In the messiness of our everyday lives, we often feel second-rate, until we have an encounter with the love and acceptance of an encourager. The Gospel of John tells just such a story of the beautiful interaction between the perfect man and an imperfect woman.
The Samaritan woman was bubbling over with excitement after talking to Jesus. You know how it is when you’ve made an important discovery; you want to tell someone about it. You stop what you’re doing and share your news—a Facebook post, a text message to a friend, or a phone call to your spouse. This woman rushed back to town, forgetting her need for water from the well. She searched for someone willing to listen to her about a man she had met, and to bring them to meet Him. She had found Jesus, who made her feel better about herself, and her life. Not only that, but He talked about being able to quench her spiritual thirst—that longing deep inside her to which she had not yet found an answer.
“Come and see a man who told me everything I did,” she exclaimed to her neighbors. Let’s pause here for a moment. If I had been in her shoes, I would not have admitted Jesus told me He knew all about my life. Surely her statement would lead to a response, something like: “What did He tell you?” And, then the Samaritan woman would have had to admit she’d had five husbands and was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. Her life was nothing to boast about in the culture of her day. Even by today’s standards, her life was messy.
So, why was the Samaritan woman so excited Jesus knew all about her? I think there are three reasons for her joy.
- She was not judged. Some people say Jesus exposed her wrongdoing. If so, I think the Samaritan woman would have responded with shame instead of pleasure. When our past misdeeds are exposed, it can be humiliating. In this instance, Jesus was not asking her to repent of her wrongdoing, as he did in encounters with other people.
Jesus did not condemn or try to humiliate the people he came to save.
The Bible tells us God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
- She need not fear. Jesus announced, when he started preaching and teaching, now is the time of God’s favor, not of judgment. The Samaritan Woman did not fear chastisement when she was with Jesus. Neither does Jesus want us to feel apprehensive when we meet with him.
We have nothing to worry about when we come to Jesus.
We do not need to hide the messiness of our past, or our present lives, behind a composed exterior.
- She felt loved. Jesus did point out the Samaritan Woman’s messiness. When we spend time with Jesus, it is inevitable that he will do the same with us. But, he still loves us. He calls us precious in His sight.
So, we can come and kneel before Jesus in prayer, and simply say, “Here I am, messy me.”
Jesus takes us as we are, and he takes our wrongdoing. He tells us we can get to our feet again, and proclaim to be children of God, pure and precious in His sight.
Has Jesus’ offer of love, favor and acceptance impacted your messy life? How can you share that encouragement with other imperfect people?
This week, I was thrilled to guest post for my friend Mandy Hill at We Are His Daughters. Visit us there: Does God Really Love Me?