In his sermon, Pastor Ted uses a great object lesson--the idea that we can either build walls or dig wells. I love the part where he says, “In a sense, each of us is a church under construction; either building walls or wells.” I like it so much I want a t-shirt made that says, “Walls or wells?” The words we say, the choices we make, the way we treat people—all these things give us a glimpse into what sort of business we’re in. Are we wall builders, or well diggers? It’s a good reminder that all our actions send a message to those around us, about what we’re about. After listening to the sermon, I had to stop and reflect on my own behavior this week, during this quarantine, and just in general. Where do I decide to build walls when really, I should be digging wells? Who are the people that I treat like they are out? What criteria do I expect people to meet before they can be a part of what Jesus is doing? As I write this, it sounds awful, because it is. Honestly the way I treat people says more about me and where I’m at in my faith, than anything about them.
Each of us have people and groups that are hard for us to love. If I’m honest with myself, most of the time the reason I find them hard to love is because they don’t do things or live life the way I think they should. Wow! Now that’s a statement! Too many times I have been more worried about being “right,” sharing my opinion, explaining why someone should stop what they are doing, then sharing Christ with others, or learning to love them. I’m getting to the point where I just don’t care about being right anymore. I just want to be close to Jesus. I still have days, because like Pastor Ted said, we’re under construction. This church isn’t finished yet, and there are some walls that still need demolishing in my heart. There are barriers that I have put in place. The thing is, I’ve found that, at least for me, building walls doesn’t bring me closer to Jesus. In my own life, it has led to resentment, judgement, and a lack of empathy. Building walls has hardened my heart, not softened it to what Christ is saying to me.
Digging wells on the other hand—that’s something that has softened me, made me more compassionate to other’s pain, and strengthen my connection to Jesus. It’s also taught me a lot about myself, other people, and God. Digging wells reminds me of the goodness of God, that he wants to give us living water that will quench a parched soul. Whatever we long for deep within us, he’s there to meet that need. Digging wells reminds me that God is generous, that he cares for us, that all of us need something, we’re not as different as the walls might lead you to believe. I can work hard to tell people what I think is wrong with them, or I can help meet a need by sharing Jesus with them. I think for myself, the biggest thing is remembering that there are barriers that could have kept me from Christ, but Jesus kicked those down, and gave me living water instead. There was a time when I was out, but Christ brought me in. There are things about me that should disqualify me from being a part of His kingdom. Namely pride. Jesus hates pride. In fact, scripture says that God opposes the plans of the proud. Yeah—He is against my plans when my pride is motivating me. If anyone should be out, it’s me.
We each get one lifetime, however long it ends up being, and we get to decide what to do with our time and energy. I hope that at the end of my life my view is many, many wells that I have been able to help dig alongside Jesus. I hope more of my time was spent encouraging others, listening, developing empathy, and serving others humbly then sizing up other people's behavior and categorizing people. I don't want my view to be a wall of bricks that reaches to the sky and blocks out my view of others, a wall that I built with opinions, and justifications of why I just couldn't love certain people. Because I think when we stop seeing others, we also lose sight of God.
Questions to Ponder
1.As you think back over your comments this week, on social media, to people, about people, and your actions this week have you been busy building walls, or digging wells? Which of these activities to do invest more energy in? Why?
2.Why do you think we put up barriers between ourselves and other people?
3.Who are some people or groups that you try to “keep out”
4.What are some walls you have built that need to come down? Do you actually want them to come down?
5. Where/ how have you been able to "dig wells" during this time?