September 1, 2010
If You Only Knew
"If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water" (John 4:10 New Living Translation).
Friend to Friend
What happens when someone says to you, "If you only knew"? I don't know about you, but it makes me want to know. Jesus spoke those same enticing words to the gal with the empty bucket he met at a well in Samaria. He was engaging her and inviting her to draw water from the springs of life. He was stirring her curiosity.
While she focused on drawing physical water, Jesus continued drawing her closer to living water. The water in Jacob's well would alleviate physical thirst temporarily. The water in Jesus' well would quench spiritual thirst eternally. Jesus' living water would fill this empty woman with overflowing joy.
So she asked him, "Give me this water!"
Wait a minute. Did she say, "Give me that water?" Isn't that what Jesus asked from her? As Jesus often does, He asks us to give him something only to offer something better in return. That is the very definition of redemption.
Jesus lifted the curtain on the story of her life and the acts of the saga were exposed before her. Count them 1-2-3-4-5. Five husbands plus one extra. We don't know why she had been divorced five times. In those days, a man could divorce his wife if she went outside the home with her hair unbound or even spoke to a man in public. He could divorce her if she burned the bread or he decided that he just didn't like her any more. It didn't take much, but whatever the reasons, this was a woman who had been abused, misused, and tossed away by men she had trusted and loved.
This also gives us a hint that she was not a young woman. It takes time to experience that much rejection. No doubt the years of heartache and broken dreams were etched on her sun-scorched face. Like the rising bucket full of hope from the well of each new marriage, her dreams spilled out on the parched grounds of divorce - five times. Her longing for love left her empty and led her to yet another poor decision - man number six.
Jesus spoke to her of her past without a hint of condemnation or rejection in his voice. As a matter of fact, he applauded her honesty. He moved the conversation to a personal level, and took one step closer to the heart of the matter … the matter of the heart. Jesus always moves the conversation to a personal level when He is about to set someone free. And He was rattling the prison keys.
What do we do when confronted with such naked truth about ourselves? We often try to change the subject. That's exactly what this woman did. She wanted to get the spotlight off of her and onto some theological or religious debate. "Let's don't talk about me," she seemed to say. "Let's talk about religion. What about the poor people in third world countries who have never heard the gospel? How can God allow bad things to happen to good people? What about other religions? Let's talk about that."
Jesus always brings the subject back to me … to you. That's what is important to Him. Jesus answered her question by explaining that God is more interested in how we worship than where we worship. He is more concerned with our relationship with Him than our religious practices. And friend: that is what He wants from all of us. God is not impressed with religion. Jesus wasn't impressed with the Pharisees. What God wants is to enter into a personal on-going relationship with us through His Son.
Would you say that you have a religion in your life, or that you have a personal relationship with Jesus? I'm going to leave us by the well to think about that for the rest of the day. We'll join Jesus and the Samaritan woman in my next devotion.
Dear LORD, forgive me when I get off track and start acting all religious. Forgive me when I focus on religious activities more than my relationship with You. I love you, Jesus. My greatest desire is to draw closer to You.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Would you say you have a religion or a relationship with Christ?
Would you say you feel more comfortable working for God or spending time with God?
Which do you think God really wants from you? I'd love to hear your answer. Visit www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and share your thoughts.
More from the Girlfriends
Today's devotion was taken from Sharon's new book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered. We tend to read the gospels with our twenty-first century eyes. But when we understand how oppressive the culture Jesus stepped into was against women, we begin to understand just how radical Jesus' ministry, messages, and miracles were at setting women free. He risked His reputation to save theirs…and yours. Read this book and you'll fall in-love with Jesus all over again.
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.