We are thirsty for many things.

What do you thirst for today? Why do you thirst for this thing?

Might this thing tell of a deeper thirst?

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Just then, Jesus’ disciples arrived and were shocked that he was talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” The woman put down her water jar and went into the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who has told me everything I’ve done! Could this man be the Christ?” They left the city and were on their way to see Jesus.

John 4:27-30

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We like to think we can be Christians on our own without the church. In today’s world, we call this “being spiritual but not religious.” Today’s story gives us a very different viewpoint. The larger story tells about a woman who has been judged and scorned by her community. Yet, when she hears what Jesus is offering her and comes to belief, she goes to the very community that had scorned and judged her.

We need a community to work out our belief. Christ works through an imperfect community where all are working to come to belief and struggling with doubts and fears. Through our churches, we learn to be loved as an imperfect person, and we learn to love the imperfect. To ignore the transforming work of God in imperfect communities is to take an easy road of spirituality.

We thirst to more fully know God; yet, we can only more fully know God when we can see God’s love for the imperfect people around us.

Kellie Wilson

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God, I thirst to know you and to know if you are really powerful enough to reconcile the world to yourself and us to one another. I know I can only see this power at work when I choose to continue to be in community with your people, with all of our imperfections and sinfulness. Help me to see how I am also imperfect and sinful so that I can love my community as you love me. Help us to be transformed and reconciled together by that knowledge. Amen.

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We all thirst for a sense of identity and mission. We thirst to know who we are and what we are called to do.

Ultimately, it is God who tells us we are beloved. This good news is water for our thirsty souls.

Now go and give this water to the thirsty.

Go and let others know they are beloved through your words and actions.

Kellie Wilson

Kellie Wilson is the Canon for Christian Formation and Leadership Development for the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina. In addition, she is a Spiritual Director for the National Happening Committee and a volunteer with Family Promise of the Midlands. She lives with her husband, son, and black lab and loves listening to youth and young adults share their faith stories.

Wondrous Love: Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Mark Hayes

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