My ancestry is largely British and mainland European, with some Russian influence. And yet, I feel a kinship to this Samaritan woman at the well. Our stories are so similar.
This post is a little uncomfortable for me, because it opens up my story to you and makes me vulnerable. But I feel that there's something really important here.
God places us on the Earth with our parents and gives them a sacred trust. They are caretakers in lieu of God, and they are there to be sure their children's needs are met.
Unfortunately, many parents fail in this. Mine did. Don't get me wrong, my needs for food and water and shelter were abundantly met, but my needs for safety and love weren't. And so I entered life thirsty, just like the Samaritan woman, for these things. Does this mean that the things I've done worng in life and the decisions I have made are my dad's fault? Not at all, they are my own. But I can understand her thirst. My problem was, for the longest time, I was so used to this desperate search to fill this need for love, that I didn't even realize it was there anymore.
It was while I was studying for my counselling degree that I realized what was going on. I had already begun to have a relationship with Christ when I noticed that I was acting different. There was something a little less needy, a little less desperate about me. I mentioned it to a very wise counselling professor and he looked at me with those knowing eyes of his and said, "You know you're loved, so you can relax."
And I began to see the source of the desperate decisions I had made. Now, the more I think about it, the more I see this one theme running through my life: I would do anything for love.
I would get into painful relationships, allowing myself to suffer for the hope of love. I spent tons of money on just the right clothes or whatever it took, so that people would want to get to know me and love me. I sucked the life out of the people who did love me, to try to get them to love me more. I gave away my heart for free, in the hopes that it would make someone love me.
And then, after a while, just like the Samaritan woman, I gave up on love. I became hardened, cynical. I tried to convince myslef that I didn't need love.
And this was the woman who met her Messiah at the well of religion, where I had snuck up in hopes to draw a little of what I had needed. And after a brief encounter, in which he revealed to me who he was, my whole world changed, and I knew I would never have to be thristy again.
I don't have a father any more on this Earth. There is no one alive whose job it is to make sure my needs are met. This is good news. It means that my Father, God, takes this job on Himself. And He is more than able to handle it.
Here's my problem now. I think I know fathers. If you asked me if I thought God was just like my earthly father, I would be appalled by the suggestion. But I'm starting to realize that it's exactly what I think. And it makes me sad. You see, I know that God provides everything I need. I have never lacked anything as long as I was following Him. And yet, I take things into my own hands. I keep drawing from the well while He keeps offering me a drink. But I assume, because, after all, I know fathers, that He will let me down and I'll have to take care of it on my own. It's not how I want to be, and I'm trying to do better at this, but I still see it there. And I see it in the lives of so many people around me. It's hard to pinpoint, because you're so used to living that way, but God gives us a chance to relax and be truly happy. All we have to do is trust Him more than our own experience. It's an uncomfortable thing to do, because we always trus tour experience in every other aspect of our lives, but if we are ever to learn and grow and be truly free, it's what we have to do.
It's a war with ourselves. It's a war worth fighting.