As a teenager going to a Christian school one devotional stands out above many others for me. I was in my last year, last term and the School Pastor led this devotional/Bible study encouraging us to dig our own wells. This phrase comes from the time when Isaac was moving into the land that God had promised to give back to him and his descendants. He was very wealthy and came to the land where Abraham had previously lived and dug wells – though those wells had been closed for a long time. Isaac and his servants re-opened those wells and then they dug fresh wells. When they struck water they said – this water is OURS. They had dug for their own fresh waters. The devotion on that school day was very relevant to us as we were all kids from Christian homes, gone to a very sheltered Christian school, lived in a total Christian environment but the challenge was – did we have our own relationship with God or were we leaning on our parents and our community. Did we have our own fresh water? This challenge has been put to me many times since. Not only do I need a personal relationship with Jesus – and that relationship needs to be growing stronger each day.
It doesn’t matter which relational sphere we look at – each relationship takes time and effort to ensure the relationship continues to grow (or at least stay alive). We have relationships with our own parents, with our siblings, with our spouse, our children, our friends, our neighbour – each of these connections needs to be fostered, nurtured, taken care of.
Do we have a relationship with Jesus? Do you have a personal connection with Him? Do you work on your connection with Him like you work on your relationships with people? I believe that we all need to be responsible, by ourselves, for our own relationship with Jesus. This has nothing to do with our minister’s nurturing, counseling or teaching. This has nothing to do with the fact that we need fellowship (living life together) with other Christians. We need our ‘brothers and sisters’ around us to encourage us daily. But our need for our spiritual family does not take away the truth that we need to dig our own wells – we need to have a relationship with Jesus – and that it is our own responsibility to dig in, and make that relationship grow.
Growing your own Relationship with Jesus
How do we dig our own wells? How do we build our relationship with Jesus without being totally dependent on others?
One way is what is commonly called in Christian circles as Quite Time: daily time with God.
- A time to talk to Him,
- a time to listen to Him,
- a time to learn from Him,
- a time to get to know Him.
If so much can happen in this so called Quite Time why does it get sooooooooooo boring, soooooooooo dry and soooooooo uninteresting? Maybe it is because we start to rely on what other people have to say:
- We read devotionals that are talking about other people’s experiences
- We pick up Bible studies because that is what someone else is doing
- We follow someone elses’ prayer list
- We memorise scripture because it is in a programme we signed up for
- We rely on just the sermon, week to week
And while these things can be helpful tools to either help us develop a habit or truly are food for our spirit – we have to watch how these things are affecting our relationship with Jesus. If these things are good and healthy, and are helping our relationship to grow they are a tool (much like the shovels Isaacs servants used to dig a well) but if they are just what we do – we need to be brave enough to see that we’ve slipped into drinking from someone else’s well.
I wonder what would have happened if the water in Abrams wells was beautiful, clear and sweat? I don’t think they would have gone on and dug their own wells. And sometimes this is what happens to us as well – we drink from rich, inspired, true, and deep wells – sermons, books, devotionals, blogs, magazines etc…. and we lose the necessity to dig for ourselves. When there is no necessity the urgency and importance disappears.
Regardless of our circumstances – we need to do it for ourselves! We need to dig into Jesus ourselves.
Why don’t we dig our own well?
Let’s admit it, it is much easier, sitting at church and just listening, being challenged and working on it during the week, till we can be sure we will hear the word of God again and around and around we go. It’s a bit like not meeting the person you are going to marry, but communicating through a proxy until you know each other. I wonder how much new stuff you would discover once you were married and started talking face to face! God is a personal God, He made us for face to face communication with Him. He is waiting for our praise, for our communication with Him. This is why He created us. If we don’t praise and worship Him then the creation will – the rocks will. How would you like to be replaced by Ayers Rock! Or even the tiny pebbles on the footpath? We need to know our God for ourselves – we need to spend time with him – just him and me.
The other reason that we often don’t spend time with God daily on a personal level is that we think we don’t have time. God is a jealous God. He wants our relationship, our communication, our praise, our life. But he is not going to just take it, he wants it given willingly. Christian history, and maybe some wisdom, that says we should rise early, and spend 15-30 minutes reading the Word of God, and that makes us DO the Time! Others say – no breakfast till I’ve been in the Word. These thoughts certainly help us establish habits but what it is really about is a Quiet Time with the Lord – not when or how or even what I read and think about. I sometimes wish there could be a better phrase for this time in my day – but when it comes down to it – this is a time where my Spirit can be Quiet and this is exactly what I need to build my relationship with my God.
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God is as much at the Kitchen sink as he is at the Dining Table. He is as much in worshipful music as he is in a devotional reading. At times I have found it hard to sit myself down and read his Word. My response to this has been two fold
1–I have prayed for a hunger for his Word and discipline myself to find times to read even a snippet of His Word
2–I have found other ways to focus my spirit and mind on God.
- I have meditated on scripture that has come to mind, as I do the dishes
- I have written scripture on cards and dwelled on those thoughts driving in the car
- I have turned on Scripture to music while I do the housework
- I have prayed as I move around the house cleaning
- I have also disciplined myself to NOT turn on music – worshipful or otherwise so I can have the opportunity to hear His voice talking back to me.
The issue is: Is my spirit quiet before the Lord?
Think about it – My body can be quiet but my spirit busy OR my body can be busy and my spirit quiet.
He is waiting for my praise, for my communication with Him. He is waiting for me to dig deep and grow my relationship with him.
My personal challenge isn’t so much to rise early – I already do that. But how do I fill those quiet hours before the household is awake and buzzing? I rise early for myself and the challenge is to rise early for God.
Over to you:
What is the challenge for you – if you are to dig your own wells? And how are you encouraging your kids to dig their own wells?