I love coffee. I do live in the Pacific Northwest, after all, and coffee is a big deal here. But unlike many coffee snobs I know, my favorite is a simple cup of Yuban drip coffee with a splash of dark chocolate almond milk. (If you’re a French-press-only kind of coffee drinker, I hope you’ll keep reading, because the lesson here may be for you, too).
At home, I drink two 16-ounce mugs of coffee before I leave the house in the morning and take a third to go. Sometimes my family tries to talk to me before my first cup is gone, but it doesn’t do them much good.
When I travel, concerns over where I’ll get that first cup of morning fuel consume me. Will the room have a coffee maker (preferably not a Keurig)? Will housekeeping have left enough real coffee instead of decaf, and will it be a decent blend? Will I have to go down to the hotel lobby to get a cup? Where will I find almond milk and will there be a fridge in the room to store it?
These are critical questions that demand an answer. The right answer.
I recently attended a writers conference and stayed at the hotel where the conference was held. I shared a room with a dear friend who is unconcerned with coffee, which worked well because the tiny four-cup pot was just enough to get me out the door and down to the hotel coffee bar for a latte. (And, yes, there was a fridge for my almond milk).
The second day of the conference, I was blessed to have a half-hour mentor session with author Kim Meeder. Our discussion came around to the things I had put ahead of God in my life. I hadn’t given Him first priority with my time, and it had affected my writing.
I confessed to Kim that I’d been feeling my well was dry. I hadn’t been inspired to write more than a few words in months. This period coincided with when I had let my regular prayer and devotion time slip through the cracks. I’d been trying to make it through each day on coffee and sheer willpower alone. I’d grown weary and unfocused.
I left that mentor session with a renewed commitment to put God first by beginning each day reading my Bible and worshiping God. I returned to my room to pray and make a new worship playlist on my iPod.
The next morning, while my roommate was in the shower, I sat in our darkened room listening to my new playlist. As one ear listened to the music, the other ear listened to the coffee pot drip out my four cups of morning brew, waiting for the tell-tale gurgle signaling my first cup was ready to pour. When will that coffee be done?
God gently replied, What if you needed Me more than that cup of coffee?
That thought has stuck with me in the weeks since. With every cup of coffee, I’m reminded that I need something—Someone—even more.
The truth is I do need God more than a cup of coffee. Only He can take my weariness and lack of focus and turn them into rest and direction. I must consume His Word and savor His truth every morning.
I returned home and began to develop my habit of daily Bible reading as the first thing each morning. I started with an old favorite: the Gospel of John. A few days in, a verse jumped out at me that I hadn’t truly noticed before. Perhaps it’s because I was reading a different translation, or perhaps God chose to help me see its application to me at this moment in time.
So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. John 4:6 (NASB).
Although I continued reading further in the chapter and onto the next, I was drawn time and again to that one verse. I saw two important lessons in it:
- If Jesus could grow weary, then there was no shame in me feeling weary; and
- When Jesus was weary, He went to the well, which is exactly where I need to go, too.
I still love coffee and probably always will. But it’s a poor substitute for the well that is God’s Word and truth when one is weary.
Are you feeling weary today in spite of all your efforts to spur yourself on? Is coffee no longer enough to keep you energized for your busy day? Do you feel as though your well has run dry? Perhaps it’s time to seek strength and rest at the well of God’s Word.