” But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” – John 4:14 NASB
Do you know people who struggle to forgive themselves and carry the guilt of their past constantly with them? That guilt seems to dictate their every decision and holds them back like prison bars preventing an inmate from escaping the confines of his cell. Most of us could probably identify a few people like that. They seem to struggle in life, not always in the most obvious ways. In some cases, you would not notice their inner struggle unless you paid close attention. In others, the signs are obvious. They walk with shame and guilt on their faces, trying to hide from others and even trying to hide from God. If they can, they avoid people altogether who may know about their past failures and sins. Unfortunately, there are many such people out there in the world feeling guilty, ashamed, and unworthy of God’s love.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus met such a person. It was a Samaritan woman. Her past was tinted with mistakes, shame, broken marriages, sexual immorality, and adultery. She was the talk of the town. Over the years, she suffered her fair share of public shame, having people talk behind her back and at times openly about her “situations”. One day, around noon, a quiet time to go draw water from Jacob’s well, Jesus stopped next to her, weary from his journey and asked her for a kind gesture: “give me a drink”, he said. Recognizing that he was a Jew, she marveled that he could ask such a thing from her. From there began a conversation that would forever change this woman’s life, only she did not know it. At first, she could not really understand him or his explanations much less why he was talking to her.
Indeed, here she was at the well at the sixth hour purposely to avoid any contact with the ‘chatterboxes’ of her town and be ridiculed once more. She wanted to draw water in peace. However, what she truly needed was far different. Every contact of the past years with other villagers seemed to be a reminder of her misfortune, her bad decisions, and her failed attempts at love and marriage. She certainly did not want this conversation to take the same turn. As a result, we can imagine that she had made every effort to remain isolated from society. Yet here was this Jew who suddenly wanted water from her and who seemed to be a mystery as he offered her living water.
For a second, the Samaritan woman must have thought that Jesus was crazy. How was he going to give her living water when he had no bucket to draw water with? Despite her questions and responses, Jesus insisted that he could give her living water, better water than she had ever tasted before. She did not realize that he was speaking about the Spirit (John 7:37-39).
Jesus answered and said to her,” Everyone who drinks from this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give shall never thirst, but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14
This woman did not know where Jesus would find that water to offer her a drink nor what was so special about this water but she came to realize that she wanted it. She had been experiencing a void that no one could understand but Jesus understood and He had the remedy she needed. She did not know what this water would cost her but she was becoming desperate for it as the conversation went along. She deeply desired what Jesus was offering her. What’s more, this man even knew everything about it, things she had never told him and perhaps even things she had never told anyone. How was it that this man could see her? Truly see her. Jesus saw her layers of shame, guilt, pain, and desperation for love. He saw an adulteress woman yet still approached and offered her a better way.
Jesus saw her!
He saw the good, the bad, and the ugly. Still, listening to his voice the woman felt at peace, whole, forgiven, and she finally had hope. There was a certain tenderness in his voice no one could understand. When she realized that she was face to face with the Messiah, her joy was full knowing that He had drawn near to her and offered her life again. In a moment, she experienced a new birth, a new beginning, and her joy could not be contained so much so that she ran into town to tell those she could find about the man she had met.
I always think that after such an encounter, this woman of Samaria probably went home and kicked the man she was seeing from her house. Enough was enough! She was not going to look for love in the wrong places anymore, was not going to deal with sexual immorality anymore and she certainly would not hide because of shame or guilt. She was free: free from her sins, free from condemnation and free from her guilt. Most of all, Jesus had just filled the void that was within her. After all, she realized that only He could do so. No other man or living being could fill this part of her that was meant exclusively for the Savior.
Like the Samaritan woman, maybe you know someone or perhaps you are that person who is afraid to draw near to Jesus. You feel ashamed, guilty, and like no one can forgive you of your past or your current situation. Perhaps like her, you felt like things got so bad that you thought: ‘well since I’m already in a mess, why does it matter anymore?’ and you continue in your “situation”. Perhaps, like her, you only come out when you know others won’t be around so you won’t have to deal with the ‘chatterboxes’ in your environment. Perhaps you even stopped going to church because you could no longer stand other believers talking about you and your mistakes. Oh, how I wish we could be sitting in my living room right now so I could lovingly hug you and encourage you to draw near to Jesus! Friend, Jesus does not want you to hide anymore. Instead, He longs for you to draw near to Him. He wants to offer you fresh living water that will satisfy your deepest longings and change the course of your life forever. He wants you to encounter Him as intimately as the Samaritan woman. Most of all, He wants you to come to know Him and have a brand new clean start at life. He wants to redeem you.
Friend, I do not know your situation right now. Maybe you are single and have had many relationships outside of marriage and you think God wants nothing more to do with you or He won’t meet your heart’s desire. Maybe like the Samaritan woman you’ve been married many times, you now live in a ‘situation’ and think there’s no way out so you stay in it. Whatever the case may be, Jesus is calling you, calling you to come home and calling you to draw near. So friend, will you draw near to him and let him draw near to you? If you let Him in, He promises to give you living water so you will become a well of water springing up to eternal life. Eternal life is his gift to you along with his Spirit. So come now, come as you are.
Redemption has a name and its name is JESUS.
I thank you for inviting me to draw nearer to you. Help me to release my guilt and shame to embrace your grace and forgiveness. I confess all my sins to you Lord, you alone know my heart. Cleanse me and wash me now. Thank you for forgiving me Lord especially when I have a hard time forgiving myself. Thank you for offering me living water and for the promise of john 4:14. Thank you for truly seeing me when others don’t seem to notice me. Thank you for taking the time to stop, pause and choosing to draw near to me. Most of all, thank you for Jesus, the only one who can satisfy my deepest longings, redeem me, and fill the void that is in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
1 John 1:9