She purposefully waited until midday to make the trek to Jacob’s well.
She did everything she could to avoid encountering anyone from town. Everyone knew about her five failed marriages and frowned upon the fact that she was living with someone new. Her life was a mess and she didn’t need to be reminded of her failure. As she neared the well a man, a Jewish man at that, asked her to give him a drink. Jews never spoke to Samaritans, let alone to a Samaritan woman.
This man was different. This Man was the Son of God, offering her water that would quench an even deeper thirst.
Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life (John 4:13‐14).
He offered her this water. And upon tasting this water, the Samaritan woman, after meeting the Messiah, left her waterpot, and ran into the city to tell others about Him. Eventually, many came to know the “One who is indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).
Jesus changes everything – He changes us. He gives meaning and purpose to an otherwise routine way of life. He takes the mess and makes it new. He enters into our hearts and takes up residence in such a way that not only changes us but also the community around us. But, this change is not without cost.
Six months after leaving home to start over, I returned home, again, to start over.
The Lord brought Lynn’s careful guidance before me once again: I began to read my Bible and attend a prayer gathering in her home. This little group of women shared their hearts and struggles, interceding for one another with great faith in the One to whom they prayed. It was clear that they knew Him on a heart level. I was awestruck.
They prayed for me as I returned to school that January. And nearly every week before my Algebra exam I called Lynn (from the campus payphone) and asked her to pray for me. I attribute my passing grade to her faithful prayers to the God who knows all about Algebra.
Naively, I registered for a New Testament Thought class that first term. What better way to get three credits than combine my eagerness to learn more about the Bible and finish school? Much to my surprise, the professor hated Christ and Christians. He didn’t believe the Bible to be God’s Word. Lynn helped me with her prayers and wisdom discern the truth amid his lies. The Lord used my angry, unbelieving professor to strengthen my tender faith. Ever so slowly, Jesus became more real to me.
As I wandered around campus, I kept my eyes open for Cru. Within the first week of class I found their information table in the Student Center “manned,” much to my delight, by men – several of them – and all good looking! I decided right then and there to get involved. My desire for love and marriage had never faded, and Cru looked quite promising.
Just a few days after signing up for a Bible Study, Kathy (a Cru staff member) called me. She offered to meet with me in the Student Center that week and I agreed – as long as we met in the smoking section (I was more than a little “rough around the edges”). Not only did Kathy take me through “basic follow‐up” but she also helped me with my math. I remember being so encouraged by her loving words and patience with me. She never judged my outward actions – I was pretty rough around the edges – but pointed me to Christ every time we met. The Lord used her to help me understand Him in ways that made Him much more real.
That first spring, at just the right time it seemed, Kathy persuaded me to attend a retreat. I didn’t want to go and made up several excuses not to attend. But she promised me a ride, the opportunity to room with her, and the guarantee that if I didn’t have a great time, she’d refund my money. For reasons beyond her control I ended up driving with three people I’d never met and rooming with girls I didn’t know.
I had never attended a retreat where several hundred college students sang praises to Jesus Christ. I’d never seen anything like it before. Josh McDowell taught from the book of Romans. For the first time, the Bible and the Spirit‐filled life began to make sense to me. I don’t really remember why; except from that point on I experienced a greater sense of freedom and a deeper desire to follow Christ. In fact, it was there I believe the Lord first called me to serve Him with my life.
In case you’re wondering, I didn’t ask Kathy for a refund.
“A certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” And another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:18‐22).
There’s a price to pay when we choose to pursue Christ. He calls us to surrender our comfort, our hopes and dreams, to take up our cross and daily follow Him saying, “Not my will but Yours, O Lord.”
Those early months on campus weren’t without drama. My parents didn’t understand my newfound faith at all. I still battled constantly between my new life in Christ and my old life in the flesh. I had no money, no idea what to major in, and no boyfriend. The same longing for love that plagued me before still pulled at my heart and my affections: it felt like nothing else but a husband would satisfy. So, I dated guys who had no regard for God. Every time, I either felt disappointment or regret.
Then, at the spring retreat, I had the opportunity to get to meet Bob. I first noticed him at the Cru table I mentioned earlier. His Italian good‐looks and fun sense of humor attracted me right away. I even told Kathy on a few occasions that I wanted to get to know him better because there was something so different about him. Well, at the retreat he invited me to join him for pancakes one morning. He talked to me about the Lord and the Word, and shared stories about his own faith and walk with God. Because he was on staff with Cru and older than me, I figured he was “out of my league.” But that didn’t stop me from praying.
In the weeks and months that followed, I started to attend Cru meetings and events and began getting to know Bob better. He was altogether different than any guy I’d ever met because he loved God and served Him with his whole heart. Just before he left for the summer, he bought me a Coke and told me that he was interested in pursuing a relationship with me. He wanted to pray for confirmation from God over the summer. I was, of course, beside myself with excitement. Maybe Bob was “the one!”
Fervently and with great dedication, I prayed daily for God’s confirmation – something I’d never done before. Kathy prayed, Lynn prayed and God continued to work on my heart.
One afternoon, alone in my apartment, I was listening to a message given by a 40-year-old, single woman. Her joy and contentment in Jesus flowed from her words. Up until that moment, I’d never considered the possibility that God’s plan for me might not include a husband. The Lord asked in the way only He can, “will you follow Me even if you never have a husband?” Twenty years of longing, striving, and hoping flooded my heart. I couldn’t imagine! But, I opened my hands and laid it all out before the Lord: “even if I never marry, I will follow You.”
Everyday, moment by moment, we face the choice to yield our will to His: humility over recognition, gentleness over anger, or needs of others over our own. Over the course of my life in Christ, I’ve found that whenever something comes along that threatens His rightful place as Lord in my heart, He asks for it back. Am I willing to follow Him even if...? Even if I never marry, even if I disappoint my parents, even if it means doing something or going someplace vastly different than I ever imagined?
Each time He asks, I struggle with His request. Each time I open my hand and, with fear and trepidation, surrender my treasure back, He blesses me with so much more. Each time, I realize that following His call was not a one‐time event, but a lifetime of choices all aimed at making more of Him and less of me.
God demonstrated His vast, immeasurable and undeserved love by sending His perfect and sinless Son to die for us. Ephesians 2:4‐5 exclaims, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)....” It’s important to remember His rich mercy and great love, His ultimate sacrifice in the midst of our own.
Consider what might keep you, or perhaps has kept you, from following Jesus with a whole heart. Here are some examples: a relationship, fear of unfulfilled expectations, concern over disappointing your parents or your mentors, lack of desire or motivation, fear that He might call you either to the secular workplace or full‐time ministry, anxiety over not being provided for financially. Make a list of whatever the Lord brings to mind.
Over the years the Lord has used these promises to encourage, challenge and push me forward when I’ve felt confused, stuck or downright stubborn. The theme throughout this short list is God and trust. When all is said and done, it boils down to trusting God. Essentially that’s what it’s all about. Write these down in your journal and meditate on each one in light of your particular circumstances. Then talk to the Lord about whatever it is that’s holding you back from following Him fully.
Psalm 31:14‐15; Job 14:5
Proverbs 3:5‐6; 16:3, 9; Proverbs 19:21
Interview two or three people who you know walk closely with the Lord, people who have experienced life and surrender, and know what it means to sacrifice. Record your observations and the insights and counsel you receive. Tuck this away for future reference.
"I urge you, therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And no not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1‐2).
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