Good morning, Church! I had to get that in, since the family and I are on vacation and Mike Dossett has kindly offered to preach in my place. I look forward to logging on and listening to his sermon on the website. He’s going to be talking about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well and the importance of “living water.”

One of the best books that I’ve read recently is Thomas Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain. Merton recounts a childhood spent traveling about Europe in the early 20th century and his American education at prestigious Columbia University. But it is mostly a story about his journey to faith. In 1941, on the cusp of an exceptional literary career, Merton entered a Trappist Monastery in Kentucky and embarked on a life of meditation and writing. He became one of the most renowned Christian writers of his era.

I just wanted you to have some context before I shared one of his prayers with you. This is from his book, Thoughts in Solitude:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Let me tell you what I absolutely love about this prayer: its unflinching honesty. This prayer hasn’t the slightest bit of pretense. Merton has no need to act like he has all the answers or that he’s Super Christian. This is the modern day equivalent of the tax collector’s prayer in Luke 18: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

One of the things that I can’t help but notice about Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well is how reluctant she is to be honest with everything that’s going on with her. Jesus on the other hand cuts straight to the truth. He’s not doing it to be cruel. He’s doing it so that he can cut through all of the deception and make a difference in this woman’s life. God can’t work with people who are unable to be honest.

I still have a hard time being this honest with God. When I can be this transparent, devotion to God isn’t a difficulty, it’s a privilege. I hope you can find the courage to be honest with God this morning. The Living Water Jesus offers is found by those who realize and acknowledge just how thirsty they are.

Robert Lee