In these or similar words ...

Dear Jesus,
I want to stay closer to you this week, more comfortable with the things you do and the way you challenge people. I love seeing you touch, heal, and comfort so many people. At first I watched at a distance, seeing how gentle you were with other people. Then I saw how gentle you were with me. Your comforting words give me a sense of your love for me. When you want to say more challenging words, you take my hand and look right at me with a direct, calm look as you invite me into courage. I feel you draw me into a deeper friendship with you, you who have become such a close friend.

I read the Gospel about the woman at the well. I go there, in the heat of the day, when no one else is around. I just want to get the water and get out before I run into someone from town who will reject me or mock me. Instead I run into you, sitting at the side of the well as though you have been waiting for me.
You invite me to quench my thirst with a different kind of water, and suddenly I realize how much thirst and longing is inside of me. I want to make my life different, to undo the mistakes I have made. I have shut God out of my life for so many years, and it seemed as if there were no way back. And then you invite me into your water and into eternal life.

Your brown eyes are fixed firmly on mine as you acknowledge my sins. But none of my flaws matter. You have already wiped them away with your compassion. All of the reasons I have for keeping my distance from God don’t matter any more. My sins, the fact that I’m not really a good person, that I’ve made so many mistakes, none of this matters because you have invited me into a new life.

I have a new sense of freedom, the same freedom I see in you as you break social barriers by speaking to a lowly Samaritan like me. I feel lighter somehow, and all I want to do is shout the news loudly. “Come and see!” I want to tell everyone about you, those who have rejected me and those I am afraid of. None of my fears matter anymore because I have your good news, your living water, and the freedom I see in you. Thank you, Jesus, my loving friend. Thank you for the wonderful love and life you invite me into. Thank you for healing me, for loving me. Like the Lazarus story, you wept for me when I was separated from you, but you never stopped loving me. Let me feel what it is like to experience your freedom as you see me stumble out of the tomb and as you untie me and let me go free.

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