I am a pretty routine person because I have found I function best this way. So, it is no surprise that my morning time with the Lord has a pattern. However, I never expect it to be boring. The Old Testament has become a place I spend a lot of time and I love to see how it ties to the New Testament.
Recently I read, “For my people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves – cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.” Jeremiah 2:13. I immediately thought of the story of the woman at the well that meets Jesus in the New Testament! It also hit me that the Lord calls this rebellion a double evil. Who wants to be found guilty of this? Sometimes I know that I minimize my sin and excuse it away. Calling it evil sounds a bit harsh, but that is exactly what it is.
Fast forward to the book of John, chapter 4. The page tells of Jesus and his disciples traveling through the town of Samaria. “Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, worn out from his journey, sat down at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water.” (John 4:6-7). The timing of all of this just makes me smile. He knew before time began that this moment would happen. He also knew the exact moment we would meet him too. Such an ordinary activity of that time turned extraordinary. Jesus asks her for a drink and she argues. “Jesus answered, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink’, you would ask him and he would give you living water.” (John 4:10). She argues again. “Sir, said the woman, you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. So where do you get this living water?” (John 4:11). She makes the assumption that this living water can be contained.
There isn’t mention of Jesus ever getting to his feet, just sitting at the well, staying close to the source. The conversation continues. “Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.” (John 4:13-14). Takes me back to the verse in Jeremiah about the “empty cisterns that cannot hold water”. You have to keep going back for more to avoid emptiness, to try and satisfy your thirst. Oh, how I have been there. You too?
So what do we do? We who are so much like the people in both the Old and New Testament. Let’s see what this woman did. “Sir, the woman said to him, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water.” (John 4:15). There is more to her response I suspect. “Go call your husband, he told her, and come back here. ‘I don’t have a husband’, she answered. You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’ Jesus said. For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” (John 4:16-18). Sounds like what she has been trying to fill her cistern with is men and it is not working. She is still empty.
The conversation continues between the two. “The woman said to him, I know the Messiah is coming (who is called the Christ). When he comes, he will explain everything to us. Jesus told her, I, the one speaking to you, am he.” (John 4:25-26) She doesn’t have a chance to respond because the disciples, who had gone into town to get food, arrive back at the well. I love this next part! “Then the woman left her water jar, went into town, and told the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah? They left the town and made their way to him.” (John 4:28-29). I don’t know about you, but to be faced with my sin, all I’ve ever done, is not something that would cause me to run and tell everyone. The overwhelming weight of shame would have/has had me doubled over. But not this woman. She leaves more than just her water jar it seems at the well. Coming face to face with the Messiah tends to do that to a person. That is the part that causes us to run to town.
“Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of what the woman said when she testified, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. Many more believed because of what he said. And they told the woman, ‘We no longer believe because of what you said, since we have heard for themselves and know that this is really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42).
Many were changed because the testimony of one woman who had tried to fill her life with what does not satisfy. She met the one offering living water. I also like how this woman, so much like us, who have lived a life full of empty sin, was used to introduce a town to the Savior of the world. If he can use her, can he not use us? I want more than anything to tell others about what I have found! I do not live an empty life anymore. I have left my emptiness at the feet of the Savior of the world, acknowledged that I am a sinner and surrendered to being filled with living water. It is a full way to live. Overflowing actually.