Scripture Reading: John 4:1-30
This is a story that has always gripped me. I think I see something different every time I read it.
Jesus’ persistent compassion toward this Samaritan woman defies the conventional religious practices of the day. He’s breaking the rules. He’s choosing relationship over regulations. As I noted on Sunday, this woman had many strikes against her in the eyes of good Jews of the day. As a woman, she would have generally been perceived as second class. As a Samaritan, she was the picture of defilement, a half Jew, half Gentile heretic. But her past choices might be her biggest strike. This is what she keeps secret.
But Jesus supernaturally sees deep into her greatest place of shame … and refuses to reject her. Instead, he extends the amazing gift of living water. He offers something that bubbles up into eternal life.
Can you place yourself in her shoes? You are offered the chance of deep spiritual refreshment despite your past, despite all the labels that have reinforced your “otherness,” despite the barriers you put up.
He says to us, “I know the real you. And I love you anyway!”
Shame is the deep awareness that if certain things about ourselves were known then we would certainly be rejected. This fear creates barriers between us and other people and between us and God. In our minds, it’s what defines us. But this is not what defines us in the eyes of God. He does not see us through lens of our failures but through the lens of his great love for us.
When confronted God’s love toward people like us, we might find that our greatest response is to receive his love. The author, Richard Foster, defines worship as, “our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father.”
I invite you to begin this day with an awareness of your great need and God’s great provision. As we did yesterday, let me encourage you again to find a comfortable place to sit, turn your hands upward in your life, and open your heart to receive.
Play the following worship song and allow the streams of living water to bring refreshing:
Lord, I need you now.
I receive that living water that you have given me.
My heart overflows with gratitude.
Prayer for the Week
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.