Lately I’ve been mulling over the story of the woman Jesus met at the well from John 4:1-42. Thanks to reading James recently a whole bunch of dots connected… follow me…
A woman of Samaria goes to draw water alone, and Jesus is there waiting at the well. He asks for water as a conversation starter but it’s just the beginning of a chat in which she will eventually acknowledge the fact that she’s a mess. Lots of men in her past and presently living with a guy… let’s be honest, we all know this is just the icing on the cake. We are all of us full of sin and understand very well we never have just one issue, but one is usually the gangway to much more. Some of our sins are much more public than others. We know this was a hard circumstance Jesus was getting involved in… a hard woman. We see people like this all around us all day every day. Full of messed up relationships and looking for love in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways. But it’s so important to not turn at this point and start thinking that you’re going to go out and be Jesus to these people simply because you have met him there once with your own jug for water.
It’s so important for me to remember…
I’m the woman at the well with my sin being uncovered. At no point in our story do we become Jesus sitting at the well waiting to give grace out to those who will come to draw water. We are forever the woman full of sin. We will always be her who can have our sin drawn up and brought to light, then run back to shout out that we know One who knows it all and still offers us life eternal.
She met up with the eternal mirror and relished in the beauty she saw in it… not beauty from herself but from the stronger grace in the reflection that was able to overcome all her ugly. Yes, she had sin abounding much. But He giveth MORE grace… and more… and more… never ending, grace upon grace.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25
That mirrior that James talks about really got me to thinking. Most of us see the reflection and want to get the makeup out and start creating a prettier image to look at. Where’s the coverup?! Where’s the mascara?!… Those dark circles and blemishes have got to go!!… But God says, Cleanse your hands, purify your heart, ….. draw near… be afflicted, mourn, weep, HUMBLE YOURSELF… get rid of the concealer and let’s deal with the blemishes you are so willing to hide and forget about. Stay long at that mirror and let the grace of God draw out the bad and purify it with His good. Look long into the mirror of the law of liberty and be freed from the sin buried and not yet dealt with.
I’m thinking that looking long actually means never walking away from.
How humbling it is to stay there, like the woman stayed at the well, and allow Christ to keep pointing out my awkward and shameful things filling my life. The woman at the well allowed the perfect mirror to bring things to the surface that no one else could deal with in such love and patience. She sat their under its’ stare and allowing the gaze to probe deeper and deeper until she knew who He was, and instead of drawing water she left her pot there and ran to draw in people. She didn’t clean up her act and by her new way of living show others that she could now be like Jesus and thus create a divine thirst in others… (heaven help us for thinking this!)… She went to the town and proclaimed confidently of how she was such a sinner and Jesus already knew it all… and wanted her anyway! She shouted out that He knew and was still waiting at the well to offer grace to anyone else who was humble enough to admit they’re a sinner just like her.
Let us all learn to say with this woman, “Come see a man who knows all of my sin and yet didn’t shun me… it must be the Christ!! Only He could love me despite who I am and what I’ve done! No one else can offer me a mirror that reflects both sin and grace at once!”
Be the woman who proclaims honestly that she’s a sinner and knows the One who drew up all her sin. Proclaim that you know the man at the well who offers so much more than concealer… He’ll purify. He’ll cleanse. You can’t do it yourself. You’ll just end up with a neverending need of more water… more concealer… But when Jesus draws things up he does it once and for all and covers us with grace for all time.
Don’t draw back from the mirror. Don’t draw back from who you find at the well. He’s not calling you to perfection, he’s calling you to himself. Leave your pot with him and reach for the eternal jug of grace waiting in his hand for you.
My testimony and yours remains ‘the sin stained wretch’ for the rest of our earthly days … but, a sin stained wretch covered by grace… always more grace. And tomorrow, still more… because the sin never goes away…. But neither does Jesus and His covering.
~Read John 4:1-42 along with the whole book of James and see what pops out at you!