Each week, I spend time with the women of Project Canaan. I love the way they laugh at my attempts to speak SiSwati and their bold, beautiful voices when they sing. I love they are willing to share their story with me. Hard stories. They are…Strong. Brave. Resilient. I love that they have invited me into their life. We are building friendships and learning about “the unforced rhythms of His grace” (Matt. 11:28-30 MSG). Together.
They are thirsty.
A few weeks ago, I saw eight of these women come to the “well” and receive “living water”. They demonstrated publicly, before friends and family, they will follow Jesus. They were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, buried with Him in death by submersion into the water and resurrected to a new life in Christ Jesus.
The photos are amazing. They speak a thousand words. Words that I have been unable to convey until now. JESUS IS AWESOME. The pictures do not do justice to the joy I experience each week as they ask questions, dig deeper into their brokenness and ask Jesus to heal their hearts, redeem their past, and trust Him with their future. IT. IS. BEAUTIFUL.
It reminds me of the intimate encounter Jesus had with the woman at the well in the Book of John, Chapter 4. He broke a few rules. I love that about Him. Jesus strategically placed Himself at Jacob’s well in Sychar, at noon. Without His disciples (He sent them away to get lunch), He strikes up a conversation with a Samaritan (broken rule #1-Jews did not associate with Samaritans), AND she was a woman (broken rule #2). He asks her for something very simple, a drink of water from the well. She snaps back with a sassy remark about Him being a Jew and her a Samaritan woman. I believe she was thinking, “This man wants more than a drink of water.” She wasn’t just any woman. She was a girl that had made choices that brought her shame, particularly in this culture and JESUS WAS TALKING TO HER (broken rule #3)!!! She had been married five times, and was currently living with a man that was not her husband. She was thirsty. The life she had been living was not satisfying that thirst. I assume she did not receive kindness from a strange man without wanting something in return. But, Jesus gives her this response to her quick-witted reply, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you, living water.” John 4:10 She continues to give him a lesson on water retrieving utensils and religion. Their exchange of words makes an awkward turn as Jesus begins to “read her mail” and tell her “all the things” she had EVER done. She says He is a prophet. He reveals to her, He is the Messiah. I also believe He had a huge smile on his face and a sporadic giggle under His breath knowing her entire life was about to change. Jesus was wiping the slate clean, a new start, without shame and full of purpose. What really amazes me is He stopped for one woman. He stopped for her. He stopped for me. And He will stop for you.
I love this exchange because it’s personal. I was thirsty. Jesus has changed my life, by offering me better water, better love and better life. I’ve been the broken woman at the well, drinking dirty water in shame, living a life that appeared to be unredeemable and making an exchange with the One who stops and offers REAL love. He redeemed me. He restored me. He has given me purpose. The coolest thing is… I’m watching Jesus do the very same restoration in the women at Project Canaan in Swaziland. I LOVE this quote by Bianca Olthoff, "Mercy gave the Samaritan woman a second chance. Grace made her a preacher."
Thank you. Thank you for going with us, by supporting us through prayer and donations.
When we go. You Go. When we love. You love. When we feed. You feed. When we share Jesus. You share Jesus. When we baptize, you baptize. WE are the body of Christ, working. Together.
We are still about 8 monthly sponsors short of being fully funded for this year. If God has called you to be a part of our ministry in Swaziland you may donate at http://bit.ly/WeGoYouGo.
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