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Matthew quotes some rather sobering words of Jesus in his gospel. Matthew 15:18 states, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”

Those words hit hard for me because my mouth is often my biggest enemy. I think it safe to say that most of the time I’m in trouble it’s not because of my actions, it’s because of my mouth. Jesus’ brother, James offers no help. He points out the dichotomy of both fresh water and bitter water coming from the same well.

Cleaning up our language is treating symptoms, not causes. The root of a foul mouth is a dirty heart. There. I said it. I don’t like it, but from my knowledge of scripture I believe it to be true.

We use God’s name in vain because we fail to see him as he is. We ridicule others because we fail to see them as creations of God. Yep. Even the guy who cut you off. Even the sports official who is totally oblivious to the rules of the game. Even the server at the restaurant that is more interested in their phone than your empty drink glass. We make off-color jokes because our brand of holiness is governed by culture, not the plum line of a Holy God.

The worst part about words unwisely spoken is that you can’t reverse the results. You can be forgiven, but poorly chosen words are like a cancer to the soul. They can lie dormant for years but are always lurking in the memory banks of time.

Holy God, forgive us for the wounds unwise words have caused. Cleanse our hearts so that the words we speak build up where lives have been torn down. Heal the wounds we bear at the tongues of others. Amen


He HAD to go through Samaria (John 4:4). Well, geographically he didn’t HAVE to go through Samaria. In fact, the more politically correct route for any self-respecting Jew would be to go on the east side of the Jordan River. It was a longer route but avoided Samaria all together. If you did choose to go through Samaria you certainly wouldn’t stop for lunch, or talk to a woman.

But Jesus did.

He had to go through Samaria because someone was ready to hear his message. That someone was a woman that had gone through five divorces. Five. One is devastating enough. Two raises eyebrows. Five? There are words for women like this but none of them are appropriate for this space.

Take a moment to put yourself in the woman’s place. Hopefully you will have a hard time with this, but imagine how rejected you would feel. Remember the first time you broke up? The first time you were dumped for better pasture? Multiply by five! And now, the guy she was ‘with’ didn’t even respect her enough to marry her.

That’s why she went to the well during the hottest part of the day. She no doubt suffered in silence and this was her coping mechanism.

But Jesus went out of his way to meet her in her comfort zone, on her terms to share the one thing she needed above all else…acceptance and true life.

He does the same today. You don’t need to suffer in silence. He wants to hear from you. He wants us to see those who may be suffering and offer the fresh water of his grace. Silent sufferers never escape the notice of Jesus.


Have you ever been really thirsty, so thirsty in fact, that you began to feel the effects of dehydration. Dehydration can be harmful to the body. The human body can survive for up to 21 days without meaningful food, but only a couple weeks without water. Water is essential for survival.

Not just any water will do of course. Water can look crystal clear yet contain harmful bacteria or chemicals that can make one sick, or even lead to death. People learning survival skills know the importance of testing water in a variety of ways to make sure, as much as possible, that the water is safe for human consumption.

It’s no surprise to me that Jesus refers to himself as ‘living water’. In John 7:38, he says “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Living water. When I think of living water I think of a rushing stream cascading over a waterfall. Crystal clear. Beautiful, yet powerful. A never ending sign of strength yet in some strange way, serenity.

In the physical sense, water is beneficial to the body in many ways. It helps to cleanse your organs. It refreshes you. It gives you strength. It satisfies.

In the spiritual sense, a personal relationship with Jesus does the same thing to our souls. In the midst of the wilderness, a refreshing drink of water helps us to carry on. When our souls are in the wilderness, Jesus becomes that source of refreshment that helps us carry on. This living water becomes a source of strength when we don’t think we can carry on.

Jesus is the source of purity. There are other religions. There are other philosophies. There are other ways of thinking. But only Jesus offers the guaranteed love and forgiveness of sin that is available through his sacrifice.

Water refreshes the body, but Jesus refreshes the soul when you don’t feel you can go on.

It’s no wonder the psalmist writes, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2)

Is your soul thirsty? Do you long for some relief from the wilderness you are in? We were created in God’s image and the only way to fill the void in our souls is with the living water of his Son, Jesus.


It seems like an unfortunate reality, at least from my perspective, but people whose main goal in life is to serve people tend to be scrutinized more deeply and misunderstood more often than others. Those on the front lines are more easy to shoot at!

This seems to be especially true for those in ministry and that can be discouraging, debilitating and destructive. I read an article recently documenting the increasing number of pastors who for mental health and physical health reasons have left the ministry.

A personal friend and fellow minister recently left the ministry for this very reason. He’d had a thriving ministry for years until a few people with thick pocket books and strong opinions began to grumble. As he said to me, “It really only takes a few crabby people to destroy a ministry.” He finally left…heartbroken.

While we may not be able to change the target on our chests as servants to the masses (and I refer to those in and out of ministry), we must remind ourselves that even when our actions are misunderstood by the masses, God knows our heart. I remind myself of this truth every once in awhile.

Father, help my motives be pure and my way straight in spite of those who may seek to do me harm through misrepresentation.


Eeyore, the always negative donkey in the children’s story, “Winnie the Pooh” has an incredible knack for seeing the negative in everything. I remember chuckling at some of his statements while reading to my children. In his world there was nothing good. There was no hope. Expectations always fell short.

We can chuckle at this fictional character’s outlook on life, but reality is, it’s easy for us to do the same. It’s easy to live trapped by our past. I’m grateful for a relatively boring childhood, but many are still grappling with abusive homes, dysfunctional families and sometimes, as a result, mental illness or addictions. It’s been said ‘our past can kill us or make us stronger’, and while there is some truth to that, its easier said than lived.

It’s also easy for us as believers to lose hope when we look around us at the direction society seems destined for. Often our belief in Jesus Christ is construed by society as intolerant, out of touch and irrelevant.

Peter wrote his book to Christ followers in a society that, believe it or not, was more brutal to the things of God that the one we live in. Yet he wrote of great expectations. Not because of his past, but because of his future. Not because of who he was, but because of who Jesus is.

Don’t base your hopes, aspirations and expectations on who you are or what you can do. Don’t allow the actions and accusations of others deter you from expecting great and mighty things in your life. Success by God’s standards comes from a live lived rich in integrity and holiness. Success by societies standards is like flags in the wind, being tossed by every new idea. Jesus gives you stability in an unstable world and hope among the hopeless.

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