Gently, gently, God is coming to you.

Quietly, patiently, Jesus is listening to you.

Peacefully, lovingly, the Spirit is speaking to you.

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Jesus said to her, “Go, get your husband, and come back here.”

The woman replied, “I don’t have a husband.”

“You are right to say, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus answered. “You’ve had five husbands, and the man you are with now isn’t your husband. You’ve spoken the truth.”

The woman said, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you and your people say that it is necessary to worship in Jerusalem.”

Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you and your people will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You and your people worship what you don’t know; we worship what we know because salvation is from the Jews. But the time is coming—and is here!—when true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth. The Father looks for those who worship him this way. God is spirit, and it is necessary to worship God in spirit and truth.”

John 4:16-24

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Hear this now: this Samaritan woman was not promiscuous, loose, or in any other way sexually sinful. She had been disappointed many times — either widowed or divorced (possibly due to infertility) — Jesus does not call her a sinner or shame her. The Samaritan woman is not dealing with the shame of sin, but with the devastation of feeling unseen and unknown.

When Jesus exposes her past, she knows she has been seen and known by God. This is the key that unlocks her heart. What pours out next is a series of questions that had been lurking deep in her soul. Already the living water of God is doing its work inside of her. Even the answer to her question relieves a burden of guilt over her inability to worship in the correct place. (Samaritans were not allowed in the Jerusalem temple).

God knows each of us. Our struggles and needs matter to God. As Jesus said, “the Father looks for” us. Our circumstances will not stand in the way of God’s searching love.

Amber Inscore Essick

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Lord of life, you see my past and present. Your love heals me and brings me back to you. Search my heart for walls and stumbling blocks, that my spirit may be free to find rest in you. Amen.

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Drink of the deep love of God. As it fills your heart, let it overflow to those near you who most need to be seen and heard by God.

Amber Inscore Essick

Rev. Amber Inscore Essick co-pastors Port Royal Baptist Church, a rural church on the Kentucky River. She is the Adjunct Professor of Christian Worship at Baptist Seminary of Kentucky. Amber loves being in the woods, watching birds, watching post-apocalyptic movies, and drinking hot tea. She's married to John and has three kids: Olin, Leif, and Wren.

Great is Thy Faithfulness

John Morton

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