Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Hope for a Town - Eleanor Shepherd

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            Megan preferred to take her companion, Buddy to the dog park on her lunch hour. In a small town like Smithville, it was easier to avoid the stares or nudges of people if she did not go when the regular crowds gathered there with their dogs in the morning or the evening.

            However, on this particular day, in spite of choosing the usual time when the park was otherwise unoccupied, a man who said his name was Josh showed up. She had not seen him in Smithville before and assumed that he was on his way through to Green Valley to the south, and had taken the route through Smithville to avoid the traffic. 

            As Megan was returning her water bottle to her backpack after giving a drink to Buddy, Josh spoke up and asked her if she would mind giving her some water for his dog, Esprie. 

            From the accent, Megan assumed that Josh was an immigrant and was surprised that he asked her for water for his dog. Usually immigrants avoided contact with the townspeople, as there had been several incidents where the encounters between the two groups of people had been quite unpleasant. Word had gotten around that the best thing to do, if your are an immigrant passing through Smithville, is to avoid the natives as much as possible and get through there as quickly as you can. Don’t expect any help or hospitality from them. 

            Thus Megan commented, “I am surprised that you, as an immigrant are asking me for water for your dog. That is highly unusual in these parts. Usually immigrants avoid us Smithvillers, especially after the shooting last year.” 

            She was even more amazed at Josh’s response. “You have no idea of the good things that God has in store for you, and who is asking you for the water. If you did you would be asking me for the kind of water that I can provide.” 
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            “With all due respect,” responded Megan, “you don’t even have a backpack and it looks like all you have with you is your pooch. Where exactly is this source of water that you are offering?” 

            She continued, “You may not know that Smithville has a source of pure water that we bottle and sell and it is the envy of this province and the two neighbouring ones. Where does your water come from?”

            Josh then clarified, “The kind of water that I am talking about is a source that comes from within and refreshes the spirit and keeps on bubbling up and never stops.  

            “Now that,” said Megan is the kind of water that I am interested in. “I get so tired of trying to prove my worth again and again, constantly depending on the rare words of encouragement that come my way from time to time. Can you point me to the source of the kind of water you are talking about so I can break out of this vicious circle of seeking?”

            She was shocked at Josh’s response. He told her, “Go, bring your husband here to the dog park to meet me.” 

            “Megan replied, “I don’t have a husband.” 

            “That’s right,” replied Josh. “You are telling me the truth. You do not currently have a husband. You have been married five times and your current partner is not your husband.” 
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            “Well, Josh, I can see that you are some kind of fortune-teller or guru or something. You immigrants often seem to be pretty religious, but we have our churches and our beliefs here in Smithville and we are pretty orthodox. We don’t need your crazy ideas.”

            Josh said, “God desires for everyone to know how much He loves them. He has sent me to tell you and everyone else I meet that this is true. He has shown us in His Son that we can enter into a relationship with Him.”               

            “I have heard that,” said Megan. “I think I could believe it if I could meet the Son.”

            “I am He,” answered Josh. 

            At that, Megan left her backpack and even her dog, and running out of the dog park she headed for home, stopping only to tell those she ran into on the way, that she had incredible news. An immigrant at the dog park knew everything about her and made her realize her value to God. Could he be God’s Son, as he said? Please come and see. 

            They came and they believed.  

            He still comes to our Smithvilles.  Leave a message if you want to know more. 

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Peter Black said...

Wowie! Eleanor, what a wonderful take and retelling of the narrative woman who met Jesus by Jacob's well at Sychar (as in John ch. 4). I was drawn in, right from the start. Heart-warming. Thank you. May God use it to draw other 'Megans' to Jesus ('Josh' -- great choice!) :) ~~+~~

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thanks, Peter. I am so encouraged by your response. I felt a little frightened taking the chance of putting Scripture into a contemporary setting, but I really hope that might encourage people to read the original.

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