We have been reading through the gospel of John in our weekly study with the church here in Maastricht. This past Sunday the topic at the Lord's Supper mentioned the woman at the well (John 4). It was an interesting point I had not often stood still by: she left her jug. This woman who already had a difficult existence and was going to all this trouble to get what she needed that day (water) left her water there at the well after talking to Jesus.
This is the question for each of us as well. Is what we are running after, the ways we are trying to get what we think we want, really working for us? Are we willing, like the woman at the well, to give it up in favour of what Jesus is offering? Even more, do we truly understand, like that woman, that what he is offering IS much better? And that it is so important that we have to go tell others?
We have contact almost every day with people who are looking for love, looking for happiness, looking for fulfilment or acceptance. In their search, they end up in all sorts of places and positions in their lives that only make things worse. We know how it goes, because we have been there too. But we know better now. We know that what Jesus offers, really IS better, because He really is who He says He is. So we share this wonderful gift of grace - living water. A strength to be completely created anew - not into something we are not, but into that which we were meant to be.
Not everyone can see the reality of this gift. Some are too lost in what they have been doing all along for so long. "If I leave my jug, how will I get water again?" "If I leave this running-after-these-things that are supposed to make me happy, how will I be able to be happy ever again?" Some people have heard and go running, like the woman at the well, to proclaim to their neighbours: "Listen! This is important!" For us it is simply important to keep presenting what Jesus is offering: living water.
Jesus was simply himself, connecting with this woman. He offered her what is true, but unbelievable to her. We are offering what seems unbelievable, but is true. When she had questions, he answered honestly, without being politically correct. And he was clear without being judgemental when he let her know that he knew her real situation. He did not pretend it did not exist, he named it and left it with her.
We are so very thankful for the people God brought into our lives to speak clarity and truth to us so that we could see the offer of Jesus. And we are so thankful that God wants to and is using us to do the same for others wherever we are. We keep praying for people to be willing to just leave the jugs behind.