This past June I journeyed to Uganda, serving with AsOne Ministries. For the third year in a row, my friend Andrew had invited me to come to Uganda, each time before this I told him, "no." But this year, after a busy season of teaching, attending seminary and serving in various ministries I felt drained; physically, emotionally and mentally. I was thirsty for rest. And this time when Andrew asked me to come to Namayemba, I felt God whisper, “go, abide with Me and drink from My Well.”
I’m often asked what did you “DO” in Uganda? They look at me oddly when I tell them, “I didn't DO anything, I abided and drank from His well.” Though we are called to action as Christians, I think sometimes we get busy with the “Do” and we forget to “Be”. Be in relationship with God, Be in relationship with others.
While I did “do”, it wasn’t the focus. I taught a lesson at Tendo Primary School, spent time in the homes of school children, water colored with people with special needs, learned about local farming, visited community leaders and pastor’s families, prayed with a whole lot with people, listened to women bravely leaving prostitution behind, and preached on demand one afternoon. It was not so much about what I did, but more about spending time with other thirsty sojourners on a kingdom bound journey.
One afternoon we spent time visiting with widows and I found myself carrying jars to a well to fetch fresh water. As we did this, I could not help but recall the story about the Samaritan woman whom Jesus meets at the well in John 4. Like the woman at the well, we are all thirsty for something. We are all in need of The Living Water. It doesn't matter if you are from America or Uganda. The woman at the well found herself in circumstances beyond her control, in a society of injustice where women have no say in marriage. Scripture tells us she had been married 5 times and was currently living with a man. She most likely felt discarded, rejected, broken, emptied and worthless. We all find ourselves at some point feeling the same way, whether due to our own poor choices or circumstances beyond our control.
Jesus offered the woman at the well, life-giving water, he offered... himself. In offering himself, he quenched her thirst, he gave her identity and value as a child of God. What we do flows from who we are. Both matter. There's someone God made you to be. Something God made you to do, but first you must drink deeply from The Living Well.
My time with AsOne reinforced; once you introduce The Living Water to people, you don’t stop there. You walk beside each other offering each other sips of love and encouragement, you celebrate identity in Christ, step into identifying who we are each called to be, and from that, equip each for what they are called to do. In doing so, we will thirst no more.