Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” John 4: 28, 29
I picked up my seven-year-old from school, her tiny frame weighed down by her pink-and-green backpack. It was time to whisk her off to swim lessons. We got off at the club’s parking lot and started making our way to the pool. I looked behind me to see my little girl, still lugging her impossibly heavy school backpack to the pool. I quickly reminded her to leave the backpack in the car and off we went to her class.
That little incident reminded me of a passage I'd been meditating on – the woman at the well in John 4. She came to draw water at mid-day, perhaps calculating that no one else would be around. Maybe she was tired of hearing the sniggers, sideways glances and the snide comments from the other women.
But then she met a Perfect Stranger who told her everything she had done. A perfect stranger. Who despite his perfection didn’t condemn her. He simply showed her that only He could fill that cavernous void within her. Full of excitement she ran back into town to speak of the encounter. Without a course in apologetics or a degree in theology, she was on her first missions’ trip!
But, first, there is one phrase in the passage that we perhaps gloss over: “Leaving her water jar.” The woman who had come with the intent of drawing water from the well, left her jar behind. Perhaps it was forgetfulness. Maybe, she was caught up in the emotions of the moment. I prefer to think that that phrase was not thrown in there by accident. CH Spurgeon refers to the moment where she left her pot as “blessed forgetfulness which comes of absorption in a holy design”
I love the word here: absorption. She was so captivated by Jesus that she forgot all her other problems. She forgot her past, her shame, her supposed inadequacy. She even forgot her original mission of carrying water home.
That makes us consider the pots that we may be carrying. Maybe it’s a pot of bitterness that started off mostly empty but has grown heavy over time. Maybe it’s a pot of insecurities filled with I-can’ts. Maybe it’s a pot of envy where we begrudge someone else’s happiness. Maybe it’s a pot of our own efforts to prove ourselves worthy. Maybe it’s a pot of guilt and shame that we haven’t allowed God to redeem.
Like my little girl with her giant backpack, carrying our pot has become so habitual that we have forgotten it’s even there. But it is – and, eventually, we bear the brunt of the burden. The pot slows us down and our arms get tired. The water sloshes all around and gets us messy. God is urging us to drop that pot. He wants us to give up our self-absorption for His holy design. He is waiting patiently by the well, willing to quench our thirst with streams of Living Water. But we have to unclench our grip on that pot. Jeremiah 2:13 says that we have dug up for ourselves broken cisterns that can’t hold any water, instead of allowing ourselves to be filled with the Living Water.
But Jesus invites us to lay down the things that encumber us and be completely absorbed by Him.
Heavenly Father, Thank you for convicting me about the “pot” that I need to bring to you. You know how much I need to be filled by You so I don’t go back to my old broken cisterns. Lord, fill me with those overflowing streams of living water. In Jesus’ name. Amen
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