Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A well Within.

This sun is scorching! Maria exclaimed as she stepped out into the sun. It was afternoon at about 12:30pm. And the sun was at its peak. There were not enough trees in Sychar to provide escape from the torturing sun at this time of the day. Most inhabitants preferred to be found in-doors or gathered under trees for discourse. The busiest timelines in the town were around early morning or late afternoons to the evenings.

Sychar also known as Shechem was a small town in Samaria. The original name was Shechem but had been nicknamed by their neighboring Jews as Sychar "drunken," or sheqer, "falsehood." Well, the Samaritans did not mind at all because they knew the messiah’s coming would clear all this confusion going around.

She took her water jug from the common place and balanced it on her hip. It was her time to fetch water for her household. She would rather go to the well alone than to join the women’s folk in the morning or evening. Going alone was better than to endure the look of disgust and resentment. Lately it even looks like they wouldn’t mind chaining their husbands to their waist as they go about their activities.

Maria sighed. It wasn’t her fault. She was fully aware of her beauty and graciousness. It took her; her third husband to understand why men were so drawn to her. But then with it came its own demons. She could not maintain a man. They got attracted to her but then couldn’t stay. She had even considered the noble act of prostitution. At least in that, men came and paid for what they got.

It wasn’t totally the men’s fault. They loved her or appeared to at least love her. They showered her with the love that every woman was envious of. However they always came to an end. Which woman wouldn’t want such attention anyway? Erasmus, the man she was currently with was great.  He wasn’t her husband but he treated her as a queen in spite of the gossips that have been going round.

Gossips, drunkenness and contest were the main forms of entertainment in Sychar. For this, both men and women indulged in heartily. Townsfolk would pay any price for the juiciest news and the bearer is always esteemed.

She was nearing the well when she saw a man sitting by the well. He appeared tired and exhausted. He looked like a Jew too. Maria tried to get a good image of him before she got any closer. Well he really does look like one and he’s definitely not from around here. She said to herself.
How come this Jew decided to rest here of all the places he could have. And not even in this town. They would rather use the other route which was longest than to pass this way.

Well whoever he is, he must be either new around here or just wants another confrontation to insult us. Well am just going to go about my business and move away. Enough mockery has been going round here and I don’t need another self righteous Jew to add another insult.

She got to the well, placed her jug on the side of the well. She lowered her water pitcher to fetch water.

“Will you give me a drink?” The man spoke.

“No this must be a joke, now my ears have started playing games on me. Actually, imagining this man is talking to me”. She told her mind. She lifted the water carrier out of the well and poured the water into her jug. Then she heard it again.

“Will you give me a drink?” The man asked again.

“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Maria squeaked. Surprised that a Jew would actually be asking her a question how much more ask for a drink of water. That was unheard of.

The man did not appear moved by her reaction. Instead he responded.
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

There was something interesting about this man. Here he was, supposedly dying of thirst, yet still he is claiming he has living water or better still he is or he is carrying the gift of God.
Strange enough as it was, something began to stir up within her as she heard the man make those statements. The man was looking very intently at her. Not in the ways other men did. His eyes were that of searching and knowing. It was as if he knew her from somewhere. It was as if he was staring right into her soul. She felt bared.

Her initial intent was to leave but her interest got the better of her. She answered the man

“Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

The man cut in on her babbling as if he didn’t hear the genuine express of concern she gave.
 “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Okay! that is it. Maria thought to herself. 

The first sign of insanity; that’s all I need for proof. If you have water as you claim to have, why don’t you drink it up and stop pestering me with having living water that you will never thirst again. Besides if you wouldn’t thirst again why are asking me for water, you must have drank it some time back and shouldn’t be thirsting again as you claim to. 

All these were questions running through her mind. She dared not utter them out since she did not know what he was capable of besides they were alone at the well.  She began to seize the man up. She glanced around to see if the man carried with him any water carrier as he was claiming to have. None anywhere. She decided to outwit him.

“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

The man knowing the line she was treading on, answered her. “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.

“You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” The man replied.  

This made Maria stop in her tracks. She took another look at the man again. She asked him “please may I know your name? And he replied “I am Jesus from Nazareth”

 “I can see that you are a prophet. Maria responded. To have told me my life without my telling you. She began to search for traces of condemnation or judgment in the man. She found none. In place she sensed pity instead. Well, at least I have a religious aspect I regard as important. She decided to change the topic.

Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

“I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Maria included to the discourse. 

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Her eyes widened. Shocked but then that something within her confirmed what the Jesus told her.
She took another look at the man speaking to her to confirm. There was no doubt to what this man was saying. He didn’t look it but then after the revelation she began to see something different. She began to see the LORD. Her joy was unspeakable.

With the joy came serious questions in her mind. It cut short the joy welling within. If this is really is the Messiah he should know who I am and must not even be speaking to me.

But of all the people in Samaria, why me? And of all the women why me? She felt so ashamed of herself for the kind of person she was. The messiah had every right to condemn her for her current life. Her head was bowed but she decided to lift it again to see what the man would do next. It was as if the man was reading every unspoken word on her mind yet still no sign of condemnation towards her. She sensed an overwhelming sense of love from the man towards her. She broke down into tears.

I have been searching for something all these years, and have not found it. I tried to search for it in men but I still didn’t find it. But this man has made me see that which I had searched and did not find.
She began to ask Jesus all the questions she wanted to ask, and Jesus was answering. The water errand; completely forgotten. Her joy was great as if delicacies being handed down to a kid. She did not even notice the other 12 men walk in on them.

She quickly girded her skirts around her and run to the town. She was screaming on top of her lungs as she approached. People came to stir and come out to find out the cause of the noise. 

“Come see the man, who told me everything I ever knew. He is the messiah”. She said.   
People could not understand what she was talking about but they noticed a change in this once timid woman. They noticed the tears combine with joy. Some believed whilst others jeered at her. 

“See how your sins have started catching up with you.” Someone in the crowd snorted. But then this time around no one could shut her up or hold down.

She screamed louder. The townsfolk followed her to the well to confirm what she was saying. They found him. The man Jesus, the Messiah and were saved.

She did not stop there but went ahead to receive baptism. After Baptism her name was changed to 'Photini' which literally means "the enlightened one". She became a missionary spreading the word of the lord as far as Africa together with her sisters.

To her there was a well with living water within her and she was determined to share it.

            When was the last time you shared Christ with a “paddy”, with “boy’s boys”, with sisters club, a family member you dislike? To what purpose is a lamp lit and kept under a cover?

Monday, 6 August 2012

What if?

Karen started to dress after her afternoon bath. She applied the herbal ointment the doctor had given her last week. She didn’t see much difference in this ointment as compared to the others that were given earlier. Anyway she didn’t care anymore. She was tired. Anything which showed promise was better than nothing.

She winced as the smell of the herbal ointment came to her nostrils. She felt the trickle again. Not as if it never existed. This trickle was now a part of her for as long as she could remembered.  She couldn’t even remember the last time she had had a regular menstrual cycle. This is what she has known for the past twelve years of her life. She shuddered as she began to think of it.

Twelve years; she signed. She had lost all her childhood friends. That wasn’t the only thing she lost too. Her joy as well as confidence too. Her parents being poor had tried their best. But all to no avail.

She was shy at first to confide in her friend Mary. She couldn’t  really explain why she could no longer come to the temple to worship together. Until that fateful Friday when she bared her soul to Mary.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out what Mary would do next. But Karen began to see the effects later. Their friendship began to grow apart daily till now she does not know where Mary's new home was since she got married.

Marriage! Another thing that this defect drove away. Nobody wants my hand in marriage anymore.  Not since they heard the news of my condition. The stares and gossips in public squares have now become usual to me. It’s no longer unusual to meet dead silence or a complete change of topic when I meet a group of women.

As for the suitors from afar off, they need only to get to the edge of town to hear of it and they are off again. Perhaps this is my fate. I might as well accept it. She thought.

At least I make enough sales from the garments I make to feed myself and buy the medicine i need. She said to herself

Gathering her stuffs for the day’s business, she heard the gossips of the women in the nearby house. “These women would talk about everything else but themselves why?” She grumbled beneath her breath.

“Yes, Jesus would be coming to town today; he should be at the towns market by now." She heard one of the women say. "He is handsome and popular too. He will make a fine husband.” Another woman chipped in. “I just like the way he treats these holier than thou Pharisees but I don’t believe he is who he says he is either”
As Karen listened in on the gossip, something familiar began to stir within her. She quickly brushed it aside.

This man must be doing something greatly wrong or right to get this lot of attention from people. Some even say he raises the dead. She thought within herself on her way to the towns market. Some say he has a devil others say he is Elijah raised but what if this man can heal me and make everything better. She thought to herself.
This made her chuckle. She quickly brushed the thought aside. Why give room for more gossip to people who do not have anything else to do. Besides. It was against the law for a woman to approach a man publicly and ask anything.
Then she saw the crowd coming with a great commotion. She heard the man’s name being mentioned over and over again. "He must be in there somewhere." She thought.  She decided to slide by quickly unnoticed but then she suddenly felt numb at her spot.

Her curiosity was heightened and the questions were now springing into her mind in full force. “What if this….” Or “what if that………”

She thought to herself again “maybe I don’t even need to speak to him or ask him to pray for me. He is an embodiment of power and all around him shows that. Even his very clothes might contain power in themselves. Perhaps if I could even touch just the hem of his garment and be healed. He need not see me.

As if acting on impulse, she moved and pushed through the crowd. Some who knew her called her unclean, some felt disgusted by her. Others taunted but yet still she pressed till she got to the front exactly where Jesus was. Someone pushed her; she didn’t know who it was and she didn’t care. Her modesty wasn’t at stake here. She was tired, she had come too far to give up so she stretched her hands in a last effort and took hold of his garment.

Instantly she felt that trickle cease as if it never was. 

"No! this definitely is not one of the magic scams i know. But i cant feel it anymore. Joy started bubbling within her but then she needed to control it.  She couldn't afford the emotional disappointments anymore. "No i need to check this up."

 She wasn’t sure so she left the crowd to check it up.

Meanwhile the crowd that was moving had stopped and people were asking each other question. From a distance she heard the man called peter ask Jesus, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you so why do you say who touched me."

Happy from her healing but ashamed as she was about to be revealed publicly, she came forward to him trembling. Falling at his feet she confessed. Guess what Jesus said to her Luke 8:48. "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace." He didn’t rebuke her but commended her faith.
She didn’t need anything much to impress the master. All she needed was the faith to get her healing and get the man’s attention. In (Luke 8:43-48)

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

We find the defendant- NOT GUILTY!

"What are we going to do with this Jesus," the chief priest asked the group. "He is going about healing people left and right. Everywhere I go the buzz is about Jesus. It's Jesus this, and Jesus that. And the crowds are calling him the Messiah! Everyone knows that the Messiah will not come from Galilee. If we don't get rid of him, we are going to have an insurrection on our hands."
"And ever since the buzz about him multiplying a few loaves and fish to feed over 5,000 people has circulated, his followers have multiplied as well. He must be stopped."      

"I have an idea," Lucius responded with a gleam in his eye. "I happen to know a certain married man who is sleeping with his mistress at this very moment. I happened to see him slink into her house last night." And as the hard-hearted Pharisees gathered round, a spiteful plan to trick Jesus began to unfold.

The sun was just peeking through the securely locked shutters of Morah's bedroom window.  The predawn stillness was broken only by the songs of early rising birds floating on the breeze.  Morah was a tangle of sheets, arms and legs as the man she loved lay sleeping beside her.
"Oh, Zachariah," she whispered as her fingertips brushed a stray lock of hair from his closed eyes.  "If only you weren't married. I know this is wrong, but I love you so. And I have to believe you when you say you love me as well. We are risking our very lives with these frequent trysts."
Morah's musings were suddenly interrupted by a banging on the door.
"Open up!" the gruff voice demanded.
"Who is there?" Morah cried as she scrambled to find her robe.
"Open up or we'll break the door down."
"What's all the commotion," Zachariah mumbled as he groggily sat up in bed.  "What's going on?"
Before Morah could even think to answer, the angry mob of religious men broke through the simple lock and into the lovers' hideaway.
"What is the meaning of this?" Zachariah barked. "What do you think you are doing?"
"What do you think you are doing, my friend," the Pharisee countered. "That is the real question here."
"Morah, daughter of Omar, you are under arrest for adultery under the Law of Moses!" the moral police spat.  "Get dressed and come with me."
The Pharisee tossed Morah her night robe, but failed to turn his head as she slipped her trembling frame from the cover of the sheets and into the thin cloak. He grabbed her by the arm and began dragging her to the door.
"Where are you taking me?" she cried. 
"You'll find out soon enough," the Pharisee growled.
"What about Zachariah?" the youngest man of the group inquired.
"Just leave him," the Pharisee replied.  "We don't need him."
"Why don't you go back to your wife where you belong," the Pharisee called over his shoulder as the group left the room. And with that, the conspiring mob continued their trek to the temple with the half-clad trembling woman in tow. Two men flanked the weeping woman on either side, dragging her through the early morning hustle and bustle of the city. The bait was hooked, and now it was time to reel in the catch.
Like mice following the Pied Piper, a curious stream of townsfolk joined the parade.  Jesus was already teaching in the courtyard with a group gathered at his feet. As always, Jesus' message and miracles drew large crowds. A distant rumble interrupted his gentle teaching as the angry mob and curious crowd approached. They marched right into the inner circle of the classroom and thrust the woman at the Master's feet.
Morah's unbound hair fell around her bare shoulders and fluttered in the early morning breeze.  Her shame-filled eyes stayed riveted on the earthen floor, refusing to meet Jesus' gaze. Then one of the men pulled her to her feet and displayed her for all to see.
She didn't need to look at the man before her. She recognized his voice. It was Jesus.
"Teacher," the pious Pharisee began, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of  Moses commands us to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?"
Jesus didn't look at the woman's half-clad body as the others openly gawked. He looked into her soul.
Morah lifted her eyes and looked into the face of love.  What do I detect in his gaze? She thought to herself. It wasn't contempt, disgust, or condemnation, but rather compassion, concern, and pure, unadulterated love. Somehow she knew that this was the look she had been searching for her entire life.
As Morah listened to the Pharisee's question, she understood Jesus' dilemma. If he set her free, the Pharisees would accuse him of ignoring the Law of Moses and deem him a heretic.  If he sentenced her to death by stoning, then his teachings of grace and forgiveness would be negated. 
The religious leaders already held the stones in their clenched fists, anticipating his reply. Their hearts were as hard as the rocks they held in their hands. But rather than give a quick answer, Jesus moved his gaze from the trembling woman and stooped to the ground.  With his finger, the very hand of God-made-man, he began writing in the dirt.  A frigid chill swept through the Pharisees pious robes. Suddenly they felt the rawness of naked exposure as Jesus' eyes looked up at each of them and without a word, uncloaked their sinful thoughts and desires. With one look from Jesus, they stood soul bare and more exposed than the half-dressed woman before them.
Everyone held their breath. The silence was deafening. The tension was palpable. Finally, Jesus rose and delivered the verdict.
"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
The religious leaders already held the stones in their clenched fists, anticipating his reply. Their hearts were as hard as the rocks they held in their hands. But rather than give a quick answer, Jesus moved his gaze from the trembling woman and stooped to the ground. With his finger, the very hand of God-made-man, he began writing in the dirt. A frigid chill swept through the Pharisees pious robes. Suddenly they felt the rawness of naked exposure as Jesus' eyes looked up at each of them and without a word, uncloaked their sinful thoughts and desires. With one look from Jesus, they stood soul bare and more exposed than the half-clad woman before them.
Everyone held their breath. The silence was deafening. The tension was palpable. Finally, Jesus rose and delivered the verdict.
"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
Then Jesus squatted once again and continued to write.
One-by-one the Pharisees unclenched their fists, dropped the stones, and filtered through the crowd. The older men who had accumulated a longer list of sins turned to leave first, with the younger ones not far behind.
The remaining crowd listened closely as the drama continued to unfold.  After the last of the Pharisees cleared the scene, Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are your accusers?  Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she replied.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
"No one, sir," she replied.
The woman turned to leave, but not before picking up a discarded stone to take with her.
"To remember," she whispered.
Imagine yourself standing before God on your day of judgment.  You know all that you have done. Satan is pacing back and forth reading your long list of sins.  But then Jesus steps forward and takes the list from the accuser. Looking over the accusations he begins: "I paid for this one, and this one, and this one, and this one…."
Finally, reaching the end of Satan's meticulously penned and amazingly accurate enumeration of all your shortcomings, Jesus begins to tear the paper into shreds. He cups the pieces of the destroyed list of failures in his nail-scarred hands and then, with the breath of grace, blows them as far as the east is from the west. Wiping his hands together as if completing a work, he glances back over to the Judge, "All gone," he says with a smile.
Satan grumbles under his sulfurous breath, and slinks back to his darkened cave - foiled again.
God looks up and asks you, "Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," you reply.
"Then enter my eternal kingdom and find rest."
Friend, if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and if you are still feeling condemned, know that condemnation is not coming from God. Our enemy, the devil, is called the "accuser of the brothers," and he is the accuser of the sisters too. The Bible tells us that he marches before God accusing believers night and day (Revelation 12:11). "She did this and she did that and this and that and this," he hisses.
 And God replies "Really?  I don't remember? "
Then He looks at you with a welcoming smile.

CC: Girlfriends in God

Friday, 18 May 2012

………..As we forgive them their trespasses

It is so easy to pray the Lord’s Prayer and skim through and get it done with. God told us to ask him everything we want and he will give it to us, but there was one that he said he would give to us based on when we give it out. This is when we forgive others their trespasses against us.

Hmmm….not that easily done as said. In the words of Jesus he says “for if you do not forgive your brothers sins against you; your heavenly father will also not forgive you of yours.” When peter; his disciple asked him “lord, how many times should I forgive my brother, seven times? The master answered no; but seventy-seven times Matthew 18:21-22

So who should I forgive? Who deserves my forgiveness? Everyone. This includes the rapist, the molester, the thief, our neighbor who chooses every chance to find an error in us, mothers, dads, everyone. What type of sin? Every sin. Whether expected of or not. Whether major or little. Everything. Why should I forgive? Because Jesus said so and nothing else.

What happens when we have unforgiveness in our hearts?
When we have unforgiveness in our hearts and we pray, our prayers our blocked from the throne room of God. We have prevented God from hearing us. God operates on principles. The devil has no power, he was stripped totally on the cross but he also operates on principles. So why should God go outside his will and word? When we have unforgiveness in our hearts and we present our offerings to God, it is unacceptable to him. Our offerings are our worship, our lives to God himself. So if he refuses it then what is going to happen to us?

But it hurts, it hurts so bad……
If ever raped before, that would be the last thing on your mind to do to the one who raped you. If you were abandoned by your parents at birth and only for them to reappear later in your life, you wouldn’t even want to see their face. Yes it hurts so bad but you can’t heal yourself. There is one who can. Jesus was hurt more than you have been. He is the only one who has been hurt to the level no human being has ever experienced. Let me tell you what happened;
Born into this world, he showed himself to people who should have known better; but they said he was a demon, ridiculed and crucified him. 
He called a few friends around him and showed them who he was; one betrayed him to his enemies and the rest scattered. 
His chief vocalist denied he ever knew him three times as he watched him do it. 
Was publicly whipped with thirty nine lashes of rope made up of cattle bones and nails until he couldn't walk properly
He was stripped of his clothing, pierced with nails to a wooden cross by people he had control over. 
Nailed naked on a cross on top of a hill for all to see. 
As people watched; some he healed did not want to look at him, others mocked him, his mother stood there crying with no comfort 
He was crucified with thieves who deserved their punishment but he didn’t. One thief mocked him even whilst chained to the cross. 
And the most painful………His father. His father looked away because though naked he had on a garment of sin. That which his father hates. His father who was his only comfort.

In all this he said………………”father forgive them for they do not know what they do” Not that he deserved all this but because you have sinned and his father wanted nothing to do with you. He had to restore your relationship with him. So he took your place instead of you. And you think that is all? Every time you do something not according to his will for you it happens again. And for those who reject him inspite of all this and do not believe he exist, it happens again

Well I understand but let’s talk reality “how do I forgive this person who…….”
Open your mouth and tell yourself I forgive you “mention person’s name” If possible walk to the person and say I forgive you. The devil will make sure as the days go by to remind you of what the person did. So keep repeating it to yourself.
When your brother slaps you on one cheek; turn the other to him. Let’s be real here. Its either the next slap after the first slap will be on the offenders cheek or I will simply leave but there is no way am offering him/her my other cheek. But remember how Jesus went on after this saying that “when your brother takes away your garments give him your cloak too”.  It simply means “keep on doing the good you were doing at first. Do not stop. God is the one that rewards.
So what if the same person does it again. Pray for the person. Join forces and pray. Go on your knees and pray again. Pray for strength, pray for wisdom but forgive again.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Dare To Believe!

Yes dare to believe for that is all there is to our christian walk. If God said it, take it as it is. No doubt within, not one hand on the plough with the other idle. Not with one closed eye and the other opened to see whether he will come up with a trick. Just believe. That is all he asks of us.

All the people who walked with God were recommended for their belief in God. Some received the promise, others didn't. Nevertheless they forged ahead against all odds; believing the one who promised them that he is true. The father of faith Abraham was given the promise of a son exactly at the point where it was seemingly impossible by human standards to give birth. Not only that; after the promised son was given God asked him to sacrifice him.

Some would say well "what did Abraham see" for him to agree and go straight ahead without any challenge to the mountain to sacrifice his son? Remember he knew he was dealing with God but he had never seen him. Answer : because he believed the one he called his God and not only that but also believed that by some mysterious means even if he lost his to death, God was able to raise him up or better still give him another. Simple as that, he believed the one who called him.

How he did it we do not know, but this is what we know that it pleased God well and it was accounted to him Abraham as righteousness. If the lord tells you to stay at a place; stay there till he tells you to leave. If he tells you to lay something down, it is as simple as that. But whatever word you hear from him; Hold on to it with all your might, with all your strength. Not just that run with it, act on it. Pull down every thought, every imagination that exalts itself against the word given you and hold on to it. Try it and see......