About three hours outside of Nairobi, Kenya is the town of Mwingi (pronounced Wing-ee). Snuggled in the heart of Mwingi is the farm of Joyfred Muthengi. Stepping through the city gate onto the farm was like Dorothy stepping out of dust bowl Kansas into the vivid and vibrant land of Oz. Oh the difference a well makes.
Several years ago this vibrance and beauty seemed merely a far fetched dream for Joyfred. He and his family attempted to manually dig a well to help irrigate their family farm. The deeper and deeper they went the more hopeless their efforts seemed as they never struck water. Hope seemed lost, until God.
In 2015, missionaries Mike and Tammy McRae, overseers and operators of Water For Nations arrived with their drilling rig to begin their first well on Joyfred’s farm. Mike was able to determine where exactly they would need to drill for the water to in fact spring forth.
Within time, water did in fact spring up, the well was capped and Joyfred began installing his irrigation system. Today his farm serves as an oasis to his family and his community. It is abundantly lush with all kinds of fruits, vegetables, greenery and botanical jewels. Beyond that, it is a place of life. It provides clean drinking water for the surrounding community to consume. The well provides jobs and educational opportunities. Joyfred being the strong disciple of Christ that he is uses it as an evangelistic opportunity as well. During my visit, he shared that he hoped to open his land to churches to come and baptize their members in this clean water. The well brought life abundant to Mwingi. It has taught me quite the lesson as well.
In John 4, we read the story of another well located outside the city of Samaria. Jesus sits down at the well while his disciples journey into the city to find some food. As he sat on the wall of the well, perhaps he took his sandals off for a bit, massaged his sore feet, wiped the sweat from his brow and beard, pushed his hair back from his face, and licked his chapped lips. I imagine he briefly closed his eyes, tilted his head back, allowed the warm breeze to sweep across his face, then hearing approaching footsteps opened his eyes. As his eyes adjusted to the brightness of the sun, he saw a woman approaching with a clay jar over her shoulder. She kept her face down to avoid all eye contact, just wanting to accomplish her task without being seen, noticed or acknowledged. But Jesus has this funny way of seeing people who think they’re invisible.
“Will you give me a drink?” (John 4:7)
I can only imagine what her initial reaction must have been. Perhaps she looked up startled, maybe even annoyed. Maybe she did a double take to see if he was actually speaking to her or someone behind her. Maybe she ignored him at first or pretended to be deaf to see if he might buzz off. However, she does eventually acknowledge him and attempts to remind him of the political correctness of their culture:
“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)” (John 4:9)
It just didn’t happen those days.Jesus, unamused by the need for political correctness, thirsty, and with a greater purpose in mind begins to turn the conversation in a different direction:
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
Peaking her interest, her posture of defense and tough exterior shifts. Becoming intrigued and slightly desperate the woman begs:
“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4:15)
In a strange move, Jesus makes another bizarre request of the woman:
“Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:16-18)
Behold, the real well. This woman was in fact thirsty. She craved something more. Something that would fill the deep desire and longing of her soul. Something for which her whole being ached. She attempted digging one well after another. Each time ending up disappointed, broken, thirsting more than before. Nothing ever satisfied that deep longing
Oh Samaritan sister, how deeply I can relate. That longing is all too familiar to us all. I know the what’s and the who’s that make up my man-made wells. I know the feeling of discontent, disappointment, and dryness that lingers following failed attempts to quench that inner thirst. I admittedly return to those old wells far too often only reaping the same results.
The beauty of this encounter is that Jesus excavates the dried up wells the Samaritan woman had previously attempted to draw from, and begins, with his truth and love, to drill a new well into her heart. The woman realizes her longing for the true Well. The Living Well. The Well that will sustain her and satisfy her. She is desperate to know where she can find it.
“I, the one speaking to you- I am He.” (John 4:26)
Brave heart and Beloved, the Well is still flowing and fresh. My prayer is that the Lord would seal off those old wells. That the Spirit would prompt me and prod me when I am returning to those old, dry wells and stop me in my tracks. That He will dig His Well into the deepest depths of my soul. That the Well would spring forth unto Eternal Life in all that I do and am. I pray that the Lord would completely immerse every fiber of my being with that Living Water that I would be soaked from head to toe with the satisfying, sustaining, overwhelming, beauty of His Spirit.
Identify those old wells. Pray for the Spirit to seal them.
Then, Brave heart and Beloved, come to the Well.
**Thank you to Mike and Tammy McRae and Water for Nations for the photographs. To learn more about Water for Nations and how you can help support their ministry like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WaterForNations/ .**