Last Friday my mother had major surgery. My 82-year-old mother was in surgery for 6-1/2 hours. She is a champion. But now she is weak and exhausted and in pain, and she needs me. Since last Thursday night, she has needed me to be present and caring and strong and encouraging and patient. Meanwhile, my newly-engaged son and his fiancé need me to be engaged in making important decisions. They need my input, my wisdom. To care about dresses and dates and venues. The night before my mother’s surgery, Ben’s car overheated and he needed rescuing from the Kroger parking lot. Sunday morning Dennis wanted me to be at his side to lead worship. He needed me to sing “Fairest Lord Jesus” and to lead the prayer time in the service. A friend on the other side of the world needs me to pray, needs counsel, needs someone to listen. An editor who’d given me a writing assignment needed me to deliver my 1,000 words. Wednesday morning is coming, and I need to be ready to teach this week’s Bible story. My inbox is full of people who need a reply, an action, an investment of my time and energies. Even driving to the hospital every day, I can’t even stop at a red light without seeing that homeless guy selling the Contributor, who knocks on my window and asks for $2. My reaction to all of the above is, “There is not enough of me to go around. I’ve got nothing to give you.” And that’s true. There is not enough of ME to go around. But “me” is not what any of these people really need. I was thinking about this when I was learning this week’s story for Wednesday Bible study. Peter and John are walking to the temple to pray. This is part of their daily routine, just like driving to the hospital is part of mine right now. A crippled man is begging by the gate to the Temple. He asks them for money.
“Look at me,” Peter answered. “I don’t have any money. But what I do have,
I give you.” -Acts 3:4-6
What happens next is astounding. Peter reaches down and takes the man’s hand and says, “In the name of Jesus, get up and walk,” and the man does! He follows Peter and John into the temple, where he begins leaping and around and praising God for what just happened. Of course, a crowd gathers around, and Peter takes advantage of it to say, “Why are you staring at us, like we did this ourselves?”
“It is by faith in the power of Jesus that this man stands before you today
whole and healthy.” – Acts 3:16
It’s interesting that Peter doesn’t say, “This man’s faith in Jesus is what healed him.” This man didn’t even know to ask to be healed. He didn’t even know to put his faith in Jesus. Peter did. Peter had seen Jesus do exactly this same thing, and Jesus had said, “When you get my Spirit, you will have power to do even greater things.” And then the Spirit had come and wow! what power. It was Peter’s faith in Jesus that made this man whole. It was because Peter looked at the man and knew that what he needed was not money; it was health and restoration to community, and only Jesus could give him that. And Jesus now lived in Peter. The Source was in him.
When our kids are tugging on our sleeves, when our husbands are hungry and tired, when our parents are feeble, when our friends are scared, when the homeless guy knocks on the window, when we step to the platform and hold the mic, what people need is Jesus. The power of Jesus. They need wisdom, hope, encouragement, strength, peace, meaning, significance, forgiveness, instruction, companionship – and the source of this is Jesus. Who lives in us. We have what they need, and what I know from this week is that no matter how tired or overwhelmed or unrested or underprepared we may feel, what Jesus said is true:
“The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of
endless life.” – John 4:14
In Jesus’ day, there were wells and then there were wells. There were man-made cisterns, deep holes dug in the desert to collect and hold water. These would dry up when the rains stopped. An artesian well was a spring-fed well, fed by an underground fresh water source that sprung up between the rocks. Know what caused an artesian spring? Pressure. When the ground shifted, the pressure and weight of the rocks would cause the underground source of water to spring forth. Artesian wells were prized in the desert. The people called them “living water.” There is not enough of you to go around, but there is an endless supply of that. Is it in you?
Karla Worley is a Dove Award-winning songwriter and creator of musicals, anthems and curriculums for adult, youth and children’s choirs. She is the author of four books, including Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith and Growing Weary Doing Good: Hope for Exhausted Christians, and blogs about life at Watching for Fire. She is a Bible teacher, conference leader and keynote speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, and a lay leader in the Worship, Missions and Discipleship ministries at Brentwood Baptist Church, serving alongside her husband Dennis. She is passionate about teaching people to tell Bible stories. Karla and Dennis have three sons and three grandchildren.