Much like Carolina students on the first day of class, one of the first things Jesus does in his ministry is arrive at an old well. This well dated back over 1,5000 years to Jacob, Abraham’s grandson and the father of Joseph (of the amazing technicolor dream coat). But, unlike Carolina students, Jesus was not able to drink from the well; it was deep, and he had no bucket—and there was no one around.
You see, in those days wells were gathering places where the women, predominantly, would come in the mornings or evenings to draw water and exchange the latest news and happenings. But, now it was noon. The morning draw was hours before; the evening draw was several hours yet to come. The likelihood of anyone coming to draw water in the heat of the day was slim to none.
But, a woman came, and Jesus asks her for a drink. As their conversation unfolds, Jesus offers her something even better than the water he requested. He offers her living water—a spring of water gushing up to eternal life. It takes the woman a little while to realize just whom she has encountered and just what he is offering her, but when it all sinks in, she runs back to her city and tells everyone that she has met the Savior.
Whereas she came to gather water, she leaves as one sent out to spread the Gospel; Jesus has turned a gathering place into a sending place.
As I assume the position of Campus Minister for UNC Wesley, I am excited to continue our ministry’s discernment of what it means to consider ourselves a sending place, instead of a gathering place—what it means to think of our ministry not as a building, but as a movement spreading throughout the entire Chapel Hill campus and community to bring the good news, hope, love, joy, and peace of Jesus Christ to those who need it most.
And so, I went to the Old Well this morning—as my first act as Campus Minister—to drink the water, yes, but also to dream of how we, together, can continue to be part of God’s bringing forth a gushing spring of living water in Chapel Hill.
As I join you in this work, I am grateful for your prayers and support for UNC Wesley. I realize how blessed I am to join a ministry that is so strong Spiritually and financially. I thank you and all of Wesley’s previous campus ministers (on whose shoulders I humbly stand) for this.
May God bless us all as we continue to love God, love others, and change the world,
PS: Only 43 days until First Year Student Move-In begins!
(To read more about Jesus and the Woman at the Well, see John 4.1-42.)
Rev. Ryan G. Spurrier joins UNC Wesley as Campus Minister after serving as an Associate Pastor in both North Augusta and Greenwood, South Carolina. In Greenwood, he founded the Methodist Campus Ministry at Lander University. He is a Full Elder in the South Carolina Annual Conference and a graduate of Duke Divinity School. His wife, Kyrsten, of just over a year is an Occupational Therapist at Duke University Hospital. They are both excited to join the UNC Wesley family.