She was a Samaritan.
She was promiscuous.
She was churchy.
This poor woman has been lambasted in pulpits everywhere. She is considered to be nothing more than a loose and undignified woman, yet we overlook the most vital elements of the story.
She was thirsty.
And all of us are thirsty for something.
It’s a fact that humans can live for weeks without food, but only three to five days without water. How much more will spiritual thirst drive us to seek relief from these so-called “tall drinks of water”?
I won’t go as far to say that I admire the Samaritan woman, but I do understand her. Five times married. Sixth man shacking up… She hoped in love, couldn’t find it, yet kept on trying.
I’ve been there. Well, only married once… But countless times I’ve sought for love.
Back at the well, a place where only single and unattached women were to be found, she met Jesus. Think back to when Abraham’s servant sought a wife for Isaac… where did he go? To the well, and there he found Rebekah. Where did Jacob first see Rachel? Again, at the well. Where do you go when you want some attention at work? To the proverbial water cooler…
So why would a woman who lived with a man be at the well if she was already “involved”?
For the same reason many of us run to the club. Or wear revealing clothing. Or take new photos for Facebook and Instagram everyday. Or lay ourselves down in hopes that he or she will love us. Or tell someone we love them knowing we do not.
Many of us are unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and disappointed. We’re thirsty.
We have a deep desire to be loved and deeply cherished, not just “chose”. (Chose is twitter terminology for being good enough to be picked by someone to be in a relationship yet the term does not communicate anything about the quality of the relationship. It simply means you’ve got somebody which, to me, means very little.)
And here comes Jesus, with his smooth line…
“If you knew who is speaking to you right now, you’d ask me to give you water. And if you ask me, I’ll give it you and you’ll never thirst again.”
In hood vernacular, “You ain’t never met nobody like Me.”
Every time I read that line I smirk. Say what you want about my Lord, but He knows how to talk to a woman. You can’t tell me that sister from Samaria didn’t melt. No wonder she had to come up with all that crap about where and how to worship. She was nervous!
But back to the story. Place yourself at that well for just a moment. Look deep down and consider whether the thing you’re desiring is at the bottom. You already know what’s there. You’ve been drinking from it for how long?
Now look at the bucket. Can such a small vessel possibly hold the fullness of what you desire? Certainly not!
Now turn your eyes to Jesus… He is the seventh man in the story. He is offering exactly what you need. He will fill YOU so that you need not come back to the well for something that temporarily satisfies! He will fill complete you, perfect you, and mature you so that you can help someone else.
I must leave the well. Single and unattached, I may be but there’s nothing at the well for me.
Your well may not be the same as mine. But consider… the lilies… and your secret longings. God is faithful to give you those desires, but not until we have turned to Him and allowed ourselves to be filled by His love and grace.
With sincerity, love, and hope for the future,
Scripture references: John 4, Genesis 24, Genesis 29
Photo by Kashif Mardani from FlickrRead More
I don’t think it’s strange that the anniversary of my first blog post is on Good Friday, the day they crucified Your son. I was so discouraged this time last year and needed an outlet. For some reason Good Friday has always been full of sorrow and grief in my personal life. But, Lord, to write this… to tell THIS story almost seems You’re asking too much.
I don’t understand it, but I will obey. Because when I consider where I was two years ago today and four years ago today, I can’t help but thank You for keeping me.
Four years ago April 6, I made the choice to end my marriage. I knew things weren’t right. I wasn’t even emotional about it because I’d done so much crying before. Divorce was the only option because I didn’t want hate him. Even now, I know I made the right choice, but the journey from that place to where I am now has been…
Indescribable… but I will obey.
Two years ago, another promised that he loved me. I didn’t believe him. He was one of those guys that just played games. He wanted to do right, but his arrogance and jacked up experiences with women wouldn’t let him. Yet he pressed and pushed his way into my soul. And because I was lonely, I let him.
I remember going to church and hoping that the pastor would preach something profound and powerful enough to keep me from dating this guy again. We’d been at it before. I didn’t want to go back down that path, but I was still entangled. And that damned loneliness…
His tall and statuesque frame intrigued me. Straight lust… might as well call it what it is. His face… ehhh. Not particularly my type of guy, but all the other ladies loved him. So surely I should be glad he wanted me. By the world’s standards he was a good man, but something just wasn’t right for me.
Lord, I didn’t know my worth. I couldn’t comprehend that Your love for me exceeded what he could ever offer. He made me feel good. I can understand how David felt with Bathsheba. I think all of us have chosen someone or something over You at some point. The fact that I had grown so much, yet I still turned my back on You frightens me. I could mess up again… but I trust Your grace to cover me.
That night… he didn’t call. We’d made plans. He asked me to move with him. I’d said no, but he insisted that I must love him. He insisted that he loved me. I could’ve made it work with him. I certainly wouldn’t have had any concern for money. Do you remember my prayer that morning? I asked if he were the one for me. And if not, then show me.
You told me to get dressed. And I did. I got in the car and drove. You led me to drive and…
There it was.
His bright blue, tricked-out Chevy Malibu. At a hotel. I couldn’t have missed it if I tried.
I had a choice. To take the Jasmine Sullivan route, or to be patient and wait for answers. Either way it would be crazy. But I knew I had to stay. Because this would be the LAST time he’d force his way into my life. He needed to see that I was done. I prayed that whatever woman he was with had already left because I couldn’t handle a two against one battle. I was already weak.
So I called… cleverly left a message that I was headed to the gym which was conveniently located right next to the hotel where he’d lodged. And like roaches scatter in the light, he came scurrying out.
He saw my frustration. Saw my pain. Dropped his head. He refused to respond to my questions. Instead of listening to those raging voices in my head, I drove away.
I died that day. I was crucified by my own choices. My soul was cast down. I could not hope in You because I had turned my back on You.
And, Lord, I couldn’t hear You, feel You, discern You. My faith took a fatal blow and my spirit man had been all but torn asunder. Satan’s minion had taken his sharpest sword and nearly sliced my soul in two. His demons tormented me and consulted me to plunge from my bedroom window to the ground below.
I searched for You. You were there, but I couldn’t find you.
And, therein lies the problem with sin. I didn’t consider that when I got up from the bed of sin that Your presence had departed from my life. It didn’t occur to me that my faith had been so damaged that I wouldn’t be able to approach Your throne.
I watched the window for a good 20 minutes, even looked down. Lord, it must’ve been you that said “It won’t do the job.” I’d just end up with a broken bone or two… definitely not comparable to the death I felt inside. So I got back in the car and drove…
It was Sunday and usually I wouldn’t miss church, but the night before I had been tormented. Even more so now…
I was consumed with grief, self-hate, anger. You led me there, and Your people consoled me. They loved me and dried my tears. Oh, God! I remember how so many ran to my rescue. Some said it would be ok…I knew that wasn’t true. Lord, I knew that if I didn’t get this right in my life, I’d be condemned to hell here on earth and in the afterlife. Yet, I was thankful for their kindness and consolation.
I made it back home in pieces and rested. I did not eat for days. I read my Bible and listened to one song over and over. My soul, God, was thirsty for You. I could only fight to regain my peace in hopes that my faith would be restored. I needed to be in Your presence.
Your Word came. It was heavy and hard to receive. It discouraged me emotionally, but my spirit cleaved to it. Anyone who knows You understands that a rebuke from the Lord is like a feast compared to never hearing Your word at all. Just the fact that You spoke… I thank You.
How unsightly I must have been… to have known You and chosen something lesser that only intended to destroy me.
To have given myself to someone so undeserving. He didn’t even know You.
To presume that he could offer me a portion of what Your presence provides.
But looking back, Lord. I understand now that the rebuke you sent gave me a choice. The scripture says that You will not put on us more than we can bear. But I had put this on myself, and it was certainly more than I could carry. You gave me a choice, at that point, to face my brokenness and transform my own suffering into Your suffering. One would work a brighter future for me, while the other would render me helpless and hopeless.
…For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
I chose Your suffering. Because if I suffer with You, I’ll reign with You. That’s Your promise, and You’ve never lied.
And, so today, Good Friday, April 6, 2012, I can confidently say that I stood against each of his three advances since that time. I can say that I’m no longer on life support, but I’m living and loving. I can say that 2011 was the last year that April 6 would destroy me because I’ve discovered Your resurrection power. No longer am I entangled or even enticed by these lusts… My heart belongs to You.
I cannot imagine surviving this life without You. So many, Lord, are heart-broken and tormented daily. They cannot hear Your voice. And, it is my prayer that as I share my shame, someone who identifies with my pain will turn to You because You are surely there with them. Some have stories much worse than my own, and some feel there is no forgiveness for what they’ve done. I pray that they would come to know the truth!
With great joy and victory, I thank You! No longer am I heartbroken, sad, or lonely. You’ve filled my heart with promises, and my faith and peace in You grow everyday. I ask, Lord, that You do the same for my brothers and sisters, and for those who don’t yet know You.
Let this story, as unpleasant as it may be, bring glory to Your name because You are faithful…. You saved me. Thank You!
In Jesus’ name,
Notice that in the title I used the word can’t… not won’t…. because one literally lacks the power to break free.
Let me paint a picture for you.
Imagine a beautiful, colorful butterfly floating freely in a meadow. It dances across the tops of lilies and violets fulfilling its purpose in life without any care or concern in the world, but one… the search of love. In its course of duty the butterfly crosses the path of a dark, mysterious spider who weaves a silken web of words and deeds to win the butterfly’s heart. Butterfly, naive as it may be, is still cautious of getting too close to the spider… after all flies get trapped with those things. Not beautiful butterflies! Nonetheless, butterfly is intrigued by spider’s enticing and glistening web. What’s more is that spider has eight arms with which to hold our floating friend…. and many eyes to see the need in butterfly’s longing soul.
Spider entices butterfly to lean in for a kiss, and weakened by the words and gentle caresses of our savvy antagonist, butterfly finds itself trapped in spider’s web. For a while, it seems nice to have another close by… But as spider closes the space between them, butterfly finds itself even more stuck in spider’s web. Butterfly enjoys the feeling of security. I mean, who wants to fly freely when you can be so deeply and passionately loved and appreciated? Relishing the feeling of being wanted, butterfly spreads its wings to embrace spider and finds itself completely and overwhelmingly entangled…
Butterfly croons “This must be love.”
Notice in the tale above there are no “he’s” or “she’s”. I realize that most of us will associate butterfly with a female, but I’m just using it to illustrate the well-meaning, but weak character who longs for love and will settle. Guys, if it makes you feel better, you can be a dragonfly.
Spider, well… you get that! Spider is the charmer that reels you, tells you all the things you want to hear, and gets you trapped! What’s more is that a spider will leave you stuck in the web, build a web elsewhere, trap some other well-meaning insects, then come back to feast on your self-esteem when it’s hungry.
So are you a trapped member of the lepidoptera phylum? (Nerd speak… sorry.) This entry is for those entangled and unable to let go of someone who only creates hurt and shame. Am I speaking of romantic love? Possibly… but I feel that entanglements can happen in ANY relationship. At the moment, I can say that I have female friends with which I’ve become far too entangled in their affairs of life. Instead of being a support system, I’ve become the source of life… They suck me dry!
But romantic relationships are, by far, the trickiest. How can you tell whether there’s real love in place versus an unhealthy attachment of souls? Let’s go back to our characters and study their habits.
I doubt that anyone who’s read this can honestly say they’re free from ANY entanglements. Naturally, some are good, but we must relieve ourselves of relationships that leave us empty and unsatisfied. Some of us are entangled in more than one web which truly explains why we have no inner peace or confidence.
I didn’t write all of this just to leave you dazed in your circumstances… but the first step to freedom is acknowledging that you are, indeed, entangled, and not in love. Love gives, not takes away.
So how do we become free? Well… I need more time to think about that. Until then, let’s all investigate those closest to us and figure out who’s got the wrong kinds of strings attached to our wings.
Love you all… and with that, I bid you goodnight.
P.S. Special thanks to my Jiminy Cricket who gave me an idea of the butterfly and spider relationship…
“Don’t worry, baby. I know there’s confusion. God’s gonna see us through yeah…”
I love the tune and the soulful crooning of a lovedrunk Badu, but when I break down the lyrics (i.e. overanalyze), I wonder why so many of us women end up on the other side of an ugly game. I know she’s talking about the drug game in the song, but I’m using my blogtistic license here.
It’s an epidemic. Woman meets man. Man turns on game. Woman falls for game. Man reveals that he’s playing and blames woman for falling because she should’ve known better. Woman sticks around dissatisfied, disgruntled, and disillusioned hoping for the impossible. Yeah, I know women run game too, so guys, apply accordingly.
So, ladies & gents, where do we go wrong when we meet a potential love? I could write ten steps to choosing the wrong person to love, which I’m TOTALLY qualified to do… Or I could just let Badu do the talking.
“It ain’t that he don’t have education cuz I was right there at his graduation.”
So, he’s got an education? He gets some respect for that. He works hard? That’s even better! But is he demonstrating what he’s learned at whatever level of education he’s attained? Potential is never good enough. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those educated snobs who only talks to men with the degree qualifications that meet or exceed my own. I tend to find many highly-educated men… well, boring. But nothing’s worse than a flirty brother with poor spelling, poor grammar and a lot to say. We all get those messages on Facebook that are hard to decipher. “You used to look good in high school but now you still do too.” Yeah, that’s in my inbox. I have yet to reply.
“But it’s me and baby that he hurts.”
So he loves you so much that he keeps doing what hurts you and hurts the kids too? Let me guess. He’s either doing it for you or he can’t help it. Badu needs to read “The Doormat People.” She’s an accessory to her own victimization, and the children will only resent her later.
“Because I tell him right, he thinks I’m wrong. But our love is strong.”
Sorry, Badu. Even the good ones don’t want to know when they’re wrong. That’s just the nature of a man. Even my six-year old son has to always be right. If he puts his underwear on backwards, he’ll argue with me even though he can’t find a way to pee straight. But there is a way to let a man know when things are starting to sour… that’s another blog for another day.
“Gave me the life that I came to live.”
What the heck? No, he didn’t. JESUS did that! Get your priorities straight…
“Pressure’s on me, but the seed is grown. I can’t make it on my own.”
A real man will always take the pressure OFF, and he’ll never take your power away by planting seeds of insecurity. God gave man authority, but the woman has power. Wield it wisely, ladies. Never give away what God has given you!
Let’s backtrack to when Erykah first met this fella. At some point she knew that he had some other stuff going on and decided to roll the dice anyway. Why would anyone ignore the obvious signs? Well, loneliness can get the best of us. But one thing is certain; desperation landed our beloved Badu in another bad relationship. (And when I say Badu, I mean krazy me and maybe krazy you too…) Not too long thereafter, she’s telling her boo that he needs to call Tyrone…
So how do we keep ourselves on the other side of the game? If we want love, do we have to play along? I will admit I’ve gone out with people that I didn’t really like for boredom’s sake. One guy (who’s reading from his iPad) posted on Facebook that a certain woman (me) was making him rethink his game. Just that admission has disqualified him from having a chance at spending anymore time with me. (Angry text ensuing…)
I’ve discovered a few tactics to maintaining a “game-free” life. So here goes. If you meet someone and think you might be interested…
With all of that said, there is hope for those us want the real thing. There’s no need to settle for a silly player and then ask God to bless our mess. Eventually Badu had to put Tyrone out, but only after suffering more damage than any person should sustain.
I won’t say that my transition to this point was quick or even easy. I won’t even say that where I am now is all that much fun. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a date that I’ve truly enjoyed. But what I can say is that I’m not lonely, and I enjoy possessing my soul. And when the time comes for my future husband to enter my life, I will be ready because I kept myself on the other side of very dirty and damaging game.
For those of you struggling, my heart goes out to you… Here’s some encouragement from a more positive and empowering song.