March 1, 2017
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
There is one core universal truth, which if we could truly believe it, would save us from a world of heartache and pain. That truth? It is impossible to hide from God.
Let’s go back to the garden.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:8-10.
This woman, interestingly enough, was hiding at high noon. No-one visits the well in the heat of the day. Her pride sent her into hiding. Nicodemus hid under the cover of night. His pride sent him into hiding. Jesus knew them both, inside and out, before he ever laid eyes on them.
We tend to think of pride and shame as though they were two opposite poles of the same spectrum. They aren’t. Pride and shame are two expressions of the same thing: brokenness. Pride is the external way we protect our internal brokenness brought on by shame. We cover our shame with our pride. This is why we blame others instead of owning our own faults. For a person shackled by shame, to admit doing wrong is tantamount to saying they are bad. Because of our shame we cannot own our guilt. Shame is a mortal wound to our deepest identity. Pride is a fig leaf band-aid.
Herein lies the ancient psychology of sacrificial love. I cannot cover my own guilt and shame. No amount of external covering can heal my internal wounding. Only another person can do this.
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Abba Father, thank you for your son, Jesus, the one who knows us better than we know ourselves. Thank you for calling us out of hiding. Give us courage to lay down our pride and come out of the shadows of our shame and insecurity. In Jesus name, Amen.
1. Why do we think we can hide from God?
2. What do you think about this idea of pride being our primary way of covering over our shame and insecurity? Do you do that?
3. Do you see yourself more in Nicodemus or in the Woman at the Well? Why?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.