theROCK

Thirsting for Jesus

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Have you ever imagined yourself as the woman at the well in the Gospel of John?

Jesus approaches you and tries to reveal his thirst - perhaps his thirst for intimacy with you - but you put him off. You are not worthy. It won’t work. You are convinced he can’t satisfy your needs, at least not at this well and not without a bucket!

How do you put Jesus off, with excuses, problems, or barriers? Do you say “I don’t have time,” “I haven’t done this before,” “My stuff is too complicated,” or “I don’t know how to find you in this mess”? When Jesus shows the woman at the well that he knows her, she comes to understand she is in the presence of someone special—perhaps the One she has thirsted for all her life. Do you allow Jesus to show you he knows you, understands you, and still loves you? 

Let Jesus into the very depths of your heart this Lent, and then see what he has in store for you.

Posted by Mary Lestina

Seeing Scripture

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Have you ever taken time to sit with the Scriptures and contemplate what it would have been like to really be there, to hear it first hand? I had always tried to do that especially when unpacking Scripture with students. It helped in trying to connect with what Jesus was saying by trying to make it more real. I often tried to imagine what it would have looked like, sounded like, felt like to be in that moment.

This became more "fun" as I became older and had a better sense of what the world was like and what people were like in general. I tried to picture what Jesus would have physically been like based on people who live in the Middle East today. Now that I have been to the Holy Land, I have a better appreciation of the landscape of Israel and the challenges this presented in moving from one place to another. I see the Scripture in a whole new way.

Seeing Scripture in a whole new way has now challenged me a bit differently. Recently, I was meditating on the passage of John 21: 12-22, when Peter is depressed and sets out with two other disciples to fish in the Sea of Galilee post resurrection. They are having no luck. In the distance, they see a man on the shore. One of the men recognizes him as Jesus. Peter jumps into the water. He can't get to the shore fast enough. Jesus was preparing fish on an open fire. They sit to eat. Upon finishing eating, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. For every time Peter responds, Jesus tells him to "feed my lambs", "take care of my sheep", and "feed my sheep".

In the past, this passage didn't affect me much. I knew that it was a conversation between Peter and Jesus whereby Jesus is essentially forgiving Peter for denying him. It is also a commissioning of Peter
as the head of the newly founded Church. Now having been there, and stood upon the rock where this conversation took place along the Sea of Galilee, I am forever changed. Our retreat leader charged those present to think of this passage as the resume for all Christian leaders, for it identifies what is needed to be a leader: Love the Lord greatly, Obedience to the will of the Father, and Focus on what God has given you to do. Truth be told that on the pilgrimage, I struggled to meet this rock. It sits alongside and under the Church of the Primacy of Peter. I couldn't go in. I cried at the doorpost. I imagined what it had to have been like for Peter, for
the two that were with him fishing that day and catching nothing, only to find yourself having breakfast with Jesus on the shore. These men were no longer fishermen, they were fishers of men. They were transformed by Jesus. I truly asked if I have been transformed by Jesus on that day on pilgrimage. Am I willing to go where He is
leading me? Am I ready to be accountable to it? Are you ready to be accountable to where God is leading you?

Mountain Top Experiences

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Have you ever had a "mountain top" experience? One of those experiences or moments in life that you just don't want to end? Moments of seeing god to clearly and feeling his presence to powerfully that you want the moment to last forever?

The Transfiguration was a mountain top experience for Peter, James, and John. Jesus was revealed to them in all his glory at the top of Mount Tabor. They were so happy, so amazed, so in awe that they didn't want to leave. With any mountain top experience, we always have to come down from the mountain. The experience is meant to spur us into action. Jesus and the disciples still had a mission to fulfill, they couldn't just sit on the mountain. Yes that experience of grace transformed their hearts.

My prayer is that we too travel to the top of the mountain to be transformed and spurred into action to share God's love with others.

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