“Jesus said to her, everyone who drinks from this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. The woman said to him, sir give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” – John 4: 13
It was a quick rest stop. Sitting by the well, Jesus waits as His disciples run into town to find lunch. That’s when she arrives. A woman from the nearby town has come to draw water. At this time of day, in this heat, most avoid the well. But, for this woman, she prefers it this way. Quiet. Alone. No one to condemn and no one around to judge. You see, she is well known around town – but not in a good way. Her reputation and her story are full of shame.
Pretty soon we discover that this woman is thirsty, but not just for water – something more. Deep down she feels empty, unsatisfied. We learn that she’s been searching for satisfaction in others – in relationships. Over and over again, she’s tried to find what she believes will satisfy her heart and soul – but it all turns up empty. Her story is full of broken dreams and shattered hopes, baggage, and pain.
To Jesus, this comes as no surprise. He knows her story and He lays it all out. Five husbands and the man she now lives with is not her husband. Nothing is hidden from Jesus. There are no secrets here. And what does she do when she realizes that Jesus knows her story? Does she run or hide? Just the opposite. She’s excited. She wants to know more. It’s as if she’s somehow been set free.
But, how can this be? How is it possible that revealing all of her baggage before Jesus could possibly lead to feeling satisfied and filled? One word – Grace.
Instead of being judged or condemned, she is loved. And that right there is the Gospel of Jesus Christ – grace covering sin and love replacing shame. Only when we experience the love and grace of Jesus Christ will our hearts and souls be truly satisfied. No longer will we need to run and hide, because all that we’ve done has been covered by all that Jesus did. Finally, the deepest longings of our hearts can be filled.
If shame is the driving force of your life, you will never be satisfied. If you’re struggling with shame and unworthiness because of your story, stop running. Come before Jesus with your story and see what happens when your shame meets His grace. This is the satisfaction and joy our souls long for. This is the good news of the Gospel!
Adapted from a sermon by Senior Pastor, George Wright, Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C.