Encounter at the well


“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
(John 4:10)

Tired from the journey Jesus sat down at the well outside of a town in Samaria called Sychar whilst His disciples went on to buy food. Alone there He met a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water. She was by herself which indicated that the other women of the town had rejected her. Jesus asked her to give Him a drink.

The woman was astonished that a Jewish man should speak to her. The Jews despised the Samaritans whom they considered to have lost their racial purity and relationship with God through marriage with foreigners. In addition a strict Rabbi would not speak to any woman in public, let alone one whose actions revealed her to be a social outcast. It turned out that she was living with a man who was not her husband after five previous relationships had failed.

In spite of her bankrupt life – it could be said that even because of it – Jesus brushed aside tradition and engaged her in conversation. He led their discussion in such a way that it became clear that He was offering her the Living Water of eternal life – if she would have it. Only someone who knew what it was to be a social and spiritual outcast could really understand and appreciate the real value of this gift. ‘To be wanted, to be cared for when no one, not even herself, could see anything of value in her’ – this was love and grace indeed.

We may think ourselves to be of no value – but God values us. Will we let Him?

It’s not how good you are but how great He is.


Lord You offer me Your hand and Your heart – please help me to say yes and to allow You to embrace and hold me forever. Amen.



Foundation 5


“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly,
and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
(Luke 22:44)

Fighting temptation and fear is a very lonely place. This was Jesus last and greatest spiritual battle. He was so close to the end of His earthly journey now– so close to the real reason for His coming. And here was the final battle of wills. Adam and Eve had allowed their will to prevail over God’s. Jesus was struggling to bring His will into submission to the Father – just as He had taught us to pray.

The weapons of darkness were intense. As He strove in prayer with Himself, “his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Who can begin to imagine what was taking place within Him. Finally He overcame His human agony and He could walk out to face His tormentors with a new quietness of spirit. We are eternally blessed as a result.

We may all know similar moments even if not to the same degree. Jesus would have realised it when he challenged us

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Some are simple choices. Others are difficult decisions when we battle with our own desires and weaknesses. The inner voices might tell us that it makes no difference but somewhere inside us we know that it does. We, like Adam and Eve, are being tempted to give in to our own desires – whereas Jesus makes it clear that our walk with Him will lead us to deny ourselves in many of the world’s areas. Our great battle is to convince ourselves that His is the Way that we want to travel, His approval the only endorsement worth having and His pleasure in us the real reward.

At such times much will depend upon the foundational values that we  have already set in place. When our resolve falters and the darkness closes in we can reach out to Him and keep repeating within that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ – and hold on to His love, His strength and His victory on our behalf.

I want to live for You Lord – not for me.


Help me Lord Jesus to stand up to temptation in Your power and for Your sake, Amen.


Foundation 4


“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark,
Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place,
where he prayed.”
(Mark 1:35)

Jesus desert temptations were over, but He was still faced with the temptations that would arise during His life and ministry. Mark describes three instances where Jesus withdrew to a solitary place and prayed. Each one was related to one of the challenges He had faced in the desert.

Here Jesus had been teaching in the synagogue and had driven out an evil spirit. This had ‘amazed’ all the people. He had then healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. Later ‘the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.’ The whole town gathered at the door of the house where Jesus healed and drove out demons.

It was the morning after this ministry that had attracted so many people, that Jesus went off early to pray. And when Simon and his companions came searching for Him with the news ‘Everyone is looking for you’ He was prepared and ready to say to them. ‘Let’s go somewhere else .. so that I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’

Jesus realised the dangers of staying and becoming the local wonder-worker. Like jumping off the pinnacle of the temple to the astonishment of the crowds below it would cause amazement. However it would not necessarily draw people into the Kingdom through repentance and salvation. He had a different message for a wider audience and He had to keep moving on. Throughout His ministry He was followed by people looking for more wonderful acts but without becoming disciples.

Do I respond to the voice of the world or the call of God? Keep praying for guidance and strength.


Lord please help me to focus on You and not on the call or acclaim of the world. Amen.


Foundation 3


“The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “`He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered, “It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
(Luke 4:9-12)

Nowhere in Scripture does God tell us that we can be either careless or seek to be sensational. To assume that, no matter what we do or how we do it, God will see that we come to no harm, or make everything work out, is to treat Him as some sort of a genie. To try and do flamboyant things in His name in order to attract attention is to make ourselves the primary focus. To seek to demonstrate our faith, and prove our relationship with Him, by getting God to put on a show is to abuse Him.

Jesus was quite clear in His teaching that He acted and spoke in response to God’s guidance and not His own wishes. He served God and did not try and get God to act as He, Jesus, wished. How very clearly this is brought out in the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus submitted Himself to the will and purpose of His Father.

If this is how Jesus, the perfect Man, acted then we as His younger brothers and sisters need to take a leaf from His book. We have the promises of God, as well as the guiding, gifting and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit within us. He is not there to do what we want but to help us to do what God wishes. One of His primary purposes is to take the expressed will of God and to see that it happens. He will do that in and through us as well.

God does not invite us to come up with a purpose for Him, instead He has a purpose for us. This is something for which He has prepared us, gifted us and will empower us. Following His will is a part of our finding and becoming our true selves. We trust Him to make us who we were always intended to be.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Am I seeking attention, behaving recklessly or trying to force my own way?


Father, You could not do more than You have done to show Your love for me. Please help me to accept it, believe it, trust it and respond to it. Amen


Foundation 2


“The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendour, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”
(Luke 4:5-7)

In the second temptation it seems as if the devil was offering Jesus the very things that He had come to recover as part of His kingdom, but without the hardship and effort involved in the way of the Cross. Here was a short cut that made it easy and which, on the face of it, only the two of them might know about.

The problem of course was that all this was not the devil’s to give. In addition the cost involved was to turn from God and worship Satan. It would be easy to try and say that the end justifies the means, but the truth is that you cannot have a good result in God’s eyes if the process is flawed.

We live in a world which appears to offer us everything we want on the easiest of terms. Too often people have found that in accepting the offer they have lost something which is very precious – their own integrity and self-esteem. Once again, through putting their own desires first, and listening to the seductive promises of the world, they have missed out on who they could have been as a son or daughter of God.

“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” (Jonah 2:8)

Jesus knew that the only response was the one that placed God first. We cannot truly worship God with our lips if our lives tell a different story. In our pursuit of happiness, wealth and significance it is easy to try and cut corners, looking for the quick and easy options. However, personal integrity and the honouring of God our Father are not things that we can buy or lightly lay claim to. They are easily lost and some are never regained. Yesterday can never be re-written, it must be lived properly today.

 “It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'” (Luke 4:8)

Where am I acting dishonourably before God? Affirm your integrity.


Father, please help me to discern the lies of the world and to live to Your honour and glory. Amen.


Foundation 1


“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit in the desert,
where for forty days he was tempted by the devil”
(Luke 4:1-2)

Immediately after His Baptism the Spirit led Jesus into the desert – and Jesus followed His leading.

When Satan said to Him “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread” it was not just an attack on His identity. Satan was also tempting Him to demonstrate that He was the Son of God. This same challenge would come to Jesus again during His ministry.

The first temptation was for Jesus to display His powers – and in a way that would also provide for His own human needs and desires. By implication He would then do the same for others during His ministry – attending primarily to their present hungers and wants rather than their spiritual needs and future.

Jesus response was to be foundational for the years that lay ahead. He was quite explicit that a first priority in life is hearing and responding to the directives of God – and He would live it out.

“Jesus answered, “It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)
• “but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”(John 14:31)

Just as Jesus was doing in the desert we too need to set in place the foundation stones for our lives and values.

What hunger in my life gets the most attention? Does feeding it satisfy or increase the hunger?


Father please help me to feed on Your word and to find its value in my life. Amen.


Walk the Light


“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
(1 John 1:7)

When we become Christians our lives are to change. We have moved from darkness into light. Now John tells us to walk in the light – not reverting to old habits and activities and the ways of the world. It underlines for us the truth that faith is not merely a matter of words but of living as well.

As Christ is the Light then His is the Way that we are called to follow. As He reflected God’s goodness and love so should we. His words particularly are to be our guide and ‘a lamp to my feet’ (Psalm 119:105). Always and at all times we should focus on drawing closer to Him and into the beauty of His holiness.

This takes prayer and practice and we are likely to fall short many times. However, as with anything else, we are called to stand up again and carry on – only now we ask God for His forgiveness and help, and trust that it is granted to us again and again.

As we draw nearer to God we will become more aware of how terrible sin really is. When this happens we may need to remind ourselves that it is because we are nearer to God – and not because we have drifted further away. In that case sin would seem less serious to us.

Would the Lord want it this way?


Lord Jesus help me please to walk in the light of Your life and teaching – and to reflect that light to those around me. Amen.


Your Light


“In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

(Matthew 5:16)

“You are the light of the world” Jesus taught His followers, and immediately went on to say that this light should be allowed to “shine before men.” He showed that a light is not supposed to be hidden, but is placed where it will best achieve its purpose of bringing light to the surrounding areas. And because He is the Light of the world Himself the light to which He is referring is His light shining in us and through us.

Firstly there is the light of His salvation. It is a salvation that has brought us out from the darkness of separation and death and into the love and light of eternal life with God. This should count for something in our lives and have an effect on our attitudes and appearance.

Secondly, and because we have a restored relationship with God, and the Holy Spirit within us, our approach to life and the way we live it should be noticeably different. This ought to be particularly apparent in our personal, social and business dealings. After all we are living now as the children of God and seeking to acknowledge and honour Him in every aspect of our lives.

Thirdly our relationships with everyone around us should develop a new gentleness, encouragement and concern. As we are increasingly touched, healed and blessed by the love of God that love must begin to overflow from us – rather like a sponge saturated with water leaks it out if moved. The fact that we may not be fully there yet is no reason not to begin living out the new life from where we are.

Examine the sermon of your living, and make some adjustments.


Holy Spirit, please continue pouring the love of God into my heart, and help me to pour it out wherever I am and whatever I am doing. Amen.


Light of my Life


I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12)

We know what it is to have darkness in our lives. There is the darkness that comes from the world around us bringing insecurity, fear and despair. There is also the darkness that arises within us bringing clouds of inadequacy, shame, depression and hopelessness.

Into the lost and lonely places of this darkness Jesus Christ speaks quietly – “I am here”; “I am with you”; “I am the light of your world”.

This light is not a small flickering candle threatening to be extinguished by the dismal drafts of despair gusting in from the world. This light is the inextinguishable light of Life. It is found in the eternal, glorious and love-filled Person who is the Christ, Son of the Almighty Father.

The rejected and ridiculed souls who turned to Jesus during His earthly ministry were drawn by this amazing love-filled light. It flowed from Him towards them. They knew that here was their one true hope, and they wept – not due now to their shame and fear but because of the forgiveness, love and life that embraced them in His eyes and though His voice.

Jesus Christ is your light no matter what your darkness is or has been. He is the Light of Love and Life which the world does not understand but which we can know. He is the eternal Light – your Light – which can never be extinguished, no matter how deep the darkness.

Look to the Light that is Jesus the Christ. Ask Him to help you focus on and receive Him more fully.


Lord Jesus, please shine Your Light into my darkness – and help me to trust and live in the pure, new light of the life that you give me. Amen.


True Light


“The true light that gives light to every man
was coming into the world.”

(John 1:9)

When John refers to Jesus as the true light he means true in every sense of the word. Real as opposed to illusion, complete as opposed to incomplete, true as opposed to false, life-giving as opposed to life-distracting.

Men and women seek after light on many ways – in knowledge, in experience, in activities and in relationships. They may find flickers of the truth, faint glimpses of reality and maddening glimmers that lead nowhere. None of these are complete and will never be truly satisfying. Many are merely partial lights and some will be false lights – but people will still follow them in their search for personal meaning, power and satisfaction.

Jesus comes as a Person who is ‘the truth’. He is real, complete and true in every way. But He does not come to merely inform us or add to our knowledge. He comes to shine a new and very personal light into the dark and unsettled areas within and amongst us.

He comes as the revelation of God to settle our doubts. He comes with guidance and empowerment to deal with our despair. He comes with new life to deal with our fear of death. He comes with an intimate relationship with the Almighty Father to deal with our loneliness. He comes with the acceptance of love to deal with our rejection and isolation, He comes with forgiveness and salvation to deal with the sobbing agony of sin and failure. He comes with a place in an eternal home to delight the spirits and hearts that know no peace and rest. He comes with the healing, cleansing and life-giving light that is at the heart of His being. He comes to give it to all those who will look to Him and believe and receive it.

Jesus comes to offer God’s love and healing life to everyone who will receive Him. There are no social or other barriers or exclusions – everyone may turn to Him and know Him, if they will.

Draw closer to Him in prayer, reflection and simple conversation this Lent. He will draw closer to you.


Lord Jesus forgive me for holding on to my independence, my fears and my sins. Please help me to turn more fully into Your light and presence and to entrust myself to Your wonderful and sacrificial love. Amen.