Grab a warm cup of tea and a quiet hour for a deep breath with the Word. I am soaking in these verses this week: John 1:29-42. Before you read the meditation here at “a thirst for God,” read them first? They happen to be the verses many of you will hear on Sunday if you are lectionary based.Year A, Second week after Epiphany.
This is something I hope to offer early each week, these meditations or Word-Seeds.
This is not short but perhaps we can keep coming back throughout the day for a little more Jesus, a few more crumbs? Maybe together we can live, walk and breathe in this scripture for these few days.
The photos could be seen as a place to pause, to journal, to listen. A Selah in the Psalms. When we encounter the Word, we can’t help but be transformed…and when we encounter Jesus? Ahhhh, but this is our hope.
First, let’s pray:
Lord, You know that the Word changes us. It ignites us. But we need the Holy Spirit to open the Word for us. Would You plant Word-Seeds deep in our hearts?
Come, Lord, Jesus, Come.
They are all about to meet at the crossroads of the desert. Jesus is here, gaunt from his 40 day fast wrestling with evil. John the Baptist is here. This town is the staging ground for his ministry. And then there is this spattering of disciples. They had all heard this crying out of John the Baptist, all these disciples hungry for the holy, willing to put down nets, leave family, go out into the desert for Bread.
God had been silent for four hundred years. The disciples were leaning forward, searching for the Voice.
From this town, the Jordan River is within walking distance. This was the last stop for bread and lodging before heading out to hear John’s preaching, to wade into the water’s flow.
He was preparing the Jewish people for Jesus. “Who are you?” he was asked and he clarified by revealing all he was not. I am not the Messiah. I am not Elijah. And then cryptically reaching into of the depths of the prophet, Isaiah, he answers, “I am only the voice of one calling in the desert ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”
Now we’re in the market. Everything interesting in a bustling town happens in the market. This little town is no different. As Jesus walks through the crowd, John is compelled by the Spirit to proclaim what he sees. And the market people all whip their heads around to see: “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Those words would get your attention if every year you brought an unblemished lamb to the temple to be killed for the sins you carried around heavy.
John’s deep projecting voice raised above the buying and selling: “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ This, friends, is why I have been baptizing. I am witness to the fact that He is the Son of God.” Are they used to his raving? His disciples listen but oddly, stay put.
They hear….but stand still.
They don’t leave their teacher’s side until the next day. On this day just two disciples are alone with John. Jesus passes by close and once again John cries out: “Look, the Lamb of God.” Finally, the disciples’ curiosity is engaged. They leave John the Baptist’s side and start wandering through the crowd in Jesus’ shadow.
Jesus turns and asks that simple question he asks all of us, “What do you want?”
They reply with “Rabbi, (meaning teacher), where are you staying?” Their question signals a desire to follow, to hear Jesus’ teaching.
And what does Jesus say? “Come and see.”
Confession time: I have built a habit over many years of learning about God so as to have tastes and appetizers instead of going straight to God and waiting with Him for His Presence, gathering a whole meal of manna. Instead of coming home with Him to sit at His feet, I dwell on the outskirts perhaps like the disciples of John hearing prophetic words but not seeking Him who is unknown, He who is greater.
Sometimes I read books about God, listen to sermons and think they are an end in themselves. I am the perfect student, addicted to the dramatic “aha” moment. But this is the question, am I seeing the Word from afar and only listening to mumblings about him?
Am I a homeless one satisfied with this huddled warming of my hands over a candle when I am free to open the door, draw close to the fire, and sit with the Lamb of God Himself?
Abide with me and I will abide with you. (Jn 15:4) Seek me and you will find me. I have always convinced myself that I want pure God of pure God when perhaps some days what I really want is the hunted thrift store find to stuff my already full closet with more knowledge…
And here the question goes deeper. Do I really want to go home with God to sit at His feet empty of agenda, offering myself poor of spirit? Andrew and the other disciple of John’s follow the One, but some did not and would I make the trek across town and have the courage to ask, “where are you staying?” Would I have the courage to follow?
The two are received into companionship with God Himself, offered a simple but exceedingly vulnerable “Come and See.” The door is opened to the dwelling place of God. The sleeping mat. The table. The chair opened wide in a gesture of friendship.
My dear friend, Linda, comes each morning to her time with God armed only with a cup of hot coffee and whispers “Abba” and sits still in His Presence. She comes without journal and without agenda but always with expectation that He will meet her there. She tells of the day when He told her just to come in that simple way and how fumbling she felt not to be weighed down with books and worship music and the journal.
Over time, the awkwardness lifted slowly and she became hungry not for it but for Him.
Here’s a question. Do I often come to a “quiet time” as I might to a morning conversation with my husband about schedules and overlapping to-do lists? Do I come with the attitude of, “Let’s get this done so I can pack the lunch boxes full, get dressed, guide the kids through the maze of morning tasks.” We hit all the necessary bullet points but entirely miss the relationship. Do I hit all the truths I need to be full, nourished, stomach packed, but miss the Bread of Life Himself.
In the afternoon, when my toddler goes down for a nap, I rest using contemplative centering prayer but so often even there I come with a to-do list, an agenda, multi-tasking always. I sit still, but honestly, what I really want is to hear from God is about a question that’s been festering or to hear the Voice leading ten more steps down the road. About ten minutes in, my shoulders drop and I remember the invitation to “Be Still and Know that I am God.” I open my fingers and my agenda slips through and I am empty, poor in spirit, but my hands are full of Bread.
My purpose is to love God and enjoy Him forever. Period. Everything else can wait.
Because here is my peace and He is my peace and the search is over and I am home.
Andrew and the other disciple zigzagged with Jesus through the crowd to his where He was staying, perhaps a room on a rooftop able to feel the vibrations of a busy family below.
Their minds must have echoed with the words of John the Baptist, who yelled out the day before, “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him…I testify that this is the Son of God.” Andrew and the other must have asked what treasures would pour out of a man on whom the Spirit rests? Or will we even be able to understand His cryptic messages?
He opens the door to the place where He prays, where He rests. They sit. Stay. Listen. They soak up Word. Then Andrew, impatient with joy, jumps up, says he will return and runs straight for his brother, “We have found the Messiah.”
My Calvin Commentary on this scripture said this: “it appeared that Andrew having been with Jesus was so full of him. He knew there was enough in Christ for all; and, having tasted that he is gracious, he could not rest until those he loved had tasted it too. True grace hates monopolies, and loves not to eat its morsels alone.”
But, here is today’s question: How can we like Andrew point to the living God, go home and grab our brother when we have not tasted, have not seen God Himself, not soaked in His Presence? When we have only tasted God someone else has shown us, we have no desire to usher another into His Presence, drag them to the holy. We are not tearing off terra cotta roof tiles, lowering them down into the Presence of the One who sees their pain and speaks straight to the heart, “Your sins are forgiven.”
If we have not been home with God, not tasted His Bread, our “Come and See” may be anemic, embarrassed, hollow. It was only when Andrew had been in Jesus Presence, sitting at the feet of the one in whom is hidden all the mysteries of wisdom and revelation, that his calling to his brother had urgency.
“We have found the Messiah,” Andrew told his brother.
He, the pearl of great price, the treasure in the field, the Messiah the earth has been groaning to feel walk upon its dirt is Found.
Abba, I can’t desire you on my own, please place a desire within me to be filled with you. Lord Jesus, somewhere deep in my heart, I want this. I want You and not just knowledge. I want You and not mere sightings. I want Bread and not just crumbs. Teach me to sit still in Your Presence, to sit, to drink, to bring others to the well.
Would you like weekly Word-Seeds to be slipped into your email? Slip your email address into the Connect button on the front page of “a thirst for God.” Let’s pray that the Word plants in all the crevices of our lives.
Writing in community with Jennifer Dukes Lee: