As we enter this third week of Lent, our planned sacrifices seem more tedious, heavier even. We might be wondering what we were thinking when we made plans for this Lenten season. It may seem that our past self was far more enthusiastic and virtuous than our current self feels.
We may feel a bit like the Israelites grumbling in the desert and wondering why we decided to leave the relative safety and comfort of our past life – even if our past life wasn’t where we should be – to follow God into the unknown.
In the midst of the suffering, in the midst of the unknown, even in the midst of grumbling, God is still there.
Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. He knew she would come (He knew everything about her!), and he was waiting for her arrival. He met her where she was. God will meet you where you are, too – whether it’s nursing and bathing babies, chauffeuring kids, switching loads of laundry, washing dishes, or worrying over your teens and young adults.
But he won’t leave you there.
He wants to bring you something more, something better.
The Israelites wanted a drink of water, God provided an endless spring. The woman at the well who came for a jar of water is given understanding and leaves full of living water. God gives us a share of his very self when he sends the Holy Spirit to pour the love of God into our hearts (Rom 5:5).
As God encourages you, leads you forward (or pushes very strongly!) to that something better, he will also require conversion.
And that’s why Lent is hard. Because changing is hard. Leaving what is familiar and comfortable is hard. We’re wired to stay with what is familiar, because that is safe. It takes great courage, trust, and hope to pursue a new, unfamiliar way of life.
It’s why motherhood is sometimes hard, too. Being a mom often means giving up the comforts of your past life. In the beginning, we attend to the physical needs of our children; later we usually care for their emotional and spiritual needs. It means giving up sleep, hot meals, control of the schedule, and any semblance of privacy. And through it all, God is there. And there is joy.
After her encounter with Jesus at the well, the Samaritan woman runs back to the town to tell everyone about Jesus. She is filled with joy at being heard and understood. She is filled with the hope of the promised Messiah.
And she’s so excited, that, in her rush to tell everyone about him, she leaves her jar behind. The jar used to carry water – which in the desert means life – she could leave it behind, because her hope and trust in him was so great. She left behind a part of her old life to pursue a new life, sustained by living water.
As you offer sacrifices this Lent, and in your day-to-day motherhood, where do you encounter Jesus? What jars are you being asked to leave behind so you can have a greater treasure chosen by God himself?
Whatever you thirst for this season, may God guide you to an everlasting spring of living water.