Years ago I knew a Christian counselor who often repeated one key phrase. “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” Then he would add: “If you’ve got a lot of secrets, you’re really sick.”

John 4 tells the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well. He caught her attention with the promise of “living water” that would quench the thirst deep within her soul. When finally she asks for that “living water,” Jesus responds by saying, “Go, call your husband and come back” (John 4:16). On one level it appears that Jesus is being insensitive. Why bring up anything about her past? Is Jesus trying to embarrass her? The answer is no. But his instruction to call her husband made her very uncomfortable. She doesn’t want to go into detail so she simply replies, “I have no husband” (v. 17). Now that was true but it wasn’t the whole story. She knew she was hiding the truth but what she doesn’t know is that Jesus knows it too. This woman has had five husbands and the man she is living with currently is not her husband. In a sense this is the ultimate reality check.

Does Jesus love this woman? Yes, he does. He knows the truth and still offers her eternal life. Here is the wonder of God’s grace. Only someone who loves you can look at your past without blinking. Real love means knowing the truth about someone else and reaching out to them anyway.

Don’t miss the kicker to the story. “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ’He told me everything I ever did’” (v. 39). Once the woman’s secrets were out in the open, she was set free and a revival broke out. 

Oh, the blessedness of having nothing to hide. If you are ready to be rid of your secrets, you can be set free.

Heavenly Father, help us not to fear the light of your searching gaze. Thank you for loving us so fiercely that even our secrets cannot turn you away. Give us the courage to bring into the open those hidden things that keep us from you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.