In the summer of 2014, my husband came home from his 9-5 job for the last time. The first month afterward, we were in a frenzy, and I remember living in a lot of fear. How could I not? Our main and only source of income had disappeared.
A month later, in the first few weeks of July, I peed on a stick. I knew I was pregnant before I even opened the pregnancy test. I sighed the minute those two lines appeared. I walked into the kitchen holding the fate of our future in my hands and in my belly, and I cried into my husbands arms. I had never held fear like I did in that moment. Simultaneously filled with love and terror.
In short, the Lord worked it out. The surprise child I was afraid to bring into the world filled a place in our home that was meant just for him.
I wasn’t planning to read about the woman at the well this morning. I had read about Saul and his battles and God’s triumph and victory within Isreal. But instead, I found myself in John 4.
I’m not overlooking the red letters in this passage, but I keep seeing this woman’s words. In response to Jesus, she says these things:
“You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”
“Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock?”
“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
“Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Jesus is gentle with her. He doesn’t chastise her for being unaware of to Whom she speaks. I encourage you to go to this passage and read it in its entirety.
In the later months of 2014, I was very much full of faith. We had nothing else. We couldn’t trust anything but the God who was giving us everything we needed. That time was both the hardest and most faith-filled. Sometimes, as hard as it is to admit, I even wish I could go back.
Today, I am much like her, the woman at the well. I have a lot of words to say to God about how things are, how they will be. I often tell Him what I think, whether it be about Him or about me or what should be happening in my life.
Sometimes I speak without consideration for Him. I pray without consideration. I decide without consideration.
I overlook my King, who is often right in front of me.
After the woman’s conversations with Jesus, she goes home and spreads the word. It’s true that she was a woman living in sin. She was not a reputable woman. Unbeknownst to her, she had just met the man who would pardon every sin in her life.
There’s one line in verse 21 that knocks me a over a little. Jesus says to the woman, “…believe me.” It’s something I feel within my whole being often. I feel God saying, “Janelle, believe Me. Just believe Me.”
But Jesus, how will you do this? How? What will we do when ____? I have this idea, can You bless it and make it real? Jesus, can you hear me? Why do you seem to be silent?
I am often talking. Using big words, saying eloquent sentences, writing in my journal, conversing with God. But really, it’s just me talking at Him. I don’t always listen. I listen for what I want to hear, or I ignore what He has already said. I get frustrated with the truth I already know because it doesn’t align with what I want. I bargain. I plead.
I just need to believe Him. Just believe that He is who He says He is. That He will fulfill promises and walk with me and give me everything I need to give Him glory.
I don’t always want to believe God. I end up being like her, the woman at the well, who talks to God like He isn’t really who He says He is. And then God tells her, “I am he,” and she is changed. She goes and tells her people who the Messiah is. And the people are changed.
It’s a reminder that I do not have to arrive in God’s presence with perfect, good faith. Great faith grows in time; trials make it deeper, the every day struggles make it long-lasting.
It’s hard to believe God. But I do get to try, and I think that’s a sweet privilege.