Sunday, July 7, 2013

Life Giving Water!!!

Most people who have grown up in the church setting are familiar with the story about Jesus and the woman at the well….In John 4 …. The story tells how one day while Jesus was ministering…he grew tired and sat down next to a well while his disciples went off to find food.  While Jesus was resting a Samaritan lady came up and Jesus asked her to give him a drink. The Samaritan woman was shocked that Jesus would even speak to her since she was a Gentile…..and it is here that Jesus offered her the water that gives “everlasting life”.  Upon hearing about the water that gives everlasting life… the woman replied, “Sir give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”  Jesus further revealed himself to her…. The woman left the jar of water and ran back to the town to tell the people about “The man who knew everything about everything I ever did.”


Now I share this scripture because of the way the lady responded… upon hearing about Jesus and everlasting life she basically said, “I want some of that!!!! Can I have some?”  Today a young man named Logan approached Keith towards the end of our time on North First Street.  He asked, “Can I get some food?”  The young man was 21 years old and was holding a sign that said, “Seattle” on it.  He had been standing down at the Arco station and was hoping that he would find someone to give him a ride to Ellensburg or to his true destination which was Seattle.  Keith told him to help himself and grab a couple plates of food then Keith asked him if he would like a bike.  Logan said, “No man, you don’t have to do that…really.”  Keith told him he wasn’t kidding and he could have a bike if he would like.  (The person we thought the bike was for didn’t show up…I guess God really had it picked out for Logan.)  “Why are you doing this?” Logan asked.  Keith explained that he was just doing what Jesus would do.  He went onto explain to Logan about Jesus and how He died for all sins and how He gave His very life…. A bike doesn’t even compare to a life!  Keith continued, “You have tried everything else in your life and it didn’t work… how about trying Jesus?”  “Am I too late?” Logan asked…….. Am I too late…….WOW~  It about broke our hearts to hear this…. “Am I too late?”  “No, “ replied Keith….Logan said, “I want Jesus!”


Keith explained to Logan how his life will never be the same…just like the woman at the well.  He shared that wherever Logan goes, Jesus will be with him and that it isn’t about “church”….. it is about Jesus.  “Wherever you go Logan, Jesus will be with you.  People will help you from here to Seattle and you will wonder why…. It is Jesus!”  “I never thought anything like this would ever happen to me… “ Logan said.  He said, “I don’t feel worthy.”  They talked further and then Logan said, “The love that you have given me is more than my dad or family has ever given me.”  “That is Jesus!” Keith replied.  Keith called all of the remaining people over… about 15 in all- volunteers as well as homeless who were standing by witnessing it all.  We laid hands on Logan and prayed over him….. Just as the woman at the well who would never thirst again…. Logan will never thirst again…. He has Jesus!!!  When you encounter Jesus…. You will never be the same.  


Keith gave Logan his business card and told him to call him whenever he needed. 
“You mean you want me to call you if I get in trouble?” Logan asked….”yes”….”You want me to call you when I get safely to Seattle?”…. “Yes, Just call me.”….”Like you mean I can call you any time?”  “Yes… call me any time,”  Keith replied with a big smile and hug.   I don’t know if we will ever hear from Logan again or see him, but it was amazing watching this young man being filled with hope and love to a degree that he had never experienced before.  Once you encounter Jesus…. You are never the same…..just ask the lady at the well!   :0)


The last year and a half has taught me to hear the Lord so much better than I ever had in the past.  I  know that God has always been speaking to me… as He does with all of us….but I don’t think my brain was set on the right frequency to hear Him.  Last Sunday a lady came up to me at the very end when we were packing up the trailer.  She asked for help and wanted to go to the YWCA for battered women.  I listened to her story for about 20 minutes but couldn’t get a clear picture because she was a little bit “all over the place”.  She seemed to have some mental illness, but there were also so major parts of her story that made me worried for her.  I told her that we would wait for her while she grabbed her things inside the mission and we would take her to the YWCA.  Well….. we waited….and waited….and waited and she did not come back so we thought she could have been “a little off” and maybe forgot about us or got distracted, so we left.  The next night when Keith got home from work we both agreed that we should bring the street people some water because it was such a hot day.  Now we had never gone out during the week before…. But we both felt the prompting to go this night.  We loaded up the coolers filled with water bottles and headed down to North First.  A few of our regulars were lingering here and there and were very appreciative of the cool water bottles and apples.  We headed down a side street on our way towards the river when we looked over and saw the lady from the day before!!


There she was…. Standing on the grass with one of her friends.  I jumped out of the car and she ran over to me.  “Do you still want to go to the Y?” I asked.  She definitely did.  I was so thankful for a 2nd chance with her.  I hadn’t been able to get her out of my mind from the day before and I was so excited that the Lord gave us another chance to bless her.  She grabbed her sleeping bag and garbage sacks filled with her belongings, said good=bye to her friend, and loaded up.  “I will be safe tonight!” she shouted back to her friend with a big smile.  Keith drove through the drive-thru of a hamburger place and got her a hot meal to fill her up.  She cried in between bites….”Why are you doing this???”  “Because that is what Jesus did for us….   He came for all of us!!”  We had an awesome talk about the Lord and about her life.  When we got to the YWCA I ran up to the door and rang the bell.  The lady who answered shared that they could only take women who were being abused by their “intimate partner”.  Being a “newbie” at these things, I ran back to the car to get more details from my new friend about her situation.  “Are you running from your husband or boyfriend?”  She started to share her story….her husband would beat her up if she did not perform “what he requested”….worse yet… he would pass her around to his friends and they would beat her if she would not perform “what they requested”.  Yes… I think that she qualified for temporary shelter at the Y.  “You are precious…. God made you and you are precious to Him!” I said as we hurried inside with her few bags.  Soon after we hugged and said our good-byes.  “I love you!” she whispered as we squeezed each other one last time.  “You are going to be o.k. sweetie!  God has got you covered!  And I love you too!”  I ran out of the building and jumped in the car with Keith knowing that all three of us had experienced Jesus in a very big way.


Today was a little different for me than most of our North First St days.  Close to the beginning of the day before we had gotten started, one of the men who shares a tent with one of the women I have befriended asked if he could talk to me in private.  Most of my afternoon was sitting on the pavement up against the concrete building talking to Tom.  We have known Tom for over a year and a half.  He lives down by the river and has a very sweet personality….as well as an alcohol and meth addiction.  Of all the things that Tom discussed, the one thing that stood out so much is when he said, “I just needed to talk to you guys (Keith and I) because I know that I can trust you.  I can’t talk to these guys out here about my personal life.”  It hit home because most of the people we serve are dealing with addictions and/or mental illness….there are not a lot of people to befriend to discuss serious/personal topics.  We really aren’t just handing out food and clothes….so much more happens each week.  It is the relationships…..the encouragement… the hope…..the Jesus that nobody can see, but everybody can feel.  HE is the SOMETHING DIFFERENT that both the volunteers and the North First Street friends feel.


I feel so blessed that each week we have people come down to volunteer…. People who I have never met before, but who have heard about North First Street.  Whether our volunteers are brand new or our awesome regulars…. We Praise God that there is always enough… always enough food, volunteers, clothes, love, hope, and ALWAYS ALWAYS enough JESUS!!!! Thank You Lord!!! I love You forever!!! :0)


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