This week I’ve been reminded of something that I learnt some time ago.
Between 2016 and 2017 I volunteered for the Samaritans. It was definitely a part of Father’s plan for me. I learnt some valuable lessons in preparation for where I am now and what Father is doing.
I learnt to listen in a new way, and I learnt how not to judge. I also learnt how to ‘be’ Jesus and feed others with him without even speaking of him. But there is one thing above all that I learnt that has become a hallmark of the work that Father has us doing (when I say us, I mean Christ through me).
During the training for Samaritan’s, there was one guy in particular whose training sessions stood out for me. It is a compliment when I say he was Mr Samaritan. He was so incredibly passionate about Samaritan’s and the work that they do. He lived and breathed it.
And I don’t think there was a training session that he took that he didn’t use this one phrase which stuck with me. Bear in mind he wasn’t a follower of Jesus, nor was he aware of the significance of the story of the woman at the well for me. And yet this phrase was something of a mantra for him, and he made sure we remembered it. It is this phrase in particular that I’ve been reminded of this week. It was this:
“We have to get down into the well where they are and sit where they are sitting, and then help them climb up toward the light.”
I will explain in a bit why this phrase has been so relevant this week.
John Anderson, in his book “Jesus, The Inner Spring,” says this:
“The well is deep.” The Greek word here is ‘pit.’ What a picture of the life that does not know Jesus. “The pit is deep.” Is your pit deep? Does that describe your need? No wonder she said, “You have nothing to draw with. You have no bucket.” Judged by appearances, that was true. That is really what many Christians are saying, in effect, to Jesus. “You have no bucket. My pit is deep.”
When expanding on his mantra, Mr Samaritan used to say that it was no use us just sitting at the well and looking down on people in the well that they are sitting in, listening to them and talking with them but not really engaging with them to help them climb out. He would say that the only way to help them was to climb down and sit with them. I never knew how significant this would be for me.
Jesus said to me “Feed my sheep.” He led me to sit where they sit. You soon begin to realise that the pit that people are in isn’t a nice, clean place. It’s dark, and sometimes it stinks for them. In fact I’ve found that to be true for those who Jesus is sitting with who he has led me to. It stinks where they are! The light seems so far away, out of reach. And yet Jesus, in his infinite wisdom, has seen fit to lead me to sit where they sit. To climb down into the pit where they sit and help them climb out.
I have always sanitised what I’ve shared on this blog for the sake of the dignity of those Jesus is sitting with. But it is true to say for them that “the pit is deep.” I have been in places, in situations, and had conversations that go way beyond any past comfort zones I might have had. I have had to do things that, in my own strength, I would never have been able to do. When Jesus takes hold of you, leads you to the ones, and says “Feed my sheep,” you soon begin to realise that you are going to be climbing down into some pretty deep pits to sit with those that he is sitting with.
When we are consciously aware that the Spring is Jesus himself, and that because he is so we are in this world, then when we climb down into the pit and sit where they sit, we are the Spring that they need. They eat and drink of Christ in us.
I’ve mentioned recently about Paul (remember, not his real name.) How Jesus led me to him, and how we have become good friends as I began to see him as Jesus sees him.
I mentioned how Paul began to speak of God and to God. How he moved forward from not believing in God to believing in God. I shared the morning blessing he left me on voicemail. I’ve spoken of the change I’ve seen in him, how I can see Father softening his heart and drawing him to Jesus.
I’ve shared how, through Paul, I met his mum, and how she too has started walking with Jesus. How she speaks of God and to God.
I was privileged to have a conversation on the phone with Paul on Monday evening where he was excitedly telling me about how he was sitting in Farnham during the day, singing to people as he often did, and how he was asking people “Do you believe in God?” And how, if they said no, he would ask them “How can you not believe in God?” And he would proceed to tell them why he believed in God and why they should too! “I’m a messenger for God” he said to me. I love that. A very vocal and loud messenger for God!
It’s the last conversation I had with Paul. Paul was hit by a van whilst walking along a road and killed in the early hours of Tuesday morning. There’s not much more I want to say about that on here. But I’m thankful that I met him, and that through him I was able to learn again the truth of this:
“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
To see Paul as Jesus sees him is amazing to me. To see beyond the outward appearance and see his heart (which was hidden from so many) has been a beautiful thing to experience. Even greater, to see his heart change and to be a part of that is something precious. I would never have seen it had I not sat where Jesus is sitting with him.
As my Dad said this week to me, Paul is now resting from his labours. The pain and hurt which he carried is no longer. I do believe that his heart had changed, that he had grown to love God in the way that he could, and that he is now with Peace himself. And the story goes on as we walk with his mum and his brother through all that is unfolding, as they continue their journey onward and grow in their consciousness of Christ in them.
It is a privilege for me that Jesus has said “Feed my sheep,” and that he has led me to sit where the ones sit. It may not be for everyone. I know it doesn’t make sense to everyone. But it is what Father wants me to do. And I will never underestimate how powerful it is what these ones can teach me. It is far more about what they teach me than what I can teach them I think!
If you know that Jesus is leading you to sit where they sit, be encouraged that, yes, you will sit in some dark, horrible places with them. You will realise that their pit is deep. And yes, those places might stink. You will likely be in situations you would never have dreamed of, having conversations you’ve never had training for, nor could you ever be trained for.
And yet, at the same time, you will find that if you’re sitting where Jesus is sitting, it is the most beautiful place of all to be.
Eat the Living Bread, drink the Living Water.