Jesus sits with the woman at the well.
That’s how we know her. The woman at the well. We don’t know her name, we only know her as the woman who Jesus wanted to meet. The woman who Jesus was willing to go out of his way for. And she will continue to be known as the woman at the well by all who read scripture.
Fast forward, and I find Jesus is sitting with the man on the bench. And that is how he’ll be known in this post and possibly others. The man on the bench.
I mentioned the man on the bench in the last post, My Food (2). In this mans own words, “something is happening.”
Something is happening. Not just for him, but for me also. Yesterday I was meeting with some others in Aldershot. We meet in Wetherspoons. Jesus led us there some time back. Much is happening in us and in others.
As we were sat there yesterday, someone spotted the man on the bench. I went out to talk to him but also to invite him to join us. My Dad came with me to meet him. We stood and talked with him for a while. He wasn’t keen to join us, and after a while we returned to where it was warm!
When I got back inside with the others, I couldn’t shake the feeling there was more. I found myself sat there looking out the window almost continually. He was there a long time. He was just sat there.
After some time he was still sat there. I knew Jesus hadn’t finished. I went again. As I approached I said to him “I’m coming to sit with you, we haven’t finished.” What that really means is that Jesus hadn’t finished. I wasn’t meant to be sat inside in the warm. Jesus wasn’t. He was sat with the man on the bench.
We sat for some time, I’m not sure how long it was. But the conversation opened up. The details are personal for the man on the bench. But Jesus was showing me the whole time that this conversation wasn’t just for the man but for me too. We know that Jesus was energized through doing the will of the Father and speaking with the woman.
As we spoke it became clear. The bench is where it’s at, at least for the time being. He’s not ready to join us in Spoons.
This is important. Not everyone is ready to come and sit where we want to sit, or where we’d like them to sit. Some people may never sit where we sit. But it doesn’t mean that Jesus doesn’t want to meet them.
A little later on as I was on the bus home, Jesus was speaking to me about sitting with the man on the bench. When I’ve stood and talked to him, I’m looking down at him. I’m separated from him. Jesus said I am learning again to sit where they sit. Then a little later I was reminded (thank you Sarah) of a phrase that is found in the first chapter of Jesus, The Inner Spring. He says “I believe the Spirit was showing me that I was to be willing to sit where they sit.”
The meaning of the phrase “sit where they sit” is twofold.
On the one hand it is sitting where the person is sitting. To sit where they sit isn’t always nice and comfortable. It doesn’t just mean sitting on the bench and getting cold. It means getting down to where they are, into life as they know it, and being with them. Allowing Jesus to sit with them in whatever they are in, or whatever they’re going through. And when we sit with them where they are, the Christ in us speaks words of Spirit and Life, if we simply remain and be the branch he has chosen us to be. Sometimes his very presence in us is enough, no words necessary. We are called to sit with those who sit, weep with those who weep, and mourn with those who mourn. But also to be branches through whom the very Life of Jesus himself flows powerfully.
And on the other hand it is sitting where Jesus is sitting. That is the “they” in that phrase. It’s not just sitting where the person is sitting, it is recognizing that we are sitting where Jesus is sitting too. It’s been happening, but I’m still learning. The person is there, Jesus is there, and so we are there too.
I’m in Aldershot again today. At some point when I have a moment I’ll go see if Jesus and the man on the bench are sat waiting for me to catch up. 😁
Eat the Living Bread, drink the Living Water.