Today's date marks a special day in my life.
Two years ago I was ordained a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Two years ago we gathered as a community from all across the US and even Iceland. We gathered to worship, pray, and give thanks to a God who calls each of us beloved. To praise the One who calls us to a life of service. Folks gathered who knew me since I was young, folks who taught me the truth of being a pastor, folks who loved me when I didn't know what love really looked like, and folks who knew me as just Kim without that title pastor in front.
The day brought joy and tears. Hope and fear. Incredible awe and incredible trepidation.
Yet, I was not alone. As in the past, my inspiration came from the woman at the well.
For two years living in Africa I felt like the woman at the well. I lived for some time as a stranger, a foreigner. The well became my refuge, a place to reach out for living water. I learned from a nameless woman. This woman at the well who taught me to constantly search for the living water found in community at the well and in the waters of Christ's love. Who taught me to laugh with no restraints. Who taught me to never take easy answers.
So of course I needed to hear from that same woman at the well as I embarked on a call taking me states away from family and friends to a place where I would be known as pastor. I needed to know that no matter the challenge or adventure, I would be met by the One who offers life.
And as in the past, the woman at the well became my confidant and partner as I yearned for living, life-giving water. She walks with me as I maneuver this vocation known as pastor.
When I gather around the hospital bed hearing the prayers of one who yearns for peace in his heart and the next day rejoice with him at the doctor's words, the woman at the well beckons, "Come and see."
When I watch the spirited two-year old walk laps around the pews during the Eucharistic prayer and come running to the front for the children's time, the woman at the well says, "Come and see."
When I listen to the struggles and questions of one desiring to know that grace is real, the woman at the well speaks, "Come and see."
When I mark the sign of the cross on the forehead of children, the woman at the well says, "Come and see."
When only death and loss fill the reality of a grieving spouse, the woman at the wells says, "Come and see."
When the confirmation students exhilarate me with their questions of God, the Bible, and life, the woman at the well says, "Come and see."
She continues to force me to look deeper in all my relationships and to see the life found in being with others.
She continues to remind me to share with reckless abandon the living waters that come through God's word, bread and wine, and gifts of community.
I'm not done with this woman at the well just as she will never be done touching my life.
So for the last two years and for the hope of a promised future, I say along with the woman at the well, "give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water."
I too have found the One who knows me and tells the truth, the truth of life-giving water found in the Body of Christ.