Encounter: Read through Isaiah 43:16-21 and John 4:1-14 in The Passion Translation.
There was a hit song first sung and released in 1969 by the Hollies, entitled “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” The lyrics inspire within us what it means to care for one another beyond sentiment to action.
The road is long, with many a winding turn That leads us to who knows where Who knows where But I'm strong, strong enough to carry him He ain't heavy, he's my brother
So on we go, his welfare is my concern No burden is he to bear We'll get there For I know, he would not encumber me He ain't heavy, he's my brother.
The title came from the motto for Boys Town, a community formed in 1917 by a Catholic priest named Father Edward Flanagan. Located in Omaha, Nebraska, it was a place where troubled or homeless boys could come for help. In 1941, Father Flanagan was looking at a magazine called The Messenger, when he came across a drawing of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, with the caption, "He ain't heavy Mr., he's my brother."
Father Flanagan thought the image and phrase captured the spirit of Boys Town, so he obtained permission and commissioned a statue of the drawing with the inscription, "He ain't heavy Father, he's my brother." The statue and phrase became the logo for Boys Town. In 1979, girls were allowed and the name was eventually changed to Girls And Boys Town. The logo was updated with a drawing of a girl carrying a younger girl added.
In Isaiah 43, we are presented with a similar image and message, except this time, it is God who is doing the carrying. In this passage, we see a comparison of the gods carried around by the Babylonians and the Living God who carries His people. The message is clear, all false gods are powerless and burdensome while the One who created all things not only says that He will carry us but will help us, guide us, sustain us, strengthen us, enable us, empower us, heal us, transform us and bring us to a restored life with Him and work through us to bring this Good News to others. In this way we are not only carried, we carry the burdens of our sisters and brothers.
In Episode 8 of The Chosen, we see Jesus carrying His new disciples into uncomfortable situations calling them to forget the former things and to awaken to the new way, a law imprinted on their heart and minds that cause them to follow God and not a book.
Both the woman at the well and the disciples get a new lesson on what it means to lay aside the limitations of their past. If they were going to follow Jesus, they had to leave their old way of doing things, relinquish control and trust Him to show them the Way.
From the moment you receive the great love and grace of God through Jesus Christ, you are God’s child. His passion is a commitment to carry you forever!. God has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you!” There may be times when you feel like you may not make it or feel too weak or wounded or full of doubt and confusion. But our Lord says, you are going to not only make it, you are going to be carried right to the well of Living Water!
Reflect: Why do you think it was important for the Israelites to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in their past? And why was it also important that they not get stuck there? Has there been a time when you felt God carried you into an uncomfortable situation to change your perspective?
Encourage: Where in your life do you need God to carry you? Take time to write a prayer asking God for that in the situation and be specific. Pray for God’s encouragement to trust that he will provide what is needed and the strength and grace to have faith is His ways.
Gather: Discuss in your small group John 4:1-14 and what the Living Water means to you. What does it mean to have within us the Living Water that “becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit.”