Hey there! I’m back after a week of packing and organizing and camping and laughing until I cried and running through rainstorms and looking at stars and singing constantly and having randomly deep conversations. In other words, I’m very nearly packed up and ready to move to university in the US and I also went to a youth camp for two amazing days. It’s been a grand old week, and I’m slightly in shock that I’m less than 36 hours away from leaving home and travelling 5000 miles across the world to head to university. It’s excitingly terrifying and my emotions are kind of a mess right now – but through it all God is good and in the end all will be well. It’s good to know I have a good God that I can trust. 🙂
During the two evenings that I was at camp, we were looking at the book of John – one of my favourite books in the New Testament. My Dad preached on John 4 one evening, and it reminded me of a poem that I had written a while back on that very chapter! The story told in John 4 is one of great hope and I wanted to try and encompass that in a poem. So I thought I would share with you that poem based on the incidents in John 4. I hope you enjoy…
I hide in the shadows when I can, because my shame shines too bright
For all the world to see – I’m that woman,
Wearing her sins written across her face like a silent scream of –
Of what? Do they think I shout it out with pride?
Or do they see through the façade to the utter desolation of my soul…
I’m not sure which one I prefer –
At least with the pride I can walk with my head high and eyes raised above their stares.
With desolation I hide amongst the shadows, unwilling for the ravages of many years to be seen.
I hide until the thirst grows too great and I am forced to make a move.
I have always been thirsty – the dust of a thousand suns burning in my throat.
The desire for something – something more than monotony and drudgery,
The longing in my heart an ache too great to be slaked by a moment’s pleasure.
The first man was a good talker – I’ll give him that.
His words quenched my soul for a dreary moment; he possessed my soul and I was no more.
The second man made me think that perhaps there could be second chances,
Until the shadow of darkness grew greater until it swallowed him in a breath of ash
The third man was a desperate bid for acceptance – that thirst for something more
Made me careless and my body was a good bargain for a little love.
The fourth was much like the third, and the fifth much like the fourth
The days dragged and still that longing,
And the sixth man was a blatant shaking of the fist – why should I care?
My soul was desolate with shame – what was a little more piled on top?
What’s a little more piled on top? So I ask as I sally out into the sun
Bearing a lifetime of shame alongside my water pitcher.
The thirst grows too great and if I cannot hide in shadows – well then,
I must go alone to the well.
Sometimes the light can hide you better than the darkness,
Your solitary walk of shame is interrupted.
Sitting in the heat of noon surrounded by a haze of dust and flies.
I’m used to men – I’ve had plenty of them use me.
He asks me for a drink
As I draw it I wonder what he really wants…
But thirst – I understand thirst.
It has haunted me with mocking laughter as I slip among the shadows
Trying desperately to slake all desire as best I can.
I’ve done the best I can and yet
I still shake with longing as the ache in my throat is mirrored in the
Ache in my soul.
Is it possible to ever find enough water to satisfy the thirst of a woman
Empty words, idle questions – still he sits and talks.
I caught his eye once and quickly looked away, feeling as if my blackened soul
Was being pierced in some strange way by his gaze.
I must get away before he sees my shame – but
Something holds me there.
Standing before him arrayed in my sins –
Desperate – seeking something to quench my aching thirst…
He looks at me with those eyes and tells me of a living water.
I don’t understand him and yet…
He looks at me again with those eyes and with a sentence unmasks me for all the world to see,
My shame sitting in a darkened heap festering under that noonday sun.
I quiver with grief and a longing for something more than everything I have ever known.
I have never met a man like this with eyes like these and words like the ones he speaks
Just a woman with a lifetime of shame and grief and a desire for something more.
My litany of sins cannot be hidden in dim of shadow or the burning of the sun.
I know that the Messiah is coming…
This man with the living water looks at me with such gentleness,
And proclaims in a low voice as if he is uttering the greatest and yet most obvious secret –
I am he…
I am left blinking in the brightness of the sun,
This man saw through me in a second.
He told me all I ever did…
And the thirst that has ached inside my soul for as long as I can remember
Slowly but surely begins to recede as a flood of hope washes over my
Parched and aching soul, refreshing my wounded, weary heart.
This man told me all I ever did…
And yet, he looks at me with…
Shame is washed away as living water takes its place,
Tears slipping down my dusty cheeks as streaks of light pierce the shadow of shame.
This man told me all I ever did…
Satisfaction usurps desperate desire in a glorious stream of hope,
And I am thirsty no more.
Have you ever been on a youth camp? What do you think of the story told in John 4? Do you have a favourite passage in John? Tell me in the comments! 🙂