In talking with the Samaritan woman Jesus assured her, “anyone who drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty. In fact, the water I give will become a spring of water in him. It will flow up into eternal life.“ John 4:14
“I will bless any man who trusts in me. I will show my favor to the one who depends on me. He will be like a tree planted near water. It sends its roots beside a stream. It is not afraid when the heat comes. Its leaves are always green. It does not worry when there is no rain. It always bears fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7 – 8
I recently heard of a simple bench building community. The story is of neighbors who knew each other by sight and sometimes chatted by mailboxes. Then one day, a bench appeared. The bench became a natural spot to sit and watch the kids play and ride bikes. Gradually those who had brief chats by mailboxes would find themselves gathering at the bench to share life’s joys and struggles together (sometimes for hours). Neighbors who had known of each other for years actually grew to know each other thanks to the neutral ground of a bench. The bench created a bridge to community.
Oasis (DivorceCare) was a bench of community for me. Every Monday night, we’d tentatively open up and share our wounds, our hopes. I am grateful for the glimpse of God’s redemption in each story, even in the anguish and heartache.
Earlier today, heavy-hearted and lonely, I stopped for a short break in my workday. The outside called to me. I wanted to hear the birds and wind in the trees. With only a few moments, I started down the walkway longing to be wonderstruck by God’s presence. Craving His peace. I noticed water had flooded the area along the path from the recent storm. I prayed, “Lord, will you flood me with Your Spirit, Your Goodness, as a result of the storm of unexpected divorce in my life? I long to be saturated by You, Your Living Water, Your Grace, Your Hope. Flood me, Lord. Don’t let this pain be in vain.”
Halting abruptly, I chuckled as I saw a bench around the bend with rushing water surrounding it. Recalling the recent story of the Bench, I was wonderstruck by the sound of the water, the sunlight reflecting through the green trees and this glorious bench appearing to float in the water. My soul sighed within me. I couldn’t go any further unless I was willing to get soaked.
You are my Community – God places the lonely in family. I miss the family I once had. I miss my husband and miss being a wife. That dream has been shattered. But I have you, friends near and far whom God uses to mend the broken pieces of my heart. I admit, right now . . . I need you in my life. The independent side of me cringes as I acknowledge this need. I prefer to be strong, capable. Truth is: I have been hurting but if I believe and trust in Him, streams of living water will flow from me and I will not fear the heat or worry because I will be firmly rooted in Him. And if we are purposeful in seeking Him, intentional in building community with each other —- I believe we will get soaked as we are flooded by His Living Water.
It takes risk. Have you been lonely lately? Thirsty to know He sees you and believes in you? He believes in you and me enough to die for us. Will you meet me at the bench rising above the storms of this life to spur each other on?
Let us not forget about one another as we move forward. It takes effort. Reach out to Him, extend a word of encouragement to someone who needs it. You are Beloved of God. I am too. Breathe. Look around, be wonderstruck by His Love for you. It doesn’t have to be earned, it just is. You are His.
By: Heather Lewis Powell