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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

LXXIII IF THOU KNEWEST THE GIFT OF GOD

John iv.10.

We usually notice in this story the great words of Jesus -- perhaps the deepest and richest series of utterances that have ever fallen from human lips. Yet it is almost as striking to notice the attitude of mind in which the woman remained throughout these wonderful scenes. She seems to have been entirely oblivious of the situation, and unaware that anything great was going on.

Jesus speaks to her of the living water, and she thinks it must be some device which shall save her coming with her pitcher to the well. Then Jesus looks on her with infinite pathos and says: |If you only knew the gift of God, and who it is that is now speaking to you!| But she does not know, and shoulders her pitcher and trudges home again, reporting only that she has seen some one who appeared a wonderful fortune-teller, and never dreaming that the greatest words of human history had been spoken to her, and her alone.

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If thou knewest the gift of God! -- to have had one's opportunity in one's hands and to have let it slip; to have had the Messiah sitting by you and not to have recognized Him; to have thought it just a commonplace day when the most sacred revelations of God were occurring, -- that is about the saddest confession that any one can make. And yet, that is what might happen to any one any day. No one can be sure when the great exigencies of life are likely to occur. He looks forward to great things to be done in some more favoring future, and, behold, the insignificant incidents of to-day are the greater things which he does not discern. He looks forward to the discovery of God in some difficult intellectual achievement, and meantime the daily task is full of revelation, and as he wakes to the morning the new day stands by him and says: |If you only knew the gift of God, and who it is that speaks to you today.| And at last perhaps he begins to realize that the ordinary ways of daily life are the channels of God's revelation, and then there

|Comes to soul and sense
The feeling which is evidence

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That very near about us lies
The realm of spiritual mysteries.
With smile of trust and folded hands,
The passive soul in waiting stands,
To feel, as flowers the sun and dew.
The one true life its own renew.|

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