Saturday, February 28, 2015

Charlotte Bumbulis

Psalm 139 - Lord, you have searched me and known me…For you formed my inward parts.

In April 2012, I was gifted with the life-altering experience of traveling to Israel with Joe and a group of about 25 First Austin-ites.  This photo was taken at the very beginning of our trip, unbeknownst to me, at the Mount of Beatitudes.  There is nothing that can quite prepare you for the mystery and magnitude of moving through the same spaces where Jesus lived, walked, breathed, and transformed lives.

What I remember experiencing in this photo is what the Celtics refer to as a “thin space” between heaven and earthly realities – the tingling, time-halting sensation that I was being searched by God and drawn into being fully known for who I was created to be.  

In John chapter 4, Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at a well on his way to Galilee.  In verse 7, Jesus says to her very matter of fact-like “Give me a drink. 
This guy is abrupt!

She’s completely taken aback and responds by saying “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?

(Jews typically didn’t take kindly to Samaritans, not to mention a lowly woman of no stature)

The next few verses capture a conversation between a confused woman, who thinks this strange man is referring to literal water (for which he didn’t bring a bucket to retrieve), and Jesus, who is talking about “the water of life” that quenches the deepest thirsts for all time.  

He has her attention now! 

She responds by saying “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.

And now we get to the heart of the matter – she is being searched and is known by God, a God who doesn’t turn away from her, but instead, draws her in deeper.  In verse 16, Jesus tells her to go and bring back her husband.  She tells him that she doesn’t have a husband, at which point he drops a bomb by stating “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 

And what is her response to this eerily perceptive man? Sir, I think that you are a prophet.

(for some reason this makes me chuckle)

Jesus takes it even further by saying “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

This prompts the woman to say, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 

Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

(insert mouth drop here). 

She knows in her bones that she’s been fully searched by Christ in the flesh and that he knows all of her - the shame, guilt, half-told truths, short-comings, deep places of entrenched hurt, as well as the glimmers of hope for a new reality here and now and beyond.  A kingdom of heaven on earth reality where hate and bigotry are uprooted, where all people, all people, all people are treated as beloved children of God, where your cup overflows with the water of life spilling out onto others, and where the “thin spaces” become more prevalent in your daily life, ushering you to be known for who you were created to be. 

Where are the “wells” in your life where the force of God’s abrupt presence disrupts your daily flow and speaks transformative truth into your life?

May you continue to be drawn to the well of life everlasting, allow yourself to be searched and truly known by Christ this Lenten season, and may you experience the “thin spaces” that already surround you.  Amen.


  1. well done, well experienced. thanks char for sharing this truth with us.
    thin spaces are ever drawing us if we will but be still and KNOW. :)