Read: John 4-5
“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now.” (John 4:16-18, NLT)
An entire book could be written about this story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar. For instance, a whole chapter could be written from this story just about the inclusiveness of the Kingdom of God. Another chapter could lay out a master blueprint for starting spiritual conversations with anyone from an authentic seeker to a theological weirdo. And of course, several chapters could present a compelling theology of worship from what Jesus says just in these few verses.
But at the end of the day, what you will find is that any encounter with Jesus doesn’t simply warm your heart to the Kingdom of God or perfect your evangelistic technique or inform your theology or just cram more spiritual information into your head, it touches the true condition of your heart. That is what happened to the woman at the well.
This sinful Samaritan sister is like a lot of people in our society today, even in our churches, who are attempting makeovers, not only of the physical kind, but of the whole-life kind. Like her, so many people are profoundly unhappy, dissatisfied, empty on the inside and are trying to make over their lives by filling that missing void. But any makeover effort that isn’t God-initiated, God-empowered, and God-focused, is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
In this woman’s case, she’d gone from man to man, hoping the next would be better—but each relationship left her increasingly dissatisfied, damaged and desperate. What Jesus was telling her was that she didn’t need a man to complete her. She didn’t need just a “relationship makeover”, she needed a new “water source” (John 4:13-15, NLT)—she needed a brand a new life.
This woman is really a mirror of our age. We go from experience to experience, job to job, purchase to purchase and relationship to relationship, hoping that that next great thing will be what finally brings us fulfillment. But here’s the deal: If you are looking to a thing, or job, or another person to fulfill you, you are putting an expectation on something or someone that they cannot meet. When you live in that kind of pattern, your life will end up as one long, futile attempt to find completion.
Remember the gushy line from the movie that all the romantics swooned over: “You complete me”? That sounds so romantic that it has to be true. It’s not! It is one of the Enemy’s great deceptions. What Jesus was saying to this Samaritan woman—and by extension, to you and me—is that only God can complete you. When you come to God for completion, then those unrealistic expectations that you have placed on position, possessions and people will be removed, and only then can you drink the living water and never thirst again.
The bottom line to this story—and to your life and mine—is simply this: We find real completion only in God.
“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now…. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” ~C.S. Lewis
What If God Took Over?
Honestly evaluate your expectations of possession, position and people. Are you looking to them as your primary source of happiness and fulfillment? If you are, bring those misplaced expectations to God, and ask him to fulfill the desires of your heart. He has promised to do just that! (Psalm 37:4-5)