By Debbie Terry
Today, I have a question for you. Who are you?
Some of you are thinking about your jobs as the definition of yourself; others of you are thinking about your kids as a way of defining yourself; more of you are thinking about the things you’ve done, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and probably trying to figure out how to describe yourself so you don’t come across as a monster; still others of you only see yourselves through the eyes of those who have spoken into your life, sometimes those who have spoken have not done so to build you up, but rather to correct something or to tear into you.
Then, there are those of you who have believed the misinterpretations of you; those who hear all of the negative things said about you loudly echoing in your mind and you can’t get past that; and those of you who have fought your whole life to be heard, to be noticed, to be accepted as you are struggle the most in knowing who you are because most people have just tried to control you.
What if I told you that there is a Man who knows everything about you, everything you’ve done, every tear you’ve cried, and every pain you’ve felt and, yet, He still delights in you and wants to hang with you.
Previously, I wrote about restoration and how it is time for us to be realigned back with what is healthy, useful, and sound. What does this look like? Who did God create you to be? Who are you in His eyes?
In the book of John, chapter 4, verses 4-26 (go ahead, look them up, I’ll wait…), we get to see Jesus interact with the Samaritan woman at the well. This is one of my favorite Jesus encounters because, let’s face it, that woman was a mess and yet Jesus spoke to the depths of her being because He saw that SHE was the thirsty one.
Jesus was tired from His travels. He stopped at Jacob’s well for a drink, but He had to wait for someone to come draw the water out. People didn’t normally come to draw water out at this time of day, but a Samaritan woman came. He asks her for a drink. She is taken aback and tries to convince Him he should not be asking her for anything. Why is that? What narrative does this woman live that makes her wonder why Jesus is even speaking to her?
For one, Jesus was a Jew and Jews did not typically associate with Samaritans. Also, we find out later in the passage that this woman has had five husbands over the course of her life and the man she was living with currently was not her husband. This was considered exceedingly immoral! Now, it was also understood that a Jew could become ceremonial unclean if he used a drinking vessel that had been handled by a Samaritan because Jews considered all Samaritans “unclean”.
That is a lot stacked against this “random” meeting.
There is no doubt in my mind that this woman did not carry herself in a confident way. I am convinced she worked hard to keep to herself out of the way, seeing herself as a cast-off of sorts always having to fight to take care of herself with no one to see her worth and to value her in her inner most being. Clearly, her spirit was thirsty.
None of this intimidates Jesus and He works to engage her in a conversation that crosses all of these man-made boundaries and He invites her to drink His living water. Her response is reflective of her understanding of herself. She questions him about how in the world that’s possible and where he planned on getting this living water because she could not see it and even though the Samaritans had an understanding of “God”, they did not understand a Messiah who would take a personal interest in them.
Jesus entices her, He works with what she knows and gently pries open her heart to see that He is indeed much more than a teacher or a prophet, that He truly wants to minister to her broken spirit.
She decides she wants this living water, but then Jesus asks her to bring her husband. It seems like an odd request, but when you continue reading, you can see that this is symbolic. Jesus is asking her, gently, to deal with her false sense of self. He’s asking her to accept His living water to fulfill that thirst INSTEAD of the acts she has tried over and over and over to quench that have left her used and abused.
The Samaritan woman accepts this understanding, but true to her belief system, she still does not quite understand that Jesus IS the Messiah. But Jesus stays with her and I picture Him smiling a big smile bright with shining kind eyes and says to her “I am He.”
Jesus is not afraid of our unbelief. He WANTS to connect with us at the very center of our being. He wants to heal our hearts and souls not to force us to be who we are not, but to BECOME who He has always meant for us to be.
This worldwide pause and chaos, has given us all the opportunity to slow down and hear our own heart’s cries and to deal with our own issues and inadequacies. In this reset, I challenge you to hear the whisper in the wind of who God thinks you are.
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