I had a magnificent experience because of last week's Sunday school lesson about the woman at the well (John 4:3 - 30). In one verse, the woman of Samaria questions why the Savior would take notice of her. Not only was she a woman, but her people were looked down on by the Jews. And yet, Jesus not only showed her compassion, He shared with her "living water" - the doctrines of the gospel and the love of God. He testified of Himself as the Messiah. And then,
...The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? (John 4:28 - 30)
She left behind her water pot - a symbol of worldly things that, like a broken cistern, can't hold the things I truly need. Another significant point that stood out is the way the woman of Samaria went to the city and shared her news of the Messiah with the very people she seemed to be avoiding by going to the well later in the day.
During my study time, I thought about my own struggles. What things in my life - what broken cisterns - am I willing to give up in order to follow the Savior and share His news with others? I had decided to make that question a point of fasting. I had no idea that the answer to my prayer would come so quickly.
As the ward choir director, I am frequently asked to lead the hymns during Sacrament meeting. Such was the case last week, and the music chairman sent me a text to let me know that she had asked my niece Megan to play the organ. I couldn't remember ever having seen Megan play the organ. She played the piano beautifully and often accompanied the choir, but playing the piano is the not the same as playing the organ. No worries. I knew other people would be there who would be able and willing to play, if needed.
When I walked into the chapel, Megan already sat at the organ playing a prelude hymn. At the end of the song, she walked over to the display board for the hymns the congregation would be singing during Sacrament meeting. I stood next to her to help and expressed my appreciation for her musical talents.
"Megan! I don't think I've ever seen you play the organ before. Thank you for always being so willing to help."
"I've never done it before. I can play the notes, but I don't know what stops to use. I just try to hold the notes a little extra long so that they sound smoother. I'm kind of nervous, but it's okay."
And she was right. It was more than okay. During the passing of the Sacrament, I thought about the courage it took for Megan to accept the opportunity to serve the Lord. And I smiled.
The woman at the well gave up her broken cistern of fear of what other people thought of her and spread the word that she had seen the Messiah. Many people followed Christ because of her testimony. Megan's willingness to play the organ gave her the opportunity to learn and serve and blessed her with stronger faith, confidence, and an increase in talent. Her example of courage blessed me with a desire to leave behind my own fears and insecurities so that I can better serve my Savior.
Fear of what others think of me, feelings of inadequacy, fear of giving offense, fear of ridicule - all these empty cisterns only serve to hold me back from my full potential. Sacrificing fear in order to partake of greater blessings and help others find the same joy sounds like a pretty good deal.