Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Times of Refreshing by Ros Bayes

A scene from my holiday this year

August is traditionally the month when many Europeans take their annual holiday – a chance to leave the bustle of normal life behind and take some time to rest and be refreshed. But I wonder how many of us have ever come back from holiday feeling un-refreshed, that it hasn’t been long enough, or has been marred by family tensions, or simply that we don’t feel ready to plunge back into our “normal” lives? I know I have.

In his second sermon after Pentecost, Peter tells us that “times of refreshing.... come from the presence of the Lord”. I have found that a three week holiday can leave me feeling restless and unsatisfied, while a two-day spiritual retreat can make me feel as if I’ve had a month’s sabbatical. The difference lies in its focus on the presence of the Lord.

So here is a meditation designed to help you to focus on the presence of Jesus, whether you are away on holiday or at home wrestling with the usual minutiae of daily life. I hope that male readers won’t feel alienated by the fact that it’s based on a female Bible character. After all, if I can be a son of God and my brothers can be the bride of Christ, I am sure there is something in this encounter which transcends gender. It will help if you read John chapter 4 before you begin this meditation. In this chapter, the Samaritan woman encounters Jesus at the well. He takes her by surprise; she isn’t expecting anyone to be there.

You may like to find a quiet place, away from people, to work through this meditation. Some people find it helps to light a candle; some like to have quiet music in the background, others prefer complete silence. Do whatever works for you.  Work through the meditation slowly, pausing to take time to reflect on your answer to each of the questions.  If you want to, you can write down your answers, but if so, I suggest you go through and answer them in your mind and heart first, and then go through it again to reconsider the questions and write down your responses.

Imagine you are approaching a familiar place, and there, unexpectedly, you find Jesus sitting, waiting.
What is your reaction? Do you look at Him, or look away? Do you speak or wait for Him to speak?
How would you describe the expression on His face as He looks at you?
Take a moment to revel in that look.

When the Samaritan woman meets Jesus, He has a need. He asks her to give Him a drink. What does He ask of you?

The woman doesn’t immediately respond to His request; she has some questions of her own to settle first. Is there anything you need to ask Him before you respond to what He has said to you?

Ask Him what is on your heart; listen to His response. Now how will you respond to the request that He asks of you?

It turns out that what Jesus asks of her is a metaphor for her own greatest need. Think of what you sensed Him asking you at the start of this encounter. How does it reflect your own need?

Jesus tells her of a Father who has been seeking her. What does it mean to you to know that you are missed and sought for by God? Tell Him.

Jesus reveals to her something which, up to that point, He has not disclosed to anyone: that He is the Messiah. Ask Him to reveal something new of Himself to you. How will you relate to this new facet of His character?

The Samaritan woman can’t wait to share her beloved Messiah with others, and bring them to Him. Is there someone you want to bring to Him? Picture yourself now, bringing this other person to Him. What do you want Him to do for them? How does He respond?

Before you get up to leave, tell Him what this encounter with Him has meant to you; thank Him for what He has shown you. 

Ros Bayes has 8 published and 4 self-published books, as well as some 3 dozen magazine articles. She is the mother of 3 daughters, one of whom has multiple complex disabilities, and she currently works for Through the Roof ( as their Training Resources Developer, and loves getting paid to write about disability all day. You can find her blog at and her author page at Follow her on Twitter: @rosbwriting. 

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