How often don’t we hear the remark “I’M SO TIRED!”? Tired of the traffic, tired of the crime, tired of TV, tired of politicians, tired of the Springboks! St. John records an occasion when Jesus was “wearied with his journey”. After his conversation with the woman at the well we see the TIRED Christ. He was hungry. The dust and heat of the road had made him footsore and worn out.
He was glad to sit down. He knew what it was like to feel TIRED. He was not a machine, a mechanical iron man unaffected by human feelings. He experienced weariness, but also overcame it, so that when the Samaritan woman came, burdened with all her troubles and problems, he was able to help her. She could go on her way rejoicing.
Renewed strength is always a gift from God. Isaiah says that “those who wait upon the Lord” shall receive this gift. “They shall mount up with wings as the eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” Paul could answer those who boast of their hardships and tell them without complain that he knew what it felt like to be “in weariness and painfulness”.
Twice he mentions this to others. “And let us not be weary in well being for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” He goes on to encourage his listeners: “Be not weary in well doing.” These words of St. Paul are an echo of what Jesus said: “Come unto me all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
By rest he did not mean idleness, apathy or exemption from work. He meant refreshment and new strength. When I was a world traveller my good friend Lin Crowe from Philadelphia in the U.S.A. gave me good advice “Make time for R & R (Rest and Recovery)!” I call it Sabbath living. Jesus did not tell the woman to go away. He didn’t say he was too tired to talk or that he wanted to go off for a power nap.
I think he has a special word for those who cry out “I’M TIRED!” When the disciples returned to the well they expected to find Jesus famished and exhausted. But there he was … eagerly engaged in conversation. Body and spirit had been strongly replenished. TIRED as he was, he had been busy transforming the life of the woman at the well. In that life giving act of unselfish service, strength had come to him.
Can we not argue that there is a TIREDNESS which springs from selfishness in the lives of people today? Many are depressed and TIRED with life.
Yet for those whose concern is with others, who look further than themselves, there is freedom from such anxiety. The sacrificial life of Jesus, a ransom for many, was subject to excessive demands.He knew what it was like to feel TIRED, but he had the secret of renewed strength.
Spare a thought for all who are stressed out today. Over-committed, they feel that they no longer have the energy to keep up with the demands of the everyday. The Season of ADVENT encourages us to make time for God, space for prayer and reflection and room in our lives for spiritual sustenance.
Every time I look at the Advent Candles I also look at the Cross. The symbols remind me to look deeper and unearth the treasure that will last when all else has faded away. It is treasure such as this that Jesus promised to those who follow him. Those who are TIRED can renew their strength. Why not give it a try?