Day 5 - Up Close and Personal Mini-Study
This story/reflection has been added to since the original post.

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

John 4:13-15
Sam had been coming to this well for as long as she could remember. It was given to the Samaritans by their forefather, Jacob. It was a source she came to each day to meet her physical needs. It helped her fulfill the many roles and responsibilities she had as a woman.For Sam, traveling to the well was like us running errands at Target or Wal Mart - it had something for the many "departments" in life - cleaning, cooking, bathing and drinking.

It was part of their heritage and a blessing to have this well, but Sam knew Jesus was right in saying that everyone who drank from this well got thirsty again. She came back everyday for more.

Jesus told Sam that if she drank the water He offered, she'd never thirst - she'd have all she needed. Then He went on to explain the life-transforming power of the Living Water He offered. But our sweet friend Sam didn't understand the gift Jesus offered. She didn't yet know who she was talking to. She didn't hear His life-giving promise. She must have only heard the first part of his sentence which equated in her mind to"this could make my life convenient."

To Sam never thirsting meant she wouldn't have to come back to the well she walked to each day. Her errands would be shorter - her to do list cut in half!

"Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." (ie. Make my life easier so I don't have to walk all this way every day.)

Can you imagine reading a promise in God's Word and thinking that if God fulfilled it, you'd never having to run to Target or Wal Mart again? Sam knew this could revolutionize her whole schedule. Imagine all that she could get done in the time she spent walking to the well, getting enough water to fill her jar and walking back.

I am like Sam. I also fall into "this would make my life easier" perspectives when I hear God's promises, and sometimes I miss all that God has and wants to give me on a much deeper level.

Some days in my attempts to make life easier, I'll show God my day-timer with my list of things I need to get done and ask Him to make me really efficient. But what if instead, I asked Him to show me what He has planned for me, to reveal Himself to me in every assignment I had so I could experience more of His peace and presence that day.

Recently I asked him to make my child's cold go away so he could get back to school and our home could get back to normal. But later I discovered that God wanted to use that "inconvenient pause" to bring me a place of dependence on Him and closeness with my child who had been pulling away. I wanted life to be easier but He wanted intimacy.

Other times I'll mention surface issues in my prayers as I hurry into my day, hoping He'll bless my efforts, calm my worries, and give me good sleep so life tomorrow won't be as challenging.

Sam needed Jesus to change more than the course of her day - she needed Him to change the course of her life. She had more than a physical need. She had a deep spiritual need that only He could fill. In the next few verses, Jesus will draw Sam's attention to the well of her heart that she's trying to fill with water from broken cisterns (men who could not love her the way she was designed to be loved).

But before we go there with them, let's pause here to ponder Sam's response to Jesus. Let's ask God to show us how we, like Sam, can miss the deeper spiritual blessings He has to offer...
  • Do I sometimes miss the depth of God's promises by seeking convenience over conviction (life-change)?

  • Are most of my prayers focused on surface needs, or do I dare to go deeper to where my spiritual thirsts "well up"?

  • Do I ask God to satisfy my daily spiritual thirst so I can be filled with the freedom of grace and forgiveness of eternal life Jesus offers me.)
Please know I'm not saying God isn't concerned with our surface needs. He met a big 'felt need' for my family this weekend through Four House Showings and a Lost Dog. He does it all the time. I need and love how He cares about every detail in our lives. I just know I can stay on the surface if I'm not intentional, because it doesn't take as much time. But if I only live on the surface with God, I don't experience the spiritually rich and abundant life Jesus promised Sam and us!

© 2008, Renee Swope. All rights reserved.


Blogger Jenny said...

I'm with you! I'm doing a talk on Hebrews 11:6, and I still remember when I first realized God said he would reward me for seeking Him. I made a list, and was it ever "surface", "felt" needs, but you know what He honored them and taught me to go deeper and deeper at times!

Great post and I'm glad your house showing went well!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I with you too Renee! I want to go deeper and experience all that God has for me. I want Him to transform me into the woman He wants me to be.
Mary :)

Blogger tiggerdaisy said...

Surface needs versus deeper, spiritual needs...hmmmm, I want to go deeper. I want to be transformed and always seek Him for my needs, and not seek any of the things the world has to offer.

Oh, how I am loving this study Renee! I have never looked at the woman at the well this way. And your cd "Searching for Satisfaction" is amazing! I loved hearing about your life and what brought you into an intimate relationship with God. Too often times we search for things to satisfy us and we come up empty handed because those things were never meant to satisfy the very core of our being. Most of those things are meant for us to enjoy, but not to define who we are.

Prayers and Blessings!

Anonymous heather said...

I find that I am afraid to go deeper. I find that I don't want Him to see the deeper parts of me. The parts I am ashamed of.

Thing is, He already knows those parts. But I still can't help myself wanting to hide them.

I want to finally have a little bit of a grasp on how significant, secure, and accepted I am in Him. But I doubt it everyday.

Thank you for these thoughts, Renee.
God Bless,

Blogger Joyful said...

This is so great Renee. I find it so interesting how Jesus quenches the thirsting of our soul, yet at the same time, calls us to continue to hunger and thirst after Him. He more than satisfies, yet still wants us seeking more.

I don't want God to just bless my efforts, but make me a blessing. It was powerful to me when you wrote, "Sam needed Jesus to change more than the course of her day - she needed Him to change the course of her life".

I know God wants to develop a deeper intimacy with me. As years go by and my relationship with the Lord grows, I think I am going deeper, only to look back and discover - I've only been dipping my cup into the easy access of the well of His living water - there's still so much more depth - like a bottomless well...the deeper I go, the deeper I have still yet to plunge.

Needing Him,

Blogger Michelle said...

I am enjoying your perspective in this mini-study. I have been reflecting on what you and the other ladies are saying. As I am experiencing God on a deeper level, I do not want to fall back into a surface relationship. I agree that you have to be intentional. I continue to seek to replace fear with faith, especially as I face uncertainities.

Blogger Celly B said...

I just wanted to let you know that I received a copy of The Pound to the Palace DVD from Van today, and you and your boys did such a great job on the voiceover work. Air's voice kept my children's attention so well with his enthusiasm and expression!
I have so enjoyed your study of the woman at the well. She was the inspiration for my meme "Thirstin' for the Word Thursdays." You may want to check it out at
That is wonderful how your house showing wound up. We have been waiting for our house to sell, too, and I have been praying that God will send just the right family to our old home and that He will smooth the way for all parties involved. I'll be praying for that for you, too.

Anonymous SHJ said...

For years, I have longed for a deeper relationship with God, but I've been too angry at him--for more than 30 years! Recently, however, I was listening to a preacher who I felt was looking right at me and started saying that God had not given up on me, that he wanted to use me. I had to stop thinking that I had to be a certain way to be used by God--he would clean me up, all I had to do was go to him. Let him handle the baggage. What a life-changing moment for me! He can still use me, even though I feel washed up and worn out, he still has a plan for me! But I'm so thirsty for his word, and want to learn and be all I can for him. I'm so thankful for this blog, Lysa's and Rachel's, too--I don't think I would have learned so much in such a short time.

I don't know if this has anything to do with felt and surface needs, but I thought about this when I was reading what you say about asking God for "stuff."
The other night, I realized that our satellite provider had added the Gospel Music Channel to our package--and there was a program that had a mini-feature on my favorite Christian artist, Sandi Patty! I got so excited! But when they showed her singing some of her older songs--the ones I used to sing in church when I was younger-- accepting awards, I started crying. I knew why--my dream was (and still is, deep down) to sing. Maybe not to be awarded like SP has been, but I want to sing about God's grace for all who can hear! I know now that I used to be conceited about my voice, but it came out of my low self esteem--it was the only good thing about me (so I thought). NOW I know that God has given me a gift, and I have to use it wisely. But I feel like I've benefited so much from God's grace and mercy, and I want others to know that they can, too. Last night, I asked God to use me however he saw fit--and if singing wasn't part of it, so be it. That was extremely hard for me to do--but I'm peaceful about it!

Again, thank you Renee--I have to see God in a deeper way--I'm reminded of an old song:
Deeper,deeper! blessed Holy Spirit,
Take me deeper still,
Till my life is wholly lost in Jesus,
And His perfect will.

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