The Kindness of the Gospel
Author: Margaret Ashmore
“O Lord, How lovely are Thy dwelling places! My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. The bird also has found a house, And the swallow a nest for herself – even Thine altars, O Lord of hosts, My King and my God.”
This morning I watched one of my self-imposed feline residents curled up in a most agreeable spot on my back porch with the look of seraphic peace and contentment, untroubled and safe within the harbor
of his little cardboard sanctuary. He had been a stray. No one had wanted him. No one had bothered to look down long enough to see a shivering, scant little creature, his face pinched with apprehension and distrust, both well-earned by the marks of abuse on his body.
I had found him sitting by a sign in my flowerbed, which literally reads, “Strays Welcome”. Now I don’t believe for a moment that he could read the sign, but I do believe God put him there. There was a lesson to be learned and one that had everything to do with a revelation of God’s love, the resting place for every wandering soul.
Dear reader, you might be feeling a little like my newfound lodger – displaced, invisible, or echoing the words of the psalmist in his despairing cry, “There is no one who acknowledges me; refuges have failed me; no one cares for my soul”? But there is Good News! There is a sign at the very portal of God’s heart which reads, “Strays Welcome” and how much more does He care for YOU than the whole of His animal kingdom! Indeed, all who come to Him He will never cast out. (John 6:37) So it was with a woman who lived in Samaria, 2,000 years ago.
This woman may have lived centuries before us but her problems are none the less, familiar – the first of which was how utterly futile was her life. She got up every morning with one thing most pressing in her mind – water, especially in a part of the world where one couldn’t survive a day without it. So off she goes to the well, her sole objective to meet that need and upon arrival, draws water, takes it back home and before she knows it, the water has been used up, it evaporates, it spills… the water pot is empty. Another disappointment. Another failed expectation. So she has to get up and do the very same thing the next day… and the next and the next… because it never lasts.
Shallow cisterns yield
A scanty, short supply;
The morning sees them amply filled,
At evening they are dry.
That is until she came face to face with the Son of the Living God who lovingly and patiently drove her from every false refuge through the revelation of His love. Her response? “So the woman left her water pot.” – John 4:28
She left it behind! That old receptacle had long been the repository of all her expectations in people to fill her emptiness – all of which had evaporated. Turning her back to it was the sure sign of her repentance and reception of Jesus’ offer, “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
Christian, what is your “water pot”? What do you need to leave behind? Is it bitterness because you put someone in the place of God and they did not anticipate your needs, an entitled heart that believes God and man and nature owe satisfaction, or perhaps the moral impurity that uses people (real and virtual) in an effort to satisfy lust? Turn from it! In such repentance we find what our Kind Benefactor had for us all along, a satisfied soul and His purpose in saving us, that of being receptacles of Living Water poured out to a parched world.
Did this woman find what she was looking for? How many husbands had she? Five and was working on her sixth! Six is the number of “man”. Do man’s solutions, and man’s philosophies and man’s religion satisfy us? No, they are just stagnant wells, which hold no promise for quenching the desires of the human soul. Oh, but Who would be her 7th? Seven is the number or completion and perfection exemplified in that she found, at last, the perfect “heavenly husband, provider and protector” in the Lord Jesus.
The sparrow has found a resting place. The stray has found a home. And by the testimony of countless men and women throughout the ages whose journeys have led them to a limitless fountain of unconditional love in Jesus Christ, it is a most agreeable place.
Posted on September 6, 2011