At least one English version of the Bible translates this “patience”—the ability to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties. We often need to be patient, either with people or with circumstances, and we need to do so in a spirit of love.

Gentleness: To be gentle is to have a mild and kind nature, a gracious and honorable manner, consideration, and a spirit of fairness and compassion. Jesus sounds like a true gentleman, doesn’t He?

Goodness: My Bible dictionary says that goodness consists of righteousness, holiness, justice, kindness, grace, mercy, and love. Other definitions include having an upright and virtuous character, and having a kind and gentle disposition. Again, these certainly characterize Jesus. If His Spirit abides in us, so they should also characterize us.

Faith, or faithfulness: One of the meanings of faithfulness is unwavering belief. Another is being conscientious, having a sense of responsibility and devotion to duty.

Meekness: I particularly like one definition that says meekness is “an attitude of humility toward God and gentleness toward men, springing from a recognition that God is in control.”

Temperance, or self-control: This is the ability to control your behavior, especially in terms of reactions and impulses.

Jesus wants to impart to us these qualities, so they mesh into the core of our being. We will then demonstrate them in our lives, not only for our own benefit by changing our nature and improving our personality, but also for the benefit of others whom He wants to bless and reach through our example.
1 John 4:16 ESV / So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Ephesians 5:25 ESV / Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

Romans 5:8 ESV / But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Better You


How will reading God’s Word make your life better?

Food for spiritual strength and growth
Just as your body needs food to survive and grow strong, your spirit needs spiritual nourishment from God’s Word. This little analogy crops up repeatedly in both the Old and New Testaments:

When Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” He was quoting Moses.
Job declared in his time of suffering, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”
In Psalm 119, King David said to the Lord, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
The apostle Peter, writing to new Christians, admonished them to “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word.”

Deeper relationships with Jesus
When you received Jesus into your heart, you began a wonderful and fulfilling personal relationship with Him. He wants to be your best friend, counselor, teacher, guide, and much more! The way to get to know Him better is through His Word. The four Gospels, especially, reveal His nature, His personality, His power, and His love.
He wants His relationship with you to be a two-way, give-and-take affair. It is through reading the Word that you will find out not only what He has for you, but also what He would like from you.
Think of His words as personal love letters to you from the one who knows and cares about you more than any other can.

Truth and freedom
It seems that everywhere you look today, someone is marketing “the truth” in the form of some new book, program, or product. Who are you supposed to believe—and how much will it cost you?
Well, Jesus has the real article. “If you abide in My word,” He promises, “you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
You can rest assured that the Bible tells the truth. Become familiar with its precepts, and you will have a standard by which you can measure all things.

Faith
Faith isn’t something you can try to have. It comes by taking in the Word of God. If you’re weak in faith, it’s probably because you’re not reading and believing God’s Word enough. But the more you read and study the Word with an open mind and receptive heart, the more your faith will grow. It’s that simple and that sure!

Happiness
Lasting happiness comes from following Jesus’ loving example, and you know how to do that from His Word. Jesus said, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love. … These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Contentment and peace of mind
By studying God’s Word, you will come to understand His loving ways. This will give you faith that whatever your circumstances may be, He is in control and has your best interests at heart. “Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.” When disappointments, obstacles, and setbacks wear on you, taking a little time to read from God’s Word will put things back in proper perspective.

Answers to your problems and questions
When you’ve got questions, the Lord has answers, and when you have problems, He has solutions—and they’re all in His Word. By reading God’s recorded Word or hearing Him speak to your heart personally when you pray for guidance—His spoken Word—you can find the answer to every question and every problem you will ever have. Once you become familiar with the spiritual principles, divine wisdom, and practical counsel that are in the written Word, you will find that the Lord will show you how to apply it to questions and problems that come up in your own life. His Word will be like a light, illuminating the path ahead of you.

Finding God’s will
God has a plan for your life. He knows what’s best for you, so if you can learn to let Him direct your decisions, everything will work out great in the end. It sounds simple enough, but how do you find out what is God’s best for you in a particular situation? How do you find “God’s will”?
The Word is the known, sure, absolute, revealed will of God. So when you’re faced with a decision, look at all He’s said before. Pattern your decision on a similar situation in the Word, or on the foundation principles of God’s Word. You can also ask God to speak to your own heart directly and show you what His will is for you in that particular situation.
God’s Word also has the power to change the way you see life’s problems. It will cause you to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove [know] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Models for godly living
The Bible is full of stories about otherwise ordinary men and women whose faith and love for God saw them through thick and thin and made them great in His eyes. Much can be learned and much strength can be drawn from their examples. There are also many faith-building accounts of God’s love and care for His children, His protection, and His supply of their every need, as well as examples of what not to do and the consequences of violating His spiritual principles. “Whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

God’s promises and power at your disposal
The Bible is full of promises that God has made to man—promises that He wants us to apply practically. Some of His promises are universal, like “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Others were originally made to certain individuals or groups, but they are also available to anyone who applies them to their own similar situation and meets whatever conditions may be attached.
As you become more familiar with God’s Word, you will learn to recognize His promises and claim them as your own. When you do that, it shows you have faith. It’s a positive declaration of your faith and knowledge of the Word which pleases God and sets His power in motion to answer your prayers.

More love
It is difficult to follow Christ’s injunction to “love your neighbor as yourself” when your “neighbors”—those you interact with on a regular basis—are sometimes the most difficult people to get along with, much less love. Where do you find the “Christian grace” to overlook the overbearing boss, the jealous coworker, the noisy partyers next door, or worse? How do you learn to love as Jesus loved? “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” As you read and study God’s Word, you’ll acquire more and more of His Spirit and love, and that will help you be more understanding, compassionate, and tolerant toward others.

1 Peter 2:2 (NIV) Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

John 8:31-32 (NIV) To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Romans 10:17 (NIV) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Five Things I Love About Jesus

Randomness: Jesus has an intricate plan for the whole universe, but I love how He seems to be perfectly random about lots of things that don’t have much bearing on that plan. Like the irregular texture of tree bark, or where the next branch will pop out. Either that, or it’s not random at all and that branch needs to be exactly where it is for the universe to run right. If that’s the case, I love how He makes it look random to me.

Intricacy: The flip side of random. I love how He makes seemingly random things happen, but then they all come together at the end and make perfect sense, and I realize it wasn’t haphazard at all, but pure genius.

Color: He seems almost obsessed with color, but it’s not like He splatters psychedelic fluorescent everywhere. He adds just enough khakis and grays so that when something bright comes along, it wows me.

Passion: His way of being passionate about everything He does. For instance, if I was going to create an insect I’d pick a head, a body, a few legs, and maybe a stinger or something. But He can’t stop at that. “Oh, here I could add some antennae with trillions of little hairs on them that will act as sensors, then maybe some fold-up wings to hide inside its shell, a compound eye, a trochanter here, mesothorax there, and a subesophageal ganglion.” He’s crazy!

When I “create” a cloud, I take a blank piece of paper, draw a straight line, add three humps above it, and I’m done. When He creates a cloud, He starts with an insanely complex background of atmosphere, then bunches together millions of microscopic icy crystals, each with six perfectly symmetrical sides but its own unique form. Then He sends light to render it in full 3-D and air currents to make it dance. It seems He can’t get involved in a project without giving it His best.

Care: Boy, does He care! He cares about everything! I mean every single little tiny microscopic itsy bitsy thing. Imagine how much importance He puts on you and me, or the detail, care, and planning that went into each of the 6.8 billion of us now living, as well as the billions before and after. It wears me out just thinking about it. I am so lucky to have Him!
Hebrews 11:6 ESV / And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

2. Thessalonians 1:8 ESV / In flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Galatians 3:28 ESV / There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Getting to know Jesus

A retelling of John Chapter 4

Susannah sighed as she draped her head-covering over her long raven hair. Picking up an empty clay urn, she set out on the long, hot, dusty walk to fetch water from the communal well near Sychar, the Samaritan village where she lived.

She approached the well warily, because there sat a stranger—a Jew, judging by appearance. She was astonished when the man asked her for a drink of water, because the Jews’ religious customs forbade them any interaction with the Samaritans, whom they considered “unclean.”

“You’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan!” she exclaimed. “Why do you ask me for a drink?”

“If you knew who I was,” the stranger replied, “you would be the one asking for water.”

Susannah was mystified. How could this man get water out of the well? He had nothing to pull it out with.

The stranger answered with words that she would later repeat until they were imprinted upon her memory—words that millions after her would draw hope from.

“Everyone who drinks water from this well will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give comes from the fountain of eternal life.”

“Go on then, give me a drink of that water. Then I won’t ever get thirsty or need to come here anymore!”

“Go and bring your husband,” the stranger told her.

She hesitated, then lowered her eyes. “I don’t have a husband,” she conceded.

“That much is the truth. You have been married five times, but the man you are living with now isn’t your husband.”

Susannah was astonished. “You’re a prophet, I see,” she began. “You might be able to settle a certain dispute then. My people have always worshiped on Mount Gerizim, but you Jews say that Jerusalem is the only place to worship.” The fact that a Jewish ruler had destroyed the Samaritans’ temple on their holy mountain 200 years earlier went unspoken, but clearly it was on her mind.

“Believe me,” the stranger replied, “the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. God is a Spirit, and those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth.”

She marveled at this answer. God—a Spirit who she could worship anywhere? Her race, religion, gender, age, background—could none of that matter? She felt warmed by the idea of God’s love being inclusive of all people, even herself.

There was something else she wanted to ask. “I know that the Messiah will come—the one called Christ—and explain everything to us.”

The stranger gazed into her eyes, and her heart beat faster. “I am that one!”

Her eyes widened and her thoughts raced. “I must tell my friends and family! Wait here for me!”

Susannah rushed back to Sychar, her still-empty urn forgotten.

The midday heat had passed, and people were milling around the market square. She excitedly told all those she could about the man she had met and their conversation. “He must be the Christ!” she exclaimed. “He had never seen me before, yet he knew everything about me.”

Soon Susannah returned to the well at the head of a small crowd. The stranger was still there, now accompanied by several men, and from them she learned that the stranger’s name was Jesus.

He did not stay a stranger, because the people were captivated by what He told them. Some of them invited Him and His companions to stay with them, so Jesus spent two days in Sychar, explaining the Holy Scriptures.

Some days later, Susannah made her way back through town with a full water pot. Her load was heavy, but her steps were light. She still needed to fetch water daily, but her inner emptiness was gone.

One of the townsmen who noticed her walking by said, “You tried to convince us that this man Jesus was the promised Messiah. Well, now we believe—no longer just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves and are certain that He is the Savior!”

Susannah smiled as she went on her way. She was not the only one who had found the living water!



John 7:38 (NIV)  He who believes in Me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Revelation 22:17 (NIV) Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

John 6:51 (ESV) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thirsty no more

A retelling of John Chapter 4

Susannah sighed as she draped her head-covering over her long raven hair. Picking up an empty clay urn, she set out on the long, hot, dusty walk to fetch water from the communal well near Sychar, the Samaritan village where she lived.

She approached the well warily, because there sat a stranger—a Jew, judging by appearance. She was astonished when the man asked her for a drink of water, because the Jews’ religious customs forbade them any interaction with the Samaritans, whom they considered “unclean.”

“You’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan!” she exclaimed. “Why do you ask me for a drink?”

“If you knew who I was,” the stranger replied, “you would be the one asking for water.”

Susannah was mystified. How could this man get water out of the well? He had nothing to pull it out with.

The stranger answered with words that she would later repeat until they were imprinted upon her memory—words that millions after her would draw hope from.

“Everyone who drinks water from this well will get thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give comes from the fountain of eternal life.”

“Go on then, give me a drink of that water. Then I won’t ever get thirsty or need to come here anymore!”

“Go and bring your husband,” the stranger told her.

She hesitated, then lowered her eyes. “I don’t have a husband,” she conceded.

“That much is the truth. You have been married five times, but the man you are living with now isn’t your husband.”

Susannah was astonished. “You’re a prophet, I see,” she began. “You might be able to settle a certain dispute then. My people have always worshiped on Mount Gerizim, but you Jews say that Jerusalem is the only place to worship.” The fact that a Jewish ruler had destroyed the Samaritans’ temple on their holy mountain 200 years earlier went unspoken, but clearly it was on her mind.

“Believe me,” the stranger replied, “the time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. God is a Spirit, and those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth.”

She marveled at this answer. God—a Spirit who she could worship anywhere? Her race, religion, gender, age, background—could none of that matter? She felt warmed by the idea of God’s love being inclusive of all people, even herself.

There was something else she wanted to ask. “I know that the Messiah will come—the one called Christ—and explain everything to us.”

The stranger gazed into her eyes, and her heart beat faster. “I am that one!”

Her eyes widened and her thoughts raced. “I must tell my friends and family! Wait here for me!”

Susannah rushed back to Sychar, her still-empty urn forgotten.

The midday heat had passed, and people were milling around the market square. She excitedly told all those she could about the man she had met and their conversation. “He must be the Christ!” she exclaimed. “He had never seen me before, yet he knew everything about me.”

Soon Susannah returned to the well at the head of a small crowd. The stranger was still there, now accompanied by several men, and from them she learned that the stranger’s name was Jesus.

He did not stay a stranger, because the people were captivated by what He told them. Some of them invited Him and His companions to stay with them, so Jesus spent two days in Sychar, explaining the Holy Scriptures.

Some days later, Susannah made her way back through town with a full water pot. Her load was heavy, but her steps were light. She still needed to fetch water daily, but her inner emptiness was gone.

One of the townsmen who noticed her walking by said, “You tried to convince us that this man Jesus was the promised Messiah. Well, now we believe—no longer just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves and are certain that He is the Savior!”

Susannah smiled as she went on her way. She was not the only one who had found the living water!



John 7:38 (NIV)  He who believes in Me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Revelation 22:17 (NIV) Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

John 6:51 (ESV) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”