Thursday, 10 March 2011

Well, well, well!

A spiritual well is a place where the Kingdom of God has come on earth - an example in the bible is Bethel in Gen 12:8, Gen 28:12. Often the well cannot be accessed because it is full of rubble (sin) so we need to re-dig the well (Gen 26:18-22).

Having rather unintentionally opened up a well through worship and prayer and seeking God in our workplace, the notion of wells has taken our attention, and God has been giving us permission to re-dig other wells. D has experienced a place where God showed him he could create a well, and there is now a flow of creativity there.... J has experienced a thirst and openness to spiritual conversations in the corner of a pub on the rows in Chester.... and last week God told me we could re-dig a large well in one of the City Centre churches today.

We began by praying for clean hands and pure hearts and spent time in confession. When we arrived at the church, we welcomed the Spirit of God there and spent time asking Him about the 'rubble' and obstructions. He showed us several things which we prayed about and the atmosphere seemed to lighten, faces began to break out in smiles and there was an increase in angelic activity (apparently - thanks, D!).

We headed from there to a pub in the centre, and very quickly got into a conversation with some people in the pub. This is the sort of pub by day whose regulars (mostly men, 40+) can detect a newcomer at 20 paces; as you enter it's like tumbleweed, and you feel as though your every move is being scrutinised; if you sit in someone else's seat, it's bad! We could feel the mockery and hardness towards us in such an environment. Once people had got over the novelty of having non-regulars who were Christians (fair game), there was lots of testing banter, mocking questions about faith (E.g. if the 10 commandments tell you not to bow down to graven images, why do many Christian churches use crucifixes and images as centre pieces) and even hushed confessions (one lady who reflected how sad it was that her life had come to drinking from 11am-3pm every day in the pub).

There were a few gems amidst the harshness of the landscape - J had previously had an amazing conversation with a woman there several months ago who 'co-incidentally' turned up again today as we were there , and we had discussions with her about her wanting to have something or someone when things turn bad. Normally, perhaps, people don't consider this and go on with their lives, but it seems increasingly that when bereavement or tragedy come their way, they have no methods with which to cope. When I asked her what she did when times got tough, she began to cry and told us of the anniversary of a friend's death coming up and gestured to her pint, her drink being her temporary saviour. We invited her to Night Church and promised we would pray for her.

On our way out, we bumped into a charity 'Shelter' worker, who told us he was searching for someone to help him. He was trying to be 'good' but failing. We explained about inviting God into your life and His holy spirit brings about goodness, told him about Jesus and he went away thinking about it.

So a random 3 hours spent in prayer, declaring the Kingdom of God, encountering hardness and mockery, then two wonderful conversations with people whose hearts were wide open.... as a colleague said to me later, sounds like the sort of morning Jesus might have had.

[Anina Thomas]

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