Sitting on the Porch Swing



Have you ever tried to have a much-needed conversation with someone who has simply isn’t listening?  Maybe they keep glancing at the T.V. or their phone.  Maybe they straight out say, “I gotta go.”  Such “conversations” are annoying at best and hurtful at worst.  Conversations are about talking and listening, being present to one another, and even sitting in silence together.

Prayer is no different—except God is never the one saying, “I gotta go.”  Usually that’s us.  Prayer is about talking and listening, being present with God, and even sitting in silence together.  A wonderful image for prayer is a porch swing conversation.  Think of sitting with God on a porch swing as you pray.  Sometimes you talk; sometimes you listen; sometimes it’s just being together that’s the heart of the conversation.  This intentional time with God takes practice in a world that values efficiency and utility.  Just sitting with God, swinging back and forth—what’s the value in that?!  But prayer is not about value, efficiency, or utility.  Prayer is about growing in our love relationship with God.

This week’s scripture is a conversation between Jesus and a woman he meets on his travels.  It’s shared from The Message to maintain the sense of two people having a conversation. 


A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?”  The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”

Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”

He said, “Go call your husband and then come back.” “I have no husband,” she said.

“That’s nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.”

“Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”

 “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.

“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”

“I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”  John 4


Look back over the past week. How are you unwrapping that gift from God (your intention) this Lent? God specializes in surprises and possibilities, so have a curious awareness as you grow deeper and wider in your love relationship with God and others.

How are your spiritual practices going?  As you reflect deeper on prayer, do you need to refocus how you might pray this Lent?  Any honest conversation takes time and includes the silence of simply being together.  How might you bring more time for prayer into your life?  How comfortable are you with the silence of simply being with God?

We focus on Conversation with Jesus in this week’s scripture.

  • Are there any words or ideas that especially resonate with you or challenge you?

  • As you think of this as a conversation, what do you notice?

  • Imagine yourself listening in on Jesus and the woman.


Sit on the porch swing with Jesus. Have the conversation you need to have with him.  Speak and listen.  Remember silence is not the same as absence with him.