Sometimes, my soul feels parched as an old, dry bone.
During such times, I’m vulnerable to destructive messages, such as:
- I messed up and did_______________ AGAIN! Why can’t I “get IT right?”
- What I’m doing—or who I am—doesn’t matter.
- I’m not __________________ enough!
- I’m JUST a _______________________.
- If only I could be like ___________________.
- How can I fix me to be accepted by ____________________?
- I SHOULD ___________________________.
- I’m not lovable.
Can you relate? I suspect many answered, “Yes!”
Most of my favorite Jesus stories involve his interactions with women. Throughout history and in many cultures, women have been marginalized. This was certainly the case when Jesus, who was fully God and fully human, walked on this earth. Jesus valued women. He elevated and often advocated for them.
One of my favorite stories is about a woman, identified only as “a woman from Samaria” or “the woman at the well.” It tells the story of one whose soul was bone dry. (You can read the account in John 4:5-30. You may also like reading a commentary for cultural context.)
This lady probably was familiar with the destructive messages noted above, which often plague us females living in the 21st Century.
Whatever the details of her unique history, the encounter the woman from Samaria had that day with Jesus—as well as her understanding of the metaphor he used to convey a profound spiritual truth—changed the trajectory of her story.
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 NRSV)
Biblical stories are often filled with the mystery of inconclusive endings—such as: What happened during the remainder of this woman’s life? What impact did her encounter with Jesus have on those whose lives touched hers? What did family and neighbors say about this woman at her funeral?
Mysteries aren’t a problem for me. Honestly, I love a good mystery. I embrace the challenge of trying to put clues together, imagining how what has happened connects to what is currently happening and how that connects with what is going to happen.
I’ve come to view my journey of faith as a mystery. I don’t capture clues correctly every time. I don’t grasp quickly the nuance of every divine metaphor. But, as I travel deeper into the mystery, I become a bit better at discerning messages, plus more and more convinced, my story is being written by an all-knowing, always good author.
Today, if you identify with the description of a “parched soul,” and believe the metaphor Jesus gave to the Samaritan woman at the well, my prayer is that you will be lead to God’s “flowing stream,” for a soul-satisfying swig of “living water.”
If you’re wondering about the relevance of Jesus, or even if you’re a skeptic, my prayer is that you will have your own personal encounter with the one who promised a disenfranchised, hurting woman spiritually-satisfying, emotionally-quenching “living water.”
Blessings on your journey…
P.S. One of the mysteries I enjoy is wondering who reads the Listening on the Journey… blog posts. More than once, I’ve been surprised! Even though I don’t know every reader, I feel a heart link to each one. I pray often for you, believing even though we may have never met, God knows who you are, and God cares about your journey.