Labels, Longings, And Living Water - Faithful

Labels, Longings, and Living Water

Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” (John 4:7-10, NLT)

It is common for people to have labels placed on them, either by others or self-imposed. Some labels are harmless and fun while others can be hurtful and damaging. Perhaps you identify as the humorous one or a boss lady, or possibly something more sensitive such as feeling unwanted or overwhelmed. These labels are often birthed out of childhood stories that are marked by abuse, unrealistic expectations, or loss due to death, moves, or divorce.

As a young girl who fell in love with sports, my desire to achieve and accomplish became a label that helped to mask the wound of feeling unwanted. My pursuit for love and acceptance was awarded in newspaper headlines and classroom report cards that praised my work ethic and cautioned my ‘frequently talks too much’ friendly demeanor. If I could make the grade, win for the team, and be the good girl that everyone loved and God was happy with, I wouldn’t feel the sting of rejection…or so I thought. The thing about labels is that they lie and are hollow.

What would you say are some of your labels?

Jesus, a Jewish Rabbi, demonstrated the power of grace and truth when he intentionally engaged with a woman with many labels. Despite the cultural and religious barriers that should have kept him from interacting with her, Jesus sat down with her and offered her the living water she needed. Through this encounter, the woman’s story was transformed, and she became a witness to others of the power of redemption.

As you delve into her story, observe how Jesus intentionally steps into her moments of anguish, doubt, and longing in order to deliver hope and contentment to meet three specific needs.

  1. Physical needs (vs. 10-15): Jesus’ humanity is evident in his need for water and his tiredness. Our own physical needs, such as hunger, thirst, and rest, remind us of our limitations and our dependence on God.
  2. Relational needs (vs. 16-18): When Jesus asks the woman about her husband, he knows this topic is connected to her pain and sense of security. Although we don’t know the details of her past, we understand that she has experienced significant relational loss, possibly due to death or divorce.
  3. Spiritual needs (vs. 19-24): Jesus reveals himself to her as the Messiah, fulfilling her spiritual longing. This is the first time Jesus reveals his deity which speaks volumes to his heart. He seeks out all people in order to show them grace.

One unexpected encounter full of need, grace, and truth, and her story changed forever. I love how it says that she left her water jar and ran back to tell everyone in her town about the Savior that changed her life. She didn’t have to take an apologetics class or memorize the Torah before she was able to tell others about him. Her story of loss and rejection turned into her declaration of life and redemption.

We have a Messiah who seeks us out, sits down with us, and offers us cold, satisfying, and living water. As we drink deep of his goodness, may we leave our old labels behind and share with the world our stories of redemption by simply saying, “Come and See.”

Reflect: Read John 4. What labels were put on you as a child? How might those labels impact your felt needs, motives, and behaviors? Ask God to redeem your loss and rejection and give you a “Come and See” story to share with others.

From the Book:

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By Jacki C. King


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