An Identity and Dignity Restored {Traveling Through the Book of John}

not my past marvia davidsonI am not my past.  I am not my mistakes.  I am not my sin.  I am a life redeemed.  That’s good news!  I can walk in freedom and live with hope because I’ve been redeemed.  I think about the stories of the bible and how Jesus leaned into life with ordinary, everyday people.

Jesus and the woman at the well is one of my favorites stories for several reasons, but mostly because it is about restoration, identity, and dignity. In the story Jesus asks the woman to draw water for him. She complies only have asking the equivalent of “why you talking to me?” But Jesus engages her is a discussion about living water. She wants the water, but maybe she thinks it’s a temporal, physical cessation of thirst. Jesus is after something deeper. He asks her to call her husband, but she can’t because the man she’s with is not her husband.

Jesus does not give her a laundry list of how to she can get her life together. Instead he speaks to her of worship and salvation – things she mentioned first. Her heart expresses a longing to know the Messiah she has heard about. Jesus tells her he’s the one she’s been looking for. The conversation ends momentarily as the disciplines return. What I find interesting is that Jesus placed himself where not-so-perfect people encountered Him. He was not afraid to know people or to hear their stories. Maybe that’s how it’s meant to be for us – to allow ourselves the inconvenience of hearing someone else’s story with grace and to find ourselves in unexpected places or situations where we can speak hope and life.

I wonder what thirst the woman had. Did she intensely desire to be seen and heard? Did she desire to have value and worth spoken over her? Did she want to know she still had dignity even though her life was not-so perfect? Why five husbands? Surely she was looking for something deeper. Water that didn’t cease. Water that satisfied. Water that restored. Water the washed away the filth and condemnation. Water that restored identity. Water that brought new life. This is what Jesus offered and continues to offer us today. We don’t have to find a fountain of youth or a fountain of second chances. We don’t have to go far to find restoration. We don’t have to beg for dignity. Jesus restored all those things to us when he died on the cross. I wonder what it must have been like for that woman at the well, drawing water at the peak of the day where she didn’t have to run into someone else and be reminded of her sin and not-so perfect life. But Jesus, he engaged her, spoke to her, and it didn’t matter what the disciples said or thought that because he was after her heart. What does this say to us today?

redeemed marvia davidson

People don’t need a laundry list of their wrongs. They need to know they are loved… Click To Tweet

We have a weighty opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus everywhere we go – to speak hope, promise, and restoration. People don’t need a laundry list of their wrongs. They already know they’ve somehow missed the mark. People don’t need the rules of religion to get free. They need the truth – the Christ has come, broken the chains, and restored us to right relationship. Jesus restored this woman.

I want my life to speak of restoration, but maybe that means allowing the inconvenience of going out of the way to speak to the prodigals, the broken, the don’t-belongs, the hopeless, the messy, the marginalized, the ignored, and the unloved. Isn’t that who he’s after anyways? Are these not the ones who most need to hear the message of hope – that they can belong again. They don’t have to live on the outskirts of judgment. Jesus was and is all about invitation. Come and see. Just come and see.

I wonder what would happen if we extended this invitation in the ordinary, everyday, mundane of our lives? We could have an impact. Later in this chapter Jesus tells the disciples there is a harvest ready to be reaped. They may not have sown the seeds, but they were called to reap and to enter into the labor. I hear an invitation to partner with God. May be you don’t have an evangelist or missionary title. That’s okay, we are all still called to see the harvest and reap. We can do that in our right-now lives, in our communities, at home, and in our work.

worth marvia davidson

Come and see. Just come and see. Where is Jesus leading you to speak of his living waters? Where is he calling you to see the harvest?


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