Our world is filled with challenges and pitfalls. Just when we feel we are gaining the upper hand, something else comes along pushing us three steps backward. It happens to all of us, in life, in school, in career and in discernment. Even God’s people of faith can grow tired and weary of the task of producing good fruit for God’s kingdom. After all, no one said life is supposed to be simple and ministry would be easy. No one promised Christian people that because you have faith in Christ Jesus, your life and future will go smoothly according to your plan. No, in most cases just the opposite is true, especially for disciples of Jesus.
Living a life of Christian discipleship often demands that we go to places we would rather not go, do things we would rather not do and showing compassion for people we would otherwise avoid. God calls people of faith to live differently than how people given into the world live. For the sake of others, God calls his people to follow the example of Jesus, loving their neighbor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and tending to the aged and orphaned. This is every Christian’s calling, to show the love of God in Christ Jesus, thus bearing good fruit for the kingdom of God. Living this life of discipleship is hard work that often leaves God’s people tired and weary.
Another aspect of living such a life is taking time to look inward. In order for people of faith to live for the sake of others, we must also be able to see our own brokenness and need for healing. Looking inward through the lens of our faith we must see how it is we do some things well and how we should do some things differently. The most difficult part is pruning away the unproductive branches in order to quit doing those things that get in the way of producing good fruit. Looking inward is also hard work; it makes us struggle, brings many questions and sometimes even reduces us to tears. It means often confronting emotions, anger and even denial. Faithfully reflecting on our own self can be excruciating and certainly leave a person of faith feeling tired and weary. In these and so many other instances, living a life of discipleship means understanding when it is time to draw water from the Living Well.
When Jesus was tired and thirsty, he came to a well in Samaria and asked a woman who was there to give him a drink. This woman was just like anyone today; she was a sinner and someone struggling against earthly life. This woman, like us, often fell short of God’s expectation. Even still the Son of God asks her for a drink to satisfy his thirst. In this exchange, Jesus reveals to her the springs of living water that flow from God’s love for his people. Those who have faith in the One who saves may come to this living wellspring of eternal life. As the woman’s eyes are opened to receiving the Messiah of God, she is compelled to share this good news with everyone in her community. Such is God’s love and desire for his people and the water of life that causes us to bear good fruit for God’s kingdom.
In our brokenness God invites us to the well. Through the waters of Holy Baptism, God pours out the Holy Spirit and sanctifies his people. As we come to God’s table of grace we are nourished through the Bread of Life and Cup of Blessing that is Christ the Lord. Then God sends his people of faith to live a life of discipleship showing the love of Christ and proclaiming the gospel. Christians are called out in love and service for the sake of others that they too might draw from this Living Well of God.
In my previous post I spoke of God’s people living well, practicing the marks of discipleship so that we might live fruitful lives for the sake of others. This life of discipleship is not easy; it can leave us weary and thirsting for God’s goodness and strength. In these times, God’s people of faith must recognize when it is time to draw from the Living Well of God’s love. For such is the water that refreshes forever as it springs into eternal life.