I was the only woman in our group of friends who wasn’t invited to the gathering. The pain of it all, ya know? Looking back on it, I feel humiliated as I realize the many times all of us were together sharing a meal or together for someone’s birthday. They were making plans, discussing details, dreaming, talking, visualizing their scheme and doing it in secret, making sure I didn’t find out. That was their hope but, someone posted their pictures of joyful shenanigans on social media and the news got out. I have rarely felt so trapped or so connected to the story of the woman at the well in, John chapter 4. While I skipped through all 37 pictures on face book the feelings of unworthiness, exclusion, shame, and embarrassment overwhelmed me. There were tears, then anger, then complete sadness. How could I ever look them in the eye again? How could I trust them, again? This was my tribe, my people, my confidants. I was rejected and an outcast. I was indeed, humiliated.
That experience fed a deep wound I had carried around for as long as I can remember. I toted around the fear of not be accepted since I was a little girl. Through-out my life, it’s as if hot fiery spears stabbed my heart with rejection over and over again. I began to have the expectation that I would be rejected at some point by almost everyone I encountered. Life had a handsome way of proving that to me over and over. So, yes I get the woman at the well who was treated with rejection in her community. She was trapped in spirit just like she was trapped in her house. She didn’t come to get water unless it was in the heat of the day, when no one else would come outside. She was rejected by her people, her tribe, and entangled with shame because of poor decisions she had made. I get it. The pain is heart wrenchingly real.
Eventually my healing came just like it did for the women at the well. It came through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Once I invited Jesus into my heart, it became natural to truthfully reveal my wounds, my fear of rejection and become transparent in order to expose all the tactics I used to hide from the pain. Like: perfectionism, over eating, people pleasing and being a busy maniac woman. The confrontational conversations that Jesus had with the woman at the well, moves me emotionally every time I read that scripture. I hold my breath when Jesus candidly confronts her in John 4:16 NKJV.
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
This scripture appears to be a cruel confrontation and mockery of her life as he tells her that he knows everything. It’s actually not cruel at all. He is cleaning out her oozing wound with truth and grace. He offered her hope and healing in John 4:13-14 NKJV before he got painfully and intimately close to her wound. I just love how Jesus often prepares us for healing before he actually does it.
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst again. But the water that I shall give him will become a fountain of water springing up onto everlasting life.”
The woman at the well was set free when she chose to drink of the water Jesus was offering her. She was free from her torment of fear, rejection, humiliation and shame. I too chose to drink of this water and discovered that Jesus’s love for me is greater than the love I look for in the world. His acceptance of me is greater than the acceptance from my peers. Instead of feeling rejected by my tribe, I can instead bring the love of Jesus into the equation. I am not thirsty for their water anymore.
Are you thirsty my friend? Drink the water of acceptance that Jesus offers and the water will become a fountain of water springing up, A.k.a joy onto everlasting life!
Sheri Page has been married to her husband for 10 years and cherishes their blended family of 6 adult children and 9 grandchildren. She has worked in and alongside ministries for over 30 years. She has served many roles with in the walls of a church including, a Women’s Ministry director and assistant to a Care Pastor where she served people who were walking through Baptism, Celebrate Recovery, Divorce Care and benevolence. Sheri loves to share her curiosity and unique understanding of life with Jesus by her side. She is a 5 year breast cancer survivor and considers that experience to be the one of the greatest gifts God has given her. More writings from Sheri can be found on her blog: https://thelordsdwellingplace.com/