I giggle that months ago the Lord placed this idea of refreshing on my heart. It has been bouncing around my head and spirit ever since. And as it has bounced, life has “bounced” as well. So here I am today and I find myself feeling a bit weary… pulled in many directions, distractions vying for my attention, emotions bubbling (some small, some overwhelming), needs accumulating, lists growing, allergies tickling (because I just got back from Texas and it is already spring there), my body tired, and somedays my heart just feeling very, very weary. I am sure someone else can relate. Winter can feel long. Winters of the heart longer.
Today we are going to spend some time with the woman at the well. I know this is a well known passage. One that feels quite familiar to many. His Word is active though and, while it never changes, it is always new and fresh. Today I want to get a little more visual with you. I want to look at the passage with a laser focus on this idea of refreshing. Be sure to open your Bible to this passage (John 4:1-28) and read it in its fullness. This is His Word… this is Truth. I want to begin though with watching this passage through the lens of a scene from The Chosen. It is rooted in scripture but a dramatization all the same. Ask the Lord to open you mind, your hearts, your senses to experience this encounter in a fresh way…
[Pause and watch the video from The Chosen]
I don’t know about you but watching this reminds me that a picture truly is worth a thousand words. The visuals, the expressions on each face, the sounds, the breeze blowing. I can even imagine the smells of the hot dusty air. The first time I watched this scene, I’ll confess that I wept. It felt raw and real and the emotions tangible. This is more than a story. This was a real encounter. This meeting at the well a divine appointment between Jesus and a woman trapped in a life of shame, hurt, disappointment and weariness.
He desires us to see, hear, and understand deeply the Truth found in this encounter at the well. I trust completely that the Lord can, will and does use only the scriptures before you to speak to your heart. You don’t NEED my words but you all know me well and so you know…I do have a few words. So bear with me as I share with you 4 Truths about refreshing that the Lord so sweetly revealed to me through this passage…
Jesus Understands our weariness…
The passage begins by telling us that Jesus himself was weary. He left Judea headed to Galilee after making and baptizing more disciples. Ministering and pouring out to those who had gathered. He left because He knew the Pharisees were threatening Him or better stated, threatened by him. He had just walked approximately 40 miles to arrive at the well. He was understandably tired, thirsty, and he had sent his disciples to find food so we can assume he was hungry as well.
Jesus understands weariness…
He spent 40 day in the wilderness alone, famished all the while being tempted.
He wept when his friend Lazarus died.
He wept tears of blood in the garden as he prayed.
He asked his Father to take the cup from Him.
He suffered unto death for us on the cross.
He understands what it means to be tired, hurting… weary to your very soul. Hear that again. The son of God… God made flesh…. Emmanuel… HE UNDERSTANDS our weariness. He understands us.
He meets us where we are…
The well at which Jesus meets this weary woman is at a crossroads. The road to and from it was the shortest way from Judea to Galilee. However, it was not the way most Jews of that day, especially a Rabbi, would take because it went right by Samaria. And to a Jew, Samaritans were to be avoided… always. Yet the scripture tells us Jesus NEEDED to go to Samaria. This is the road Jesus walked. This was the will of His Father to meet this real, wounded, weary Samaritan woman and refresh her.
It’s the middle of the day. The sun is overhead and hot. This women is doing what she does everyday… carrying the burdens she carries everyday. She arrives to the well when everyone else has already drawn their water in the cool of the morning. Just like she does every time she goes to the well, she avoids facing her shame and weariness reflected in the eyes of others. She is doing what she has always done. She is resigned to the fact that there is no changing the state of her heart or her circumstances.
In the ordinary, everyday drudgery of her life, Jesus arrives. He comes to the well, sits, and waits for her. She did not have to seek him on a mountain or a temple. Jesus came to her! Make no mistake… This is true for YOU as well… He meets YOU where we are. God is spirit He is here
We don’t have to “earn it”…
I have been thinking about this part a lot as I have pondered this passage and the scene we just watched. There was no transaction that led to the woman’s refreshing. Jesus did not ask the woman for anything except a drink of water for himself. There was no… “If you do this then I will do this”. He didn’t say “your faith has made this happen’. He didn’t say “go and sin no more”. He is after transformation not transaction. So He simply yet powerfully did 3 things for this weary woman…
~ Offers her Living Water
~ Tells her who she is
~ And then tells her who HE is
Friends, He offers us the same!
The Living Water is yours to have. You need only ask. Hear that again… you only have to ask. He alone truly refreshes.
He knows the situation and state of your heart already… He knows and he still desires to refresh despite our doubt, hurt, sin, shame, anger, grief… you can fill in the blanks and continue the list. The Truth is He already knows…. YOU!
He also wants you to know the fullness of who HE is. For the woman at the well he revealed Himself (for the very first time) as the long awaited Messiah. The one that would tell them all things. The one who would make all things right. He is also so much more… Messiah, Redeemer, Savior, Healer, Protector, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Mighty Counselor, Emmanuel, Friend. Who do you need? What are you seeking? He is the Living Water. He is the only and great I AM. He is all you need!
I was struck at the end of the scene by the woman as she left the well. What a change!! She was completely refreshed and yet her jars were left behind…abandoned and empty. In Jeremiah 2:13, the Lord tells us of 2 evils His people have done when he says,“they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water and have dug their own cisterns that are broken and cracked.” Or in this case broken, cracked clay jars… any thing or person other than Jesus that we believe can bring true refreshing. Don’t settle for a jar that is broken or cracked. It cannot hold water. It does not bring true refreshment. Drop your jars, my friends! True refreshment for your weariness can only be found through the Living Water. You only need to ask!
The result is worship…
I can’t be the only one who, at the end of the scene we watched, smiled and wanted to cheer! I love how the woman rejoiced and danced. The smile on Jesus’ face as He watched her made my heart leap. Oh, the transformation! Let’s be clear though… the transformation was not in her circumstances. They were still the same. The transformation was in her heart.
That is my desire today. I cannot change the circumstances in your life that are causing you to be weary. But my prayer is that you will discover tools and practices that will allow you to meet with Jesus. Experience Him more fully, see Him more clearly, and hear him speaking to you. I pray you will be refreshed by both His Spirit and His Truth
The woman came to the well carrying the burdens of her world. She met Jesus. He spoke. She responded and she was free to worship in “spirit and in truth” despite her circumstances
Spirit and truth. Her spirit refreshed by the truth of who God is, the truth that He sees her, the truth that He meets her in her brokenness and that He alone offers the only water that refreshes.
“Seek Him and you will find Him” (Matthew 7:7)
Friends, He is waiting. Waiting to meet with you and offer you refreshing from a well that springs eternal. He desires to turn your weariness into worship. He promises!