Be your own Source

About seven years ago, I had one of the biggest breakthroughs in my life. After my divorce, I spent a few years really diving into the personal development genre. Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss…you name it, I read it. I learned about NLP, cognitive behavior therapy, the seven habits of highly effective people…and so on. I kept meeting a wall in my life, and I was so frustrated about what I was supposed to do to overcome the feelings I had within myself.

Divorce will do that to a person. It will take every ounce of confidence you thought you had and turn it on itself. You’ll reach what you feel is rock bottom and won’t know how to climb out of the hole you find yourself in. I grabbed wildly for anything and everything I could hold onto. In my studies, I stumbled onto a personal growth message board. I posted for days on end about how I was stuck. I poured my heart out and shared every last intimate detail I could muster from my life in the hopes that somebody…anybody…could help me move forward.

I finally got what I needed when a kind soul took the time to listen to everything I had to say, offer words of encouragement, and gave me a free phone session. Everything that I am today spiraled out of that phone session because it forced me to shift away from the “woe is me” record that I was playing on repeat within myself and onto a path of personal responsibility. I learned that nobody was coming to save me. All of my internal and external struggles were my responsibility and mine alone. I could not shift blame. I could not make excuses. I merely had to make choices. New choices.

The best part of my breakthrough moment was the realization that I had been plugged into the world, or TV, or the internet seeking power from the outside to “charge me up.” I noticed that when I was around somebody who was bubbly and full of energy, that I would leech their energy and soak it up like a sponge. If I was around somebody who was down and depressed, then I would soak up that energy as well. My mood swayed in the wind based on whatever my environment had to throw at me.

It wasn’t until I realized that *I* am the source that my life began to change. Today I want to share a story from the bible that I love. Take a few minutes and read it and we’ll talk about it.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “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.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 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.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.18 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.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

–John 4: 7-24

There are some subtle details in this story that I’d like to bring out.

The Source Doesn’t Care About Your Association

The Samaritan woman said to him, “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.)

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

So, Jesus is traveling through Samaria and he happens upon this woman. He comes to the well and decides to ask her for a drink. I imagine that she must’ve looked at him funny. She said it herself…Jews do not talk to Samaritans. It’s important to note that Samaritans claimed decent from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Levi. This wasn’t some foreign nation that Jesus was walking through. But because of the split between the Northern and Southern tribes of Israel, the two groups did not associate with each other (sound familiar?).

So the woman seemed a little shocked that Jesus would talk to her. Later on she will ascertain that Jesus was at the very least some sort of prophet, but her first reaction here is one of surprise. But, hilariously, Jesus just sort of ignores that and starts talking. He tells her that if she had any idea about the gift of God and who he was, that she would be asking HIM for a drink. And that drink would be to her as “living water.”

I say all of that to say this…sometimes the thing you need to hear will come from the most unlikely source. It surprises me how much people will shut down if the person or organization saying it to them doesn’t fit into their belief system. Let me give you a powerful piece of truth: YOU WILL NEVER GROW UNLESS YOU LEARN TO ENTERTAIN A VIEWPOINT THAT SITS OUTSIDE OF YOUR CURRENT PARADIGM. I put that in all caps because it’s important. Another way of saying it, from a famous quote, is that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.

Your faith has to be stronger than that. Your faith has to be strong enough that you can actually read something outside of your paradigm and be able to pull out of it the things that apply to you and challenge your current worldview. We have a real problem in this country of people burying their head in the sand and only taking in things that match up with how they see the world. Now, if you’re happy with where you are at, that is fine. But if you are unhappy, then you are doing yourself a disservice by rejecting things that make you upset. Often times the thing that makes you the most upset is the very thing that you need to hear.

The Source Will Spring out of You

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 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.”

I find this concept fascinating. Going back to my breakthrough moment, I remember at the time being so blown away by the idea that *I* could be the source of whatever mood or encouragement that I needed. I spent so much of my life thinking that I had to wait until someone else came to give me encouragement before I could feel better or take needed action. In fact, since I’m using scripture here, the church is probably the WORST for planting this notion in people’s heads.

I think people see God as some sort of sky genie that we just carry around with us and, when things get too hard, we rub the lamp and God will pop out and just fix everything with a wish. But look at verse 14! He specifically says that when you drink the water that he gives you, it will become a SOURCE WITHIN THEM (paraphrasing). YOU will become the well. YOU will become the source. Yes, God has your back in the hard times. Yes, God is a comfort to those in a time of need. But you know what God isn’t? He isn’t your person genie. He expects you to give everything you have and THEN rely on him through faith to meet you where you are.

In fact, in the very next chapter, he reiterates this point. In John 5 we learn about the man at the pool who couldn’t walk. Every once in a while, it says, an angel would come down to stir the water and the first person to get into the water would be healed of whatever affliction they had. The problem, this guy told Jesus, was that he couldn’t walk. Those that could walk would make it to the pool before he had a chance. Yes, he gave Jesus an EXCUSE for why he couldn’t be healed when the source was standing right in front of him. Jesus then simply asked him: “Do you want to be healed?”

However, notice a couple of things about that story. First of all, the man didn’t just go home. Sure, he had excuses, but he was there at the pool when Jesus showed up. Imagine what would have happened if the first time the angel stirred the pool and the man didn’t get in, that he gave up and wrote it off as a hopeless cause. (Oh man, I’m talking to myself right now…I hope you guys are taking this in.) Nope. This man came to the pool (or lived by the pool more likely) for 38 years. Talk about faith. Talk about hammering away at a rock or a hardship that wouldn’t crumble but persevering until breakthrough!

Let me say it as clearly as I can: YOU ARE THE SOURCE OF YOUR BREAKTHROUGH. Nobody is coming to save you. You can’t just sit in your house all day, everyday, praying for God to magically fix your situation. You need to drag yourself to the pool. You need to keep hammering away. You need to give everything you have and then trust that God will take you the rest of the way. It’s time to be responsible for your life and everything in it.

The Source is the Spirit and of Truth

21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Earlier we talked about how Jesus said that if you drink the water that he has to give, that it will become in you a well of living water that springs out of you. It’s an interesting concept and he is using the notion of thirst to make a deeper point. Consider the fact that this woman had to go to the well every day to get the water she needed. Or consider the idea that, when you get thirsty, you need a drink of water from wherever you can get it. But if you never get thirsty, you never have to go to the well. Granted, we need water to survive, so this analogy doesn’t work on a literal level. But on an internal level it’s powerful.

Every single one of us has that “little something” deep inside of us. It’s a feeling that crops up inside of us. It tells us that all of life is pointless. It reminds us that we are going to die someday. It reminds us that, if we live long enough, we will lose everybody that we love. It’s that nagging thing inside of us that drives us crazy if we sit and dwell on it.

So, we distract ourselves. We go to work for distraction. We take up hobbies for distraction. We seek out people for distraction. A deep truth that I’ve learned (and only very recently) is that we CAN survive on our own without the notion of God or spirituality. There are plenty of atheists out there who are successful and happy and live great lives without God or religion. The difference is in the source. To that person, they will always be required to go the well of their job, their hobbies, or their friends for a drink.

How many of you have ever made plans with people that you were really looking forward to? You spend days or weeks or even months anticipating those plans. Then the thing happens…whatever it is (vacation, a night out, whatever). How do you feel that night when those plans are over and you are at home in bed? How do you feel the first time you are alone? There’s always a little bit of emptiness…a little BLAH feeling that comes over you. “Back to reality,” we say. Why do we feel that way?

I’ll tell you why. Because as great as those times are, and as important as it is to spend time and do fun things with those we care about, it will never quench the thirst that exists down deep in your soul. And you know that whether you’re a christian, atheist, buddhist, or any other belief system you follow. You know that, down deep, in the unconscious recesses of your mind/heart, there’s always that place that sits empty and full of yearning. It’s this emptiness that drives you to do great things.

I’m telling you today exactly what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well. Only YOU can reach that part of yourself. And if you drink the water that Jesus gives you, you’ll never thirst down there again. But, more importantly, what is this living water that he was talking about? He explains in the verse above (John 4: 21-24). The living water is the spirit and the truth. Have you ever noticed that when somebody says something that is profoundly truthful just how deep and satisfying that truth sits within you? Our entire bodies receive such truths and you’ll experience goosebumps or inspiration. You KNOW it’s the truth when someone speaks it because it’s as if someone opened up your heart and just dumped pure joy right down into it.

THAT is the source I am talking about in this article. And you have the potential to be the source. But you gotta unplug once in a while. You have to sit with that emptiness and yearning and seek that truth. And when you know the truth, the truth will make you free. The source is the spirit and truth. It’s deep seated truths that sit down in the darkest recesses of your soul and then spring out of you. The truth that you have been given the power to be your own source. And when you’re the source, the water will spring out of you and touch those around you. You can’t help but be a positive force for people because you are JUST. SO. SATISFIED.

Isn’t it time you sought the truth? Isn’t it time you unplugged and spent time in meditation and prayer? And when you meditate and pray (notice I keep saying both), you’ll find that the answers will spring from within you. This living water that causes you to never be thirsty. Because you are the source.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to leave a comment below. Also, please share it with someone who could use encouragement. Thank you for your patience and God bless!