There are many times in our spiritual journey when we need encouragement but we find ourselves either unable to reach out to others or simply in a time of being alone. As uplifting and strengthening as words from others may be, there are times when you have nowhere else to go but God yourself.
Of course, the potential problem with this is that you may not find yourself knowing where to turn from your resources within. The fact that you need a word of encouragement likely means that you have been spent in trying to deal with an issue or struggle or faith-battle on your own and find that your resources are depleted.
In John chapter 4 in the beautiful story of the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well in the village of Sychar (a place where Jacob of the Old Testament dug this well nearly 1000 years before… ) he teaches us a great lesson. Jesus sees the need of this woman who is internally very thirsty and who is in need of a word of hope, some way to break out of the cycle of failed relationships and quiet desperation in which she was living.
Jesus asked the woman to give Him a drink of water. (vs. 8) The woman was surprised because the Jews and Samaritans did not speak with each other.
Jesus answered her confusion when He said, “If you only knew who I am and the gift that God wants to give you you’d ask me for a drink, and I would give to you living water.” (vs. 10) They go back and forth for a few verses and then Jesus says this:
“For when you drink the water I give you it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life!” (vs. 14b)
The most common mistake that we make in a time of extended struggle is to look at what God has done in the past in our lives and conclude that we don’t have the resources ourselves to change anything. Our wells are dry and there’s no use in trying to simply lift yourself up by looking within.
The key here is to recognize that the Lord is not expecting you to find the resources within, but rather to draw on His resources from above which will then in turn refill your own personal well, your heart, with fresh love, power and encouragement.
Don’t make the mistake of only believing in what Jesus can do in your life based on what He’s done in the past. Those wells may be dry, but He is here to give you fresh and living water even today! It takes some focus to look away from yourself and what you know based on the past, but the answer lies in looking to the Lord and His limitless resources of life that never run dry and are never inaccessible to us.
There’s a fascinating reference to this same principle in the life of King David in 1 Samuel 30 where King David finds himself in a time of deep and profound discouragement. His city had been burned and the wives and families of his fellow soldiers had been taken captive. His own people even threatened to kill him as they blamed him for this carnage.
And then one simple verse stands out in 1 Samuel 30:6 “But David strengthened himself in the LORD His God.”
In my next post I want to talk about how we can learn to do what King David did: to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. (By the way, the Hebrew word for strengthen in that verse is the exact same word for “encouragement.”)
So take heart, dear friend, that even if you are feeling somewhat alone and unable to be encouraged by others, the Lord has an endless supply of living water that He desires to pour into your life.