Go and sin no more...
Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life."
The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water."
~ John 4:13-15
It's interesting how we sometimes struggle to change or to adapt to "fit in" or to be what others want us to be. Years ago one of the churches I served had a beautiful stained glass window. The story it depicted was of Jesus meeting the woman at the well.
We all remember the story of Jesus meeting the woman, in the midday sun, who comes to the well to draw water. Jesus is alone. He asks her for a drink of water. She looks at him, and realizes many things. She is from Samaria, he is a Jew. She is a woman with a past, and because of her choices, now gathers water at noon, rather than in the early morning hours with the other woman.
Jesus continues his conversation, talking about thirst. He shares about a well that is available to all, and when someone drinks from the well he discusses with her, they will never thirst again.
Additionally he shares what he knows about her, and she finds that he reaches within her life and brings to light the struggles that she has lived with because of her choices.
Within this story there are so many opportunities to shame or blame her for her choices, but instead offers that she simply go and "sin no more."
It was as if he shared that she didn't need to seek out anything else. The woman she now is was enough. She simply needed to realize this! That the choices she made did not benefit who she was, and that this encounter would actually serve as a turning point. Jesus literally was telling her that she was enough, and that she simply go and sin no more.
Finding a way to recognize the person that God has created us to be is sometimes hard to see because of what is around us. It is not so much that we must change. It is often more about realizing what surrounds us, and what we must decide to change that gets in the way of who God has created us to be.
One of the hardest things for any of us to realize is that God loves us unconditionally. Even when our choices may reflect something different.
Years ago when I worked with several young people involved in the sex trade on the streets of Houston, often the hardest thing to convince them of was the fact that they were deserving of God's love. Instead of sharing with them what was wrong in their life, we worked to allow them to see their gifts, and to refocus their journey. Sometimes it took months, offering support through professional counseling, or even rehabilitation to address addictions, but not once would any of us say, "You're not good enough."
There will always exist in every human being a time when Jesus speaks, and asks us about what it is that we thirst for. Along with this question, there will always exist a response, which often includes love, and the words to "go and sin no more."
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.