The woman. The well. Me. And probably, you.

I was empty.

Completely and utterly empty.

It 2 years ago, in March to be exact.

I had been looking for satisfaction through work. Through success. Through status. Through self-image. Through people. I relentlessly worked and worked and worked, but my efforts had come up void.

I was exhausted, deprived, tired, empty.

That’s when I met Jesus.

 

I met Him. And suddenly, I didn’t feel empty anymore.

I felt full.. full to the brim. And satisfied. And complete.

And even, overflowing.

 

I tasted a love that is sweeter than this world ever offered me.

I found a gem that this world could never afford.

I met a Savior, a friend who loved me. Who knew me. Who pursued me. Who pardoned me.

 

There’s a story in John 4 about a woman. This woman was quite like me, and, chances are, quite like you. She was looking for fulfillment in all of the wrong places. In her case, she had five husbands.

She probably poured her heart and her soul out for these men. She probably waited on their every need, and gave them all that she could. I can picture her waking up every day, feeling empty, but convincing herself that eventually, this man would fulfill her. “A few more nights with him, then I will feel whole. A little more affection from him, then I will feel whole. A tad bit more work, maybe some gifts or time with him, then I will finally feel whole. Just keep going.”

I know because this was me. You may know, because maybe this was you.

I had everything I thought I wanted. I had the status I was striving for, I had worked my butt off to get a conference started, I had crazy friends, and I had the look I wanted. But I was still empty. And I told myself the same things. Just a little more, then I will feel whole. And satisfied. But that didn’t happen.

 

On this particular day, the woman went about her daily grind and went to the well to get some water.

(Probably equivalent to us going to the grocery store.)

My guess is that you know the rest of the story. She is at the well, and she sees a man there. He is rather rugged and dirty looking. He looks weary, and was sitting by the well. She expected to just ignore him, get her water, and then go back to her current man.

“Please give me a drink.” This man struck up a conversation with her. Surprised, and taken rather aback, I can picture the thoughts racing through her mind in the short moment before she responded.

“Is he talking to me? Really talking to me? I’m a woman. He’s a man. I’m a Samaritan. He’s a Jew. Doesn’t he know who I am, and what I do, like the rest of this town? Isn’t he repulsed by me? Why is he asking me this?”

I know that’s how I felt upon meeting Jesus.

“But I’m worn. I’m exhausted. I am good for nothing, now. I have no purpose. I have wasted my potential. I feel dirty. I feel used. I am broken. Why would Jesus want me?”

 

The crazy thing is that Jesus is about to tell this woman everything she has ever done. Jesus is about to tell this woman that he knows that she has had five husbands, and that she is not even married to the man she is living with now. Jesus is about to lay it all on the table.

Shocking, nerve-wracking, but comforting. Jesus knows exactly what he is getting himself into.

And then, Jesus offers her water.

“Anyone who drinks of this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.” John 4:13-14

 

He offers her some pretty great-sounding water. Symbolically speaking, of course.

Jesus clearly isn’t talking about physical, wet water.

I think Jesus may be inferring that this woman keeps coming back to this well, time after time, hoping to have her thirst quenched. But time after time again, even five times in, she is still thirsty.

Time after time again, this woman has gone to mere men to satisfy her. But even five times in, she is still thirsty. She keeps coming; she keeps hoping; she keeps leaving disappointed. Only to come back, yet again.

But Jesus says that his water is different. His water is evermore satisfying. He tells her that she would never thirst again.

The hole that she kept filling with water, the “water” of this world, will be filled.

She wanted that water.

I wanted that water.

I think it’s really quite intriguing that when the woman asks Jesus for the water, that Jesus responds with, “Go and get your husband.” I think Jesus knows that this woman’s “well” had been the men in her life. And now, after talking to Jesus, when the conversation ends and the woman leaves, the Bible states,

“The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see the man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”

The woman didn’t run back to her husband.

The woman ran, with a newfound boldness and a newfound worth, and told everyone she saw.

I image her running back, but not back to her old life. I can image her running back, in the dead heat of the day, with a newfound energy and zest. Running back to, yes, the same place, but into an utterly and totally different life. A life of joy, of peace, of hope, of worship. Why? Because she just met Jesus. She had just been redeemed. Her Lord knows everything that she has ever done, and instead of condemning her, he had loved her.

The heavy, heavy burden of shame on her shoulders had been replaced with grace. The identity as outcast had been removed, and now she is known as beloved. Friends, the emptiness inside of her was now no longer! She felt whole; she felt filled to the brim; she was overflowing! She felt alive, for the first time. Because she met Jesus.

 

She tasted the living water that Jesus offers.

And everything changed.

She didn’t return to her old well. She didn’t come trudging back to her old life. I don’t think the thought even crossed her mind!

Instead, she ran forward into all that Jesus had.

She probably told the mailman. The grocery store clerk. The telemarketer. The neighbors. The teacher. The dog. Anyone who was willing to listen.

 

I wonder what the woman’s life looked like after she met Jesus. I wonder where she stayed; I wonder what she did with her days; I wonder what she thought about.

One thing I know for sure, though, is that her life was not the same. Maybe her physical circumstances didn’t change much, but, her life changed.

 

As did mine.

My well was success. My well was looking good. My well was power. My well was relationships.

But I will never go back to those wells. Because they are all empty. Because the hole inside of my heart that I was trying to fill, was filled to the brim when I met Jesus.

I tasted a love that is sweeter than this world ever offered me.

I found a gem that this world could never afford.

I met a Savior, a friend who loved me. Who knew me. Who pursued me. Who pardoned me.

 

So why would I ever go back?

I’m running, full speed ahead, into the town. I’m going to scream it from a mountain, and tell it to the mailman.

Jesus redeemed me.

Her life would never be the same. Neither will mine. Neither will yours.

 

With much, much love. And a lot of joy. –Melissa

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