One area I am working on is listening to others’ problems, even if they seem much lesser than mine concerning health, finances, or other issues, and not spilling my tea all over them or having a contest on who is suffering greater.
I’m working on a blog ( Old Rags, Josephs Bones, Jacobs Well, and a Samaritan woman) That compares the woman at the well to Joseph, Jeremiah, and many women at wells. Yes, even Moses sat down at a well after fleeing Egypt. While working on the blog last week, I started noticing the art of listening and the way we respond to others. Not only that, but how easily it is to read over things too quickly and miss other’s words, thoughts, and what they want us to know.
While talking or listening, we have multiple thoughts, memories, opinions, and little snippets of wisdom we’ve learned along the way- what we know. What we believe to be truth. What we argue over or let go of—our religion.
We can detect with our antlers or feelers pretty quickly if someone is uncomfortable around us, repulsed by us, lacks respect, or is infatuated, bored, or suspicious of us. We can also detect sarcasm.
We usually learn nothing new when we speak louder than others to get our points across. We often cause people to stand stronger against what we believe or what we want them to see or even our most vulnerable places that lack oil when we are full of ourselves.
We often lack humility. We can be unreachable–un-Teachable.
Remember, when iron sharpens iron, sparks can fly.
Sadly, years ago, while I was in the presence of a great scholar at a public function, I witnessed a woman with great ignorance try to teach the scholar things that the ignorant person thought she knew. Instead of listening and sitting at the feet of the teacher, she rose above with great pompousness and left no wiser than before she arrived. Who hasn’t been here?
We never know who is sitting by us. Or beside us. Or why they came to be in our presence— cross our path. We often don’t know where their feet have traveled or the experiences they have encountered—the wisdom they hold in their bread baskets. We do not know what a day in their life is like behind closed doors. Trust me, the smiling faces on social media are often shattered when the screen is off, when the screen door slams, and the lights fade to black. Lonely. Broken. Hungry. Sick. Addicted. Scared. Crying ourselves to sleep at night over the pain.
How fast and swiftly we run through our days and often don’t listen or obey the Holy One.
How do we begin to notice every person around us, including those we don’t want in our space? Or the ones we no longer see as shiny.
Like a Samaritan with a cracked water pot, we often see them as polluted—like the disciples; we travel to town to purchase food instead of waiting with Yeshua (the Bread of Life) to offer living water to a thirsty soul.
If we can’t hear our spouses, our children, and our friends and truly listen to them, how will we hear Him?
What if every time we spoke to someone, we were speaking for Him, as in loving our neighbors?
And—Yes, love has boundaries and other defining traits, but often we justify our love and our words or our lack of words, leaving behind dry, empty people who could have used a drop of His cool water on a hot day. Or a cup of warm tea on a bitterly cold day.
Trained tongues can say “I’m sorry” and mean it. Trained tongues can say, “I was wrong–I misjudged–I took for granted, or tried to expose black teeth when my own needed a filling and a crown. Train tongues can admit we were stubborn or uncompassionate. We weighed our suffering against theirs and offered them no water in a time of drought.
Instead of offering superficial words that hold no weight and acting like we are better than a woman at a well, May we become like the One who purposely traveled to a well and ministered to a woman who had been looked upon her whole life as unfruitful, unworthy, of minor importance. The Messiah gives her Living Water and it excites her enough she wants to tell her entire town. She leaves her water pot behind. She now has living water to offer and is refreshed that the Messiah knew her and was aware of her pain. The word well and fountain of the eye are similar. May our eyes be filled with His Light and our words be filled with His Water. Dip your ladle in and bring forth water for a parched soul today–or possibly for yourself so you can give it to others.