Hundreds of years ago, Hagar gave God a name – “The God Who Sees Me.” (Genesis 16:13)
In her most difficult place, God made it clear that Hagar was noticed and cared for personally.
The Psalm that we have continued to make reference to through our study so far–Psalm 139–makes it clear that we, too, are precious in God’s sight. He knows us. He cares.
This week, we took a deeper look at the story about Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at a well in Samaria from John 4. I hope that you are able to take time to watch our group session video below where I share some thoughts about this. (So sorry that the video is so long this week, too. I want to keep them between 5 and 10 minutes in length–hopefully, closer to 5 minutes, but this week, I just got so excited about John 4.)
Some questions that I asked in the video:
- Why do *you* think that Jesus “had” to go through Samaria?
- Based on John 4, make a list of character traits of the woman Jesus meets. What is she like? What might be the things she struggles with? Why was she at the well at mid-day?
- How does it affect you to realize that Jesus “had to go through Samaria” to meet this woman in the middle of the day in the middle of nowhere? What does that say to you about God?
- What is the “Divine AND” that Heidi spoke of in the video?
- What “Divine AND” are do you want to trust God for in your life?
- Can you relate at all to the shame that this woman was experiencing–the shame that kept her from going to the well during the typical times of the day and the shame that might have caused her to want to never have to come to the well ever again?
- After her encounter with Jesus, what did the woman do? Like the woman, is there any chance that God may (one day) call you to minister to others after he brings you out?
- Do you think God has turned his back on you and stopped listening or caring? What does Scripture say about this?
- Do you try to perform to win God’s heart? Or do you struggle with thinking God will never accept you? The truth is, you can’t do anything to win His heart. You can’t woo Him. Why? Because you already have His heart! You are His bride! He has chosen you. He wooed you! You love Him only because He first loved you!
The woman thought she wanted water. The conversation with Jesus proved she wanted–and needed–something deeper.
- You may think you want to be thin, but is it possible that you want–and need–something deeper as well?
- What do you suppose it is?
God used the woman’s need for physical water to lead her to an encounter with him to offer what she really needed.
- Is it possible that God is using your physical challenges with food and your body to lead you to an encounter with him to offer you what you really need?
God knows all about you.
He knows your TRUE need, like the woman.
He chooses NOW for an encounter with you.
The story of the Samaritan woman, focuses our attention on heart hunger, certainly. The authors give us an opportunity to process all three hunger types: heart hunger, head hunger, and stomach hunger. What has it been like for you to experience each? On page 62, the authors have a chart for us to record experiences we have with each kind of hunger. Take some time to fill this chart out.
One of the things you may want to consider is the fact that while stomach hunger may seem to be the most straight forward, we nevertheless often experience emotion in response to it. Some of us, when our stomachs are empty, find fear rises up, we get agitated, or panicky. It can be really helpful to sit in this physical hunger for a few minutes and ask the Lord to show you what is going on. Take time to journal about it and to tell yourself the truth (renew your mind) about how you are *safe* being hungry and that God is meeting you in that place.
I would love to hear from you any of your thoughts that you have in response to the questions here or whatever God lays on your heart to share.
Is anyone else having trouble viewing this video today? My computer won’t let me watch it..says it is private? Hasn’t happened before–just wondering if anyone else is having issues??
I will fix that…oops!
Heidi, I love your comment in the video about how our God is a God of “and”. It brought me much comfort to know that I can be giving into head or heart hunger and still love God with all of my heart. I often think I have this down then a binge hits and I am consumed by guilt. Thank goodness we have a forgiving and loving God!
It is so amazing how God uses the most unlikely outcasts to bring spiritual truths to people and even countries! I am learning about contemplative prayer right now and it is helping me even more in this journey. I really don’t think it is about the eating for me- it is about letting God be in control and really listening for his quiet whisper.
Hi, Sue. I learned that at the retreat I went to last weekend. I, too, appreciate it so much. I tend to be an either/or sort of person. I would love to hear more about your contemplative prayer journey sometime. If you ever want to email me to talk about it, feel free heidi bylsma at gmail dot com (no spaces). I would love to hear.
Our pastor started the group as he said it was important to know what God wants for our church not what he or anyone else wants and that we have to learn to listen to God. We meet every Tuesday and sometimes he will read some verses then pray for God to speak and sometime we will pray and discuss. He asked us to set a timer for 5 minutes each day to be sitting and quietly listening for God’s voice. At first i thought I would never make it through 5 minutes and now am up to 15. I will read scripture I wrote down that was good to pray over and then listen for God to speak. I visualize being on the beach with Jesus during my quiet time with God. I used the woman at the well scripture a couple of different times as I felt God calling me to explore it more deeply. I also read a wonderful book on contemplative prayer called “The Armchair Mystic: Easing into Contemplative Prayer” by Mark E. Thibodeaux, a Jesuit priest that has helped me a lot. Sometimes I even use songs such as Shelia Walsh’s “In Christ Alone”, “Let Go” or “Mighty to Save.” It is taking me deeper into my relationship with Christ.
“The God who sees me” is what really spoke to me. I often feel or think I am invisible to others and that no one really wants to hear what I have to say, and to me it seems like I am saying the same things over and over again, and just maybe I am stuck in a place and time that others just cant relate to. Jesus Loved the woman at the well so much that He went thru Samaria! He went out of His way to set her free from the shame she was carrying…I need prayer because I too am an either or person. One failure and I want to call it quits! Thru this study I have been reminded a lot about my past and childhood experiences that have shaped me/my thinking Oh how I need His healing touch. Ladies be encouraged, thank you Heidi. Love Aretha
Knowing that God’s love is unconditional towards me is so freeing! I don’t have to be THIN or have a perfect day for Him to accept me…I feel his love for me. God is so good. : ) God is showing me that His grace is sufficient for me and His strength is made perfect in my weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8 Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me;
9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [a]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [b]pitch a tent over and dwell)
10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[c]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [d]in divine strength).
May God’s word bless us all and give us His strength and renew our minds in Christ Jesus. Amen. 🙂
I just finished going through this week’s material. Thank you Heidi for all your hard work in encouraging us to press forward. I thank everyone for your insightful comments. The Lord is healing me through all of you. I am awed at the way Jesus pursues us and gently calls us to open our hearts to him so he can heal us. My challenge this week is to allow God into all the dark spaces of my heart and mind and believe that he can heal me. I believe my deepest hunger is that I want to be clean before God and knowing I am not pushes me away from him. This week I will trust that he wants to heal me completely and I will rejoice in the fact that he knows me completely and that he knows what I need to be clean and free. Thanks to all.
Last night during my contemplative prayer time, I felt God calling me to pray over the song “In Christ Alone” from Shelia Walsh’s “Let Go” album. These words from the last verse really spoke to me:
“No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the pow’r of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No pow’r of heall, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from his hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.”
How freeing and awesome to know that no matter how may times I screw up on this eating thing or anything else in my life, nothing can pluck me from his hand!
Thank you Ladies!
Everything is so well said and so encouraging! He has come to each one of us personally and intimately and knows exactly what our hearts hunger for and what we are unable or afraid to give him. This week I learned one of the root causes of my eating is anxiety over whether or not I am accepted by man or approved of by man. We moved every two years as I grew up and I had nightmares about that first day of school…who would like, me? What would my best friends name be this time? So I became super sweet, pleasing for the teachers and anyone else who paid me any attention and terrified of bothering anyone. We were not a military family, I just think my parents did not want anyone to get too close to us and discover the abuses going on in our house. I have worked on the abuse issues so much and have had such wonderful healing from the Lord, that I always dismissed this painful truth about needing to be accepted until this weeks study and the woman at the well. I feel as if Jesus is setting me free from this stronghold and when someone is grumpy or stressed I hear him talking to me……” Hey Michelley, I am here with you and do not condemn you, I have loved you with an everlasting love, I know you completely, you are accepted in the beloved…..that one makes my heart melt! I AM ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED!!!! I am welcomed into my savior’s loving arms……oh, what joy and peace I feel……Onward into more of His wonderful healing!
Is it possible that God is using your physical challenges with food and your body to lead you to an encounter with him to offer you what you really need?
He is using these issues to draw me closer to Him. He wants a deep and constant fellowship with me, and He knew , as long as the food was in my ears, I wouldn’t be able to hear Him call. Being able to LIVE the TW principles, has only happened since I had an encounter with His healing in February,. I have been trying to make things work since 2002!!!But there were too many broken parts back then,. It took Him all this time to heal enough of them that I could actually apply these principles to my life,. I am sooooo thankful,.
Finally got a chance to listen to the video–what encouragement and insights! Thanks for all the other comments from the heart from all of you. It is encouraging to see how the Lord is working in each one’s hearts at their point of need. I thank God that He is using my struggle with food to bring me into more intimate fellowship with Him. I also thank Him that despite the number of times I turn to food, I am forgiven and His love is constant and deep and persistent. Praying that we all drink from His well today… and not from the lie of the enemy…no weapon formed against us shall prosper.
I love the community that God has established here, Marie. Yes, it is SO encouraging! God is so personally involved with each of us. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Marie. You encourage me. 🙂