Shame When was the last time you felt shame? Not embarrassment over a comment your children made at an inappropriate time or showing up late for an important meeting. But head to toe, heat seering, overwhelming shame. Shame usually hits in the middle of the night. It comes like a thief and steals away what little bit of self worth you have. ‘I shouldn’t have taken the money, but I didn’t think anyone would miss it’ or ‘He was a married man and I know I shouldn’t have, but I’m so lonely.’ How can one who is perfect, understand and forgive? ‘What I have done, nobody will forgive.’
The Samaritan Woman: Here’s a story that’s filled with shame. A woman filling her jar, at the well. It’s after noon and she is all alone. Strange, isn’t it. She comes by herself, in the heat of the day, to fill her jar. Why? Shame, is why. Every one in town knows about her. They whisper and point. Five husbands and number six is right around the corner. Maybe some are bolder and say things out loud where she can hear them. So she comes at a time when no one else will be here. And yet, some one does come. A man. Not just any man, but a Jewish man.
Jews do not associate with Samaritans, and yet, this man speaks talks to her. He speaks of her past, not in a condemning way, but she feels the shame just the same. As he speaks, she feels him looking at her very soul, and there is no where to hide. But there is more to the story than just shame. There is the water. The water that can cleanse any soul. The water that can quench any thirst. The water that comes not from the well, but from the son. The water that can soothe the fire of shame and wash away the hurt. All you have to do, is ask.
Are you tired? Carrying a heavy burden? Why not lay it before the Lord; he’s waiting. This woman didn’t go looking for Jesus; he was just there, at the right time and place, and by acknowledging, what Jesus already knew, she lay her burden down. It’s that simple. You can’t shock him. He already knows…he’s just waiting for you to allow him to give you that thirst quenching, soul cleansing, shame removing water.
You know…there’s more to the story in John, chapter 4, than just a woman who receives God’s forgiving grace. She left her jar and ran to tell everyone who would listen that she had encountered the Messiah. She ran to the very people who scorned her, who avoided her and whom she avoided. You see, not only did God cleanse her of her shame…he then used her to spread the good news. The woman who thought of herself as worthless was now a messenger for the Lord. Oh that we all could see ourselves through the eyes of the Father. Pretty neat, huh?
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks from the water I give him will never thirst again. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14