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Living Water

Do you struggle with depression? Do you feel your life has very little or no value? Do you feel unloved, unworthy, or just tired of yourself?

So many people in our time wrestle with these issues. We live in a world where demands are high, where our identity is defined by how much money we make, what job we have, which family we are born into, where we live, and how we look. And these painful standards leave many failures in their wake.

But there is Good News! There is one for whom none of these things matter. There is one who loves unconditionally. And that one is the One who made you. He is more interested in your well-being than any other person you know.

I love to meditate on events in His life on earth that show this impartiality. I love to reflect on who he is. And while I do this, keeping my focus on Him, all those negative feelings disappear. All those condemning voices become quiet, and all the things that others think or say about me become unimportant. Perhaps I can take you on a journey to discover truth that will set you free from this prison of depression, of being down, of having these feelings of failure and worthlessness and emptiness about yourself or maybe even about others.

There are stories that have influenced me. There are also experiences that have moved me. But most importantly, there is a Person that has changed my life. Here is one of the stories about Him that has always touched me deeply:

It begins with a woman. Everyone in town knew her! She had a reputation and it was anything but good. She was trying to find her value in the approval of men. She fell in love with one and then another. In every human relationship there comes a moment of disappointment, and hers were filled with them. She was fooled again and again into believing that a man could give her value. But she would find that they were just taking what little she had from her, using her to get what they wanted. And she, the deepest part of who she really was, was getting starved and bruised and wounded. Her thirst was never satisfied.

No one saw her need for true love, for true acceptance. No one saw her hunger and thirst for meaning in life, for true life, for unconditional love. All they saw was an adulterous woman, who messed up other people’s lives. She was an easy one to be had. So they raised their noses, looked down on her, and knew what to gossip about.

Then one day she met someone who was different. She had gone to the village well to get water. It wasn’t the proper time to do it. Maybe she had slept past the time for a woman to do her chores, or perhaps she was avoiding the gossip of the other women. Regardless, it was now the hottest time of day, and with no one there, she could safely get her water.

When she reached the well, she unexpectedly saw a man sitting there. She recognized the stranger as one from the people who despised her culture and heritage. She braced herself for the worst. As she came to lower her jug, this stranger spoke to her, asking her to give him water. Why in the world would he do that? Why would he even accept water from her? He wasn’t even supposed to show that she existed. She was a woman; she was from the despised people and, on top of that, maybe the worst of her people.

She burst out, “How can you ask me for a drink?”

Then his gentle response: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” And then he continued to explain that the water he had to offer her would forever satisfy her thirst. It would actually produce in the person who drank it “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Oh, did she want to have that! No more returning to this well as a daily chore. Life would be so much easier. She had not understood the deeper meaning yet, but just those words sounded so good. But there was more to it. This man knew her deeper thirst, her search for true life. He knew what she really wanted and needed. She had lost so much searching for satisfaction, and what she found satisfied so little. And in the end, her thirst only grew. Now, suddenly, here was his offer; here was a promise that he could give her what she truly wanted.

Oh, she was happy for the moment! Anything, even a bit lighter than her miserable life would help. Yes. Please. Sir, I want this water. Give it to me!

His answer seems very out of place. It was completely unexpected, and a shock to her. He asked her to go and get her husband.

“I have no husband,” she replied.

“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Isn’t it interesting that the woman is not offended. She doesn’t run away and hide. She must have been touched by something. This man was not beating around the bush. There was no flattery, no smooth talk. He spoke straight to her. He seemed to know all about her, her sin, her shortcomings, her hunger for acceptance, her failure to live a good life. And for some strange reason he still talked to her. On one hand it must have been shameful to stand exposed. But on the other hand, isn’t it relieving to have someone know all about us, the good and the bad, and yet not turn away from us.

By now she realized that this man was not an ordinary man. He must be a prophet. How else would he know? He was a spiritual man, and so she asked spiritual questions. Maybe she wanted to impress him with the religious questions of the day. Perhaps she truly wondered what was true. Apparently he seemed to see through her. Did she really care about the answer? Was it just a superficial question to turn His gaze away from her soul? Regardless, He met her where she was. He answered her question by telling her that the time had come where worship was to be real and could be anywhere. The time of laws and regulations and places was over. From now on, worshipping God would mean doing so in Spirit and truth. It would be inward, a thing of the heart, and no longer an outward show.

She knew that when the Anointed One of God, the Messiah was coming. He would explain everything to her and her people. And then this man in front of her, revealed, that He was the One, “I, the one who is speaking to you- I am he.”

And her eyes are opened. She had met the One. She the despised one, the messed up one, the one who couldn’t get it all right, was right in front of her! The One, who she knew would make all things right, had revealed himself to her! She had received what she always wanted. She knew that now everything would be alright, and she did not have time to lose. For once in her life, she had GOOD NEWS!

At that moment, Jesus’ disciples came back from getting food from the market. They were taken aback that their master would stoop so low as to talk with this woman. Didn’t he know that she was one of the despised people? When the woman saw them come she left her jug. She forgot about the momentarily satisfying things, the short term pleasures. She had found the source of life, the source of joy. She had found complete satisfaction.

She ran all the way back to the village. She told them breathlessly to come and meet the man who had told her all she ever did. And they came. And this woman became the tool in God’s hands that she was meant to be. She was the one who brought them back to God, she the bad woman! But her life was changed in an instant. The One who mattered more than all others loved her– unconditionally. The maker of the universe, the God of heaven and earth had talked to her. All shame, all guilt, everything was now gone. The one, the only one who had never done wrong, loved her.

I love the way the story ends. The other people came too. They also saw and heard him. They recognized HIM. And they ended up saying, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know, that this man is really the Savior of the world.”*

We are surrounded by people who see and live surface level lives. Wouldn’t it be scary if they actually saw deeper, if they knew who we truly are? But wouldn’t it be also freeing to have nothing to hide anymore? The living God knows everything about us, and yet, he came not to condemn. He came to seek and find the ones with problems. He came to heal the broken-hearted, he came to love and forgive. He came to give his life for bad people like you and me, so that we could live in freedom from sin, fear and guilt.

If there is unconditional love anywhere, this is the place. This is the place where all our thirst for true life is satisfied and it is only here. When I found this love I became a completely changed person. The people closest to me experienced it the most. Maybe they had never seen deep inside, they didn’t know all the yucky stuff about me, but they knew that even what they saw on the surface had changed. I was free! I had nothing to hide. I was forgiven, accepted and loved by the One who mattered most. If God himself loved me so much, who was I afraid of? If the one, who knew me more than anyone else, wanted my best then why not just celebrate that and stop seeking approval from people? All I want now is to please Him, to love Him, because He first loved me.

There is joy when I sit in His presence and just soak in His love. There is a place of NO CONDEMNATION for those who are IN CHRIST JESUS!

If you want to know how to get to this place in your life, where you are accepted, loved and forgiven, where there is no fear and condemnation, then you should just start talking to Jesus. Tell him that you want Him. He will answer. To truly know him, not just from what others tell you, or from what you thought he is like, He has given us a way. Through His Word, the Bible, He has given us a way to get acquainted with who he is. If you need one, we can send you one. If you want to meet others who have found the source of satisfaction, joy and meaning, you are welcome to join our get-togethers where we think about the One who loves us and has given his life to clean up our mess.

You are also welcome to ask any questions. But the best thing is to go straight to the Source, HIMSELF! He is real and He is waiting for you!

* John 4
Stefanie Rendall  | August 6 2013
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have about this brand new life in Jesus