by Sarah Landon
We are a thirsty people. I look around and the people I see are striving, looking for more, often tired, wanting to both press on to get the thing they long for and escape to anything else. We seek after so many things: security, acceptance, success and the list goes on. Jesus promises us in John 4:14 that, "...whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again."
Women's Bible study at Bethel has been God's way of leading me back to the well where I can find His "living water" and quench my thirst. I started coming in my twenties when I didn't even really know how much I needed Jesus. It makes me cringe to think about it now, but I honestly thought I had a lot to offer God. It's okay, you can roll your eyes at me.
God always seems to bring the right people together because my leader was really transparent and not afraid to ask hard questions. I realized during that time that I was not the "good kid" I thought myself to be and instead I was weak, rebellious and totally needed Jesus. All of the things I thought I could do on my own were leading me in circles and the truth I encountered in Bible study pulled me out of that cycle and onto solid ground. I started to experience the freedom that Scripture talks about.
I had experienced encounters with God before I started women's Bible study and they were amazing, but they were inconsistent and would fade away. The experience I had at Bethel was unique because we kept coming back. In the ordinary days when I felt like I was just going through the motions, I kept coming back. After a while, as we became comfortable with each other and the truth began to sink in, our relationships deepened and we could ask hard questions, be vulnerable and start digging into difficult stuff. I had a habit of coming to the well now.
In an age where there are a million experts and half of them are telling me that what I'm doing is wrong, God's word is exactly the refreshing "water" that has kept me satisfied. That's not to say that what I have discovered is easy; it has challenged me in ways I never imagined. God's truth has helped me recognize my own self-deception when I'm working really hard to ignore my own pain. Through a study of the Sermon on the Mount, I learned that it's good to be needy and dependent on God. It is the antidote to my tempting self-sufficiency that leads me into a downward spiral of striving and disappointment. These truths are often counter-cultural and carry a depth that is unique and beautiful. They have truly set me free (John 8:32).
I don't come from a home that prayed together or read their Bible (ever), so my spiritual moms have been from Bible study. I've been shown practical things like how to clean out a P-trap (thank you Ashley), and I've learned spiritual things like what it looks like to be grateful when life is difficult (thank you Kelli). I've seen what life looks like as a Jesus-follower and had people to support me as I've found the path. The older and younger women around me help me to remember that life has seasons and Jesus walks through them all with us.
The community that develops at Bible study is a beautiful thing. I believe each person has a gift that makes us all better together. When all of those gifts come together (prayer, teaching, decor, music, administration, hospitality, listening, encouragement) it feels like Jesus is there in our midst and we are full, not lacking anything. They are the everyday miracles that draw us closer to Him and closer to one another.
I'm not sure what your plans are this fall, but if you're thirsty, come join us at the well, taste the living water, and see if it doesn't become a "spring of water welling up" inside of you (John 4:14).
As Sarah shared her story of finding living water in Bible study, we'd love you to experience community as we seek the only true source of living water together at one of our three Bible studies.
Sept. 17th, 9:15-11:10am in the HUB, childcare is available
Sept. 17th, 6:30-8:15pm in Desert View, childcare is available
Sept. 19th, 10-11:30am in Desert View, sorry, no childcare