by Micaela Arriola
Going into the School of Witness(SOW), I was excited. I began my journey of intentional discipleship during my last semester of university last year and was looking forward to spending 2 months immersed in Jesus. I left the church in 2014, and purely by God’s grace, I came home to the Lord in 2018.
I experienced this radical change – gave up my old life and found new life in Jesus. Jesus had transformed me and this encounter convinced me that being with Jesus was where I wanted to be. This was what spurred me to sign up for SOW.
I had entered SOW with, perhaps not a laundry list, but an expectation of what was going to happen. However, our God is truly one of surprises. He revealed to me many things but the most jarring was that I had been relying on myself this entire time, limiting His power with my ‘power’. I thought I needed to do everything myself. I couldn’t rely on anyone – I wasn’t worthy of anyone doing anything for me, anyone’s love, and I couldn’t do anything about it. The truth here was that I really couldn’t but, HE could. After experiencing His grace so tangibly when He brought me back to the faith, I had subconsciously bought into the lie that that was it for me. My ration of God’s grace had been used up, and anything else from this point on, I had to go and get it myself.
More SOW testimonies:
SOW was a time of true grace and He revealed to me his completely unconditional, limitless love. The moment that I believed I didn’t have to do anything but allow God to be God was the moment this dam I’d built, restricting what the Lord could do for me, broke, lifting the burden of having to do everything on my own, and completely unleashing this gushing, unrelenting grace.
He continues his healing work every single day and when it gets difficult I cling to the passage of the Samaritan woman at the well – the theme of the school. In this Gospel, Jesus talks about living water. Jesus asks for a drink. In his thirst for us, He offers us the gift of a desire for Him. It is from God that we receive the ability to love Him. Jesus was calling the woman to know Him and trust Him – He thirsts for her faith, just as He thirsted for mine and brought me to SOW. Often, we look in barren places to quench our thirst, but Jesus invites us to accept the living water He offers – the only thing that can truly satisfy us. He met the Samaritan woman where she was and showed her and everyone else His mercy. He chose this woman, a sinner, to explicitly reveal himself saying “I am He”. Similarly, He chose me and chooses to save me each and every day. Our sin and shame can discourage us and make us hide but Jesus meets us exactly where we are and tells us He thirsts for our love and trust.
As in many other instances in the Bible, after the woman encountered the Lord, she went out. She put down what she was holding on to – she left her water jug at the well – went into the village, despite her shame and embarrassment, and told everyone that she had met the Messiah. Together with her water jug, she left behind the fear of judgment and became an evangeliser – a beggar leading other beggars to the bread. Her encounter with the Lord freed her from her sin and shame, and gave her a conviction that led many others to believe in Him.
At the beginning of SOW, we were asked what we were thirsting for and I wrote “freedom”. At the end of this journey, they asked us another question, what have we received? My answer: Freedom, to choose Jesus every day – just as He chooses me. I claim the truth that I am called and chosen, by the One who calls me worthy.
I thought I had been living fully in Christ but God revealed that He desires more, and already has more in store for me. I had been sipping and rationing, so afraid this living water would run out, but Jesus invites me to drink DEEPLY because His grace will never run out. Jesus is far from done with me. My brothers and sisters, He calls us to not just live life but to live life in all its fullness (John 10:10), He invites us to drink deeply and live fully. Will you?
For more on School of Witness, check out: