About Me

Van Walton

Fun Facts about Van Walton

My favorite smell: The way the earth smells after it rains.

My favorite sound: The first notes of a grand symphony.

My favorite way to relax: Sitting anywhere outside - on my front porch, on my deck, or by the lake, early in the morning with my first cup of coffee.

My favorite birthday dessert: a Peach cobbler baked by my husband. He’s my fave chef!

I will not eat: Avocado. They turn my stomach into a volcano that never erupts.

Technology I couldn't live without and why: My laptop - it takes me anywhere I want to go.

One thing that makes me smile: My sons' faces!

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My book, From the Pound to the Palace, is available for $10
from Proverbs 31 Ministries.


Pound to Palace


My book, Little Halos, is available for $5.99 from Proverbs
31 Ministries.


Little Halos


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Monday, March 23, 2009

MOVIN' ON AFTER MOVIN' IN MONDAYS

THE WOMAN AT THE WELL: Moving from everyday pits to eternal promises

Instead of moving from town to town, region to region with Jesus like his many followers did, the woman at the well
Moved from everyday pits to eternal promises

You remember the story don’t you?

Jesus and his disciples had traveled from southern Israel. With Nazareth as their destination, they journeyed through Samaria, a foreign and sometimes hostile territory. Tired from His travels, Jesus stopped for water and told his disciples to go on into town for food. He would wait for them here at the well.

John 4:6 lays out the setting for this episode.

Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.” (NLT)

He was alone because he had sent his disciples to find food. He was also alone because it was not customary for people to approach a well in the middle of the day, at its hottest hour. Generally the well was a busy community center in the early morning and late evening. Water would be drawn for the day’s cooking and cleaning during the cool part of the day and once again in the evening.

“Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water…” (John 4:7 NLT).

What was she doing – coming to the well in the middle of the day? A quick study of the culture and tradition teaches the observer that her arrival to the well, at noon, would be a cause for raised eyebrows. More than likely she purposefully chose this time to visit the well because she didn’t want to face her neighbors. She was avoiding any contact that might force her to explain herself. I can imagine that she took refuge in the well~ a place she chose as she determined to move away from the crowd. Here away from her curious and finger-wagging neighbors, she found the freedom to contemplate.

The cool vapors that rose from the water hole and deep pit might have refreshed her flushed face. The dampness of the stone-lined cavity served as an ancient form of air conditioning restoring life to the body leaned forward, longing for something – anything that would fill the vast and empty place in the depth of her soul. I imagine her leaning forward, over the well, and breathing in deeply. There I can see her hovering, forgetting the pain that has driven her to the outskirts of town. I step closer to her and watch as she opens her eyes. She stares into the depths finding refuge and strength – in sorrowful solitaire - to confront her everyday pits.

Possibly, it might have been during that very moment when she took in a deep breath, that a shadow came over her.

Could I please drink some water from your jar?”

Had she heard correctly? A man had spoken. A foreigner addressed her and moved too close. Yet, his shadow cast a cool glow over her. A presence like she had never felt surrounded her in peace and comfort. This shadow – she never wanted to leave its presence, not ever. Its oasis- like cool shelter seemed other world. In the heat of the day, she was suddenly refreshed, not from the depth of the well, but from a strange shadow of a man. Again he asked for water, breaking the silence.

Not only did he break the silence, he broke the rules. He broke not only one rule, but three! Good Jews did not break rules! He addressed a woman. He spoke to a foreigner. He asked her for a drink, meaning he would touch something she, a woman and a foreigner had touched. Stunned, still staring into the pits, not daring to make eye contact, she reminded him of His religion and her position. He was an educated Jew from Judea. He was a true worshipper. She was a mere Samaritan and, in addition, a lowly woman. His reply grabbed her heart.

For the first time in her life, she looked into the eyes of a man and was moved!

This was not just any man. Who she saw and what she heard moved her out of her everyday pits. She heard eternal promises spoken from a man who told her everything she had ever done. He knew all about her questionable past, yet He did not judge her. He dignified her.

Her life of insecurity and doubt overflowed with questions that, left unanswered, had driven her to a life of wrong choices and instability. She came alone to the well for good reason. Societal rules demanded that she live a life apart from others because of her sinful ways. But, this man engaged her in a discussion that answered her “why me’s” and “how long’s.”

She arrived at the well, turned toward her self-defined treasure – solace away from rejection and refreshment offered by cool water. Perhaps a bath, once she returned home, might clean her once and for all, remove the stain that set her apart from other women and ostracized her from the community. Certainly a cool drink would revive her spirit.

Yet, as she spoke with this man, his voice and his eyes performed the cleansing she longed for. His eyes washed over her, removing guilt, shame, stain, and emotional pain. His words filled her soul leaving her refreshed and eager to start a new life. When she recognized the Messiah, her water pot filled with water no longer held any value for her.

She moved from her everyday pits toward the Messiah, listening to Jesus’ eternal promises. He offered living water that gave life. Her treasure was no longer to be found in the well. Realizing Jesus’ identity, she dropped her pot and ran into town announcing His presence.

leaving her water pot at the well, she ran, no she moved back into town, but instead of avoiding society she grabbed her neighbors.

“Look what He’s done for me. I am clean! I am a woman with worth! No longer am I filled with self-loathing. He filled me with His love!”

The woman at the well didn’t move from Israel to Judea; she didn’t move from Samaria to Jerusalem, she moved from a questionable and painful past to a purposeful and queenly future. What a move!

Are you ready to make a move? Step into the shadow of the Almighty and go where ever He leads.
Psalm 91:1

15 comments:

B His Girl said...

I love this story. My friend, B (Betty) is an artist. She is preparing to paint this story. Guess what!!!! I am the 'Go tell'woman at the well foot model for the painting. That is my mission after all. B

John Cowart said...

Hi Van,
You retell this story beautifully.

When things get too heavy for me, I want to move away, make a new start in a new place, get away from it all. But you show that Jesus meets us where we are. No move needed.

Julie Coleman said...

Hi Van:
Have you ever noticed how many times John uses water in the first eight chapters in his gospel? It opens with baptism, then moves into the first public miracle Jesus performed: water into wine. Then Jesus and Nicodemus have a discussion about being born of water and the spirit. Chapter 5 is a miracle that takes place at the healing waters of Bethesda. Jesus walks on water in chapter 6. It is an interesting study to compare the different ways John weaves water into the study, and brings insight into the "water" Jesus was discussing with the woman at the well in chapter 4.

I loved your retelling of the story-- it added the emotional element a quick read over might have missed. Thank you for using your talents to build us all up.

Wolf said...

i truly enjoy reading your blog. since my dad passed away, i've struggled with my religion, etc. my husband continues to try and help me every day, but when i read things like this, it also makes me think.

thank you.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Great story, Van...

Have a wonderful trip to Arkansas. I feel like that's God's country---at least to us.
Hugs,
Betsy

Gamma Sharon said...

I love the way you told this story. Thank you for your wonderful comment on my blog. This newbee appreciates you.

Lora said...

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Strangely enough, this was the lesson for our teenagers at church this weekend and it was my turn to teach it. I actually had a very similar spin on the story, just a little more geared toward 7th and 8th graders :0)

I'll be following you...love your blog!

Twisted Fencepost said...

Thanks for visiting my part of blogtown! When I clicked over to check out your block, I was instantly intrigued. I love how you told this story. It not only told of God's love, but also of how we all should not judge others. Except and move on and leave the judging to God.
Thank you!

Tabitha in Bliss said...

I use to move a lot when I was running from problems, but for the past 10 years He has shown me many great things and I no longer desire to run.

I'm excited that you enjoyed my tribute to my dear hubby!

JottinMama said...

Such a special story.

And what a wonderful thought - sometimes when God is asking us to "move" - it isn't always across the country...at times I think he is simply asking us to move the positions of our hearts :)

Thanks so much,
Kate :)

Camille said...

Nice to "meet" you! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

The Blonde Duck said...

How inspirational!

Stacey said...

This is one of my favorites; for I was the woman at the well. I love how you tell it; you taught me facts I didn't know. Thank you!

Living day by day for Jesus said...

Love it!

Gina said...

I've always loved this story, and I love your perspective on it-I had never imagined it in such detail! And that passage from the Psalms-"he who dwells in the shadow of the almighty" it's our choice to dwell there and make the move-I love that! Thank you for sharing this, and thanks for stopping by my blog!