Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Jacob's Well

The sun was high in the sky as Jesus and his disciples made their way through Samaria and stopped in the village of Sychar. There was a parcel of land that was given to Joseph by his father Jacob where Jacob’s well was located. It was here that Jesus, wearied by his journey, decided to take a rest while his disciples went into town to get some food.

Netanya* went about her daily chores absent-mindedly.  Emptiness consumed her life, and she saw no hope for the future. Her life was filled with bad decisions that had led her to dead ends. With a heavy heart, she picked up her water bucket, a chore she did every afternoon, and headed up the hill towards Jacob’s well. The weight of her spirit seemed to weigh her down physically. How had she gotten here?  Where had it all gone wrong? Hungry to be loved, she had trusted her heart to men who only used her for their own gain. Who could ever love this wretched person when she could hardly love herself? She lamented her life, wishing she had never been born.

Oblivious to the people around her, she began to draw water from the well when her thoughts were interrupted by a man’s voice, “Draw me a cup of water.”

Netanya looked around to see who this Jew was speaking to. Jews never associated with Samaritans. “Draw me a cup of water,” he repeated.

Netanya wasn't sure what to do. Should she obey, or turn around and leave, her heart beat rapidly inside her chest. What did this man want from her?  Didn't she already have enough troubles of her own? But something inside her wanted to stay, so she dipped her cup into her bucket and handed it to him.

“You do not know the gift I have for you,” Jesus said after taking a cool sip of water.

“Gift?” she thought. “What was this man talking about?” But before she could respond, he continued.

“If you knew who I was, you would ask me for living water and I would give it to you.”

Netanya was confused by his comment. How could this man draw water without a bucket? Was he greater than her father Jacob? “The wells you have been drawing from will always leave you empty—but if you draw from the well I offer, you will never be thirsty again,” Jesus declared.

Curious, she asked, “Where can I get this living water you speak of, for I am tired of walking up this hill every afternoon?” Netanya was thinking of the physical labor of the chore, but He was speaking to her about the heavy burden she carried with her daily.

“Go call your husband,” Jesus directed her.

“I do not have a husband,” Netanya responded as the weight of her reality seemed more than she could bear.

“You speak the truth, for the man you are living with is not your husband. In fact, you have had five husbands,” Jesus told her.

Her cheeks grew hot with embarrassment, “I have not lived an honorable life,” she confessed. But His eyes were not condemning her, but were tender and full of love and kindness.

“I am He that you have been seeking. I will never leave you wanting. Follow me and your cistern will never be empty,” Jesus promised.

The Samaritan woman dropped her bucket in ecstasy and ran back into town proclaiming that He had come. The One they had been waiting for. “He told me my life story. It is He I tell you, the Messiah.”

The Samaritan woman met Jesus at Jacob’s well that fateful day. The meeting was not one she planned, but one He knew about long before she was born. The appointment was not by happenstance. She didn't go to the well that day seeking to find the answer to the darkness that dwelt within her, and yet, she found herself face to face with The Answer. 

The Samaritan woman came to the end of herself and had nowhere else to turn? She knew that something had to change but had no clue as to how or where to begin. I have met many women who were desperate for answers as to why their life was the way it was. They were tired of toiling and struggling in an existence that offered them little to no hope of anything ever changing. They had been in multiple relationships that had left them thirstier and hungrier than what they were before. These women looked for their value, worth, and security in another person, but as we have read in the story of the Samaritan woman, there is no human well full enough that we can draw from and be filled.

One of my favorite stories in the bible is that of the Samaritan woman because you can read about where she’s been, all her choices, and when her life changed forever. Unfortunately, there are still other Samaritan women still walking around today who have yet to meet Jesus at the well.

The Samaritan woman came to the well that day weary in spirit and hungry for answers even if she didn't know where they might be found. She had come to the end of herself. Married five times, divorced just as many, and living with a man that wasn't her husband.

What can a human relationship offer that God can’t fill immeasurably more—a hope of Salvation from a life enslaved by deceit, emptiness, and a deep longing to know true love—an opportunity to drink from The Well that never runs dry and never leaves us thirsty. 

I have spoken to women who have jumped from one dead end relationship to another, thinking that the next one will bring them what they are looking for—someone to fill the hollowness in their soul. Someone who will make them feel accepted and loved. The only one who can give them this kind of fulfillment and healing is not walking on this earth, but He is ever present.

While listening to Beth Moore one night, she referred to Isaiah 61:1-2. I believe this is her signature verse for her ministry, and loved the promise it offers us. It reads:

The Spirit of The Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn.

After reading this verse, she asked the audience to turn to Luke 4:18-21, where Jesus himself opens the scroll to read this verse aloud to the people in the synagogue. It is a proclamation that this day has come in the form of Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the One who holds the key that sets the brokenhearted free. There is no other. He is the only source of true freedom—freedom to be delivered from the bondage that keeps us groping in the dark for fulfillment. Vengeance is His. He will avenge our past losses. He will comfort and mend our deep wounds. 

But do we trust Him enough to do it? It means that we have to relinquish ourselves to Him completely.  The change He is offering us is a stark contradiction to what this world and the desires of the flesh have to offer. Can we say, “No” to self and, “Yes” to Him? 

My desire is that Luke 4:18-21 become the banner for your life. Read it; ponder upon the words. Claim them as your own. Let these words sink deep into your soul until you believe what He says, and what He promises. Women have told me that they have attended church most of their lives, but never really knew God. They couldn't believe that what He said could ever be meant for them. "Robbery,” I say, to be kept from the most life giving truth they could ever hear.

 If you feel this way also Beloved, let me just end with saying that He came for you. Allow God to open the wellspring of living water upon the desert of your souls that you may flourish as the lush Garden of Eden for His name sake. 

In what ways can you identify with the Samaritan Woman?

What relationships have you been drawing from that have left you wanting?

How has the Lord shown His love towards you to let you know that you are a treasure to Him?

Pray with me~
Father God, we are so privileged to have an awesome God who can meet us at our own Jacob’s well. Thank you God that you do not leave us as you've found us but desire greatly to impart Your gift of life to us.Thank you God that you fill our hunger and quench our thirst with Your everlasting truth and love. We do not have to walk around down cast with our eyes to the ground for You are the One who lifts up our head. Glory be to Your name that in all things we can be filled to overflowing with your love. Father God, we ask You now that You would heal our broken hearts, deliver us from our prison walls, and avenge our lost days. Turn our mourning into dancing as we rejoice knowing that we have been freed from our bondage. Amen.

Memory Verses~
"For He satisfies the hungry soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." Psalms 107:9

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds." Psalms 147:3

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." I John 8:32

"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." I John 8:36

*For the purpose of telling the story about the Samaritan woman, I chose a name to give her. There is no biblical reference to indicate her name.