It’s Not About the Jar

I like pretty, shiny things. I also like bright, jewel colors and textures that beg to be touched. I thrive on chaos and function best when there is a problem to be solved. On the flip side, though, I am reluctant to let things go, even when their usefulness may have passed.

Recently, I’ve had to let go of an ideal, a direction that I thought was what God wanted for me–because I really wanted it. It was painful for me to let go of the idea. I didn’t want to set it down and embrace what God is really offering.

28155580566_ORIGWhen I read the story of the Samaritan woman this week, I realized that I have a problem. I get very attached to my jars. They are often pretty and shiny and important. Sometimes, these jars are gifts from God and I want to keep them even when I know they have become empty. Then I have an encounter with the Spirit and I am filled to overflowing. It’s good. Great, even. But I still cling to the jar. I want God to fill me the way I want to be filled. 

The Samaritan woman left her jar behind. She took what Jesus had to offer and ran off to tell everyone who lived in her village where she lived as an outcast.  She had so embraced what Jesus had to give that her neighbors listened to her and sought out Jesus for themselves. I wonder how much I have missed because I’m still holding onto an empty jar that I should have set down a while back.

2013-02-09 22.02.09It’s Lent. It’s a season of penitence. It’s a good time to leave jars behind that cannot hold what is truly needed.

Let us come into God’s presence
with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise
to God with songs of praise!

RCL – Year A – March 23, 2014
Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42


About rachaelkeefe

Hi. I am a pastor, an author, a painter, and a poet. My latest book is available now to order from Chalice Press, The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention (
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