True Love: Valentine's Week Devotional - Day 3
True Love: Valentine’s Week Devotional
“Go, call your husband and come back.” – John 4:16
So far we have learned that true and real love looks like going though instead of around territory that you’d rather avoid. It also looks like engaging people and issues that it would be much easier and more convenient to ignore. The love of Jesus cost Him more than we will really ever comprehend, a life laid down for the sake of the world. As His body was broken and poured out so ours must be as well. Most of us will never sacrifice our life, I’m speaking here of literal death, in the manner that He and many of his disciples experienced. However, we are all called to die to something so that we and those that God so chooses to place around us might uncover true and abundant life. There’s no avoiding it, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39 NIV)
We are going to move through the final parts of the story of the woman at the well (John 4) today and uncover more deeply what true and real love really looks like. Please read John 4:10-26.
Perhaps one of the reasons I have the love affair I do with this passage is because it so clearly spells out what it is that Jesus came to do. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10 NIV) He came to dispense living water. According to Google, “Humans need to drink water to survive. Your body is approximately 60 percent water, your brain is 70 percent water, and your lungs are nearly 90 percent water. Each day, your body must replace 2.4 liters — or about 2.5 quarts of water — through ingested liquid and foods.” Bottom line: if you don’t drink water, you’ll die; physically that is. What Jesus is asserting is that just as our bodies need water to survive, our souls long to be satisfied and fed by something as well. It’s easy to ignore metaphysical for the physical but ignore it long enough and the effects can be just as devastating.
A year ago I ran my third half-marathon here in Phoenix. I admit, I don’t love the training, but there’s nothing much that compares to the feeling of crossing that finish line (all the free stuff you get in the finishing zone doesn’t hurt either)! I remember during my first such race that I completed there was in the immediate area a line forming in front of me. Not for water, or Gatorade, or bananas, or anything you might expect, but for beer. If I liked beer, I’m sure it would have sounded wonderful after 13.1 miles, but I hate it so there were was plenty of other things, like eating a whole box of pizza to myself, that sounded much more enticing. What’s somewhat ironic is after a race like that, where your body has been emptied of fluids the last thing you want to drink scientifically speaking, is beer. Water hydrates and beer not only doesn’t hydrate it dehydrates. Of course, that wasn’t stopping anyone from getting a free one at the finish.
Every soul from the time of creation desires to be quenched by living water; we just don’t always realize it. And when life empties our “soul tank” of hope and joy and replaces it with bitterness and despair we often turn to things that dehydrate instead of hydrate to fill us up. Which is exactly why Jesus responds to the women’s request to give her living water with this seemingly harsh statement, “Go, call your husband and come back.” (John 4:16 NIV) He says it knowing quite well that she presently has no husband, but there were five ex-husbands and now a man to which she is not married. In essence Jesus is saying, “I know you want this living water and I want to give it to you. But the only way you’re going to get it is if you stop reaching for the substitute instead of the real thing.”
And thus, we reach our third point about real and true love, it tells the truth. Even when it’s hard and even when it hurts. And we tell it, not because it provides some momentary relief to our own insecurities. We tell it and we receive it, because if we don’t, we lose out on the living water, the one thing that can fuel us and make us whole.
Jesus is still writing this very same story in our lives today. He makes His way into our territory, stopping at our well and sitting down right next to us. “I have living water for you,” He insists. “But it’s right here so you must stop reaching for it over there.”
He says that to each and every one of us. And if you’re like me, He has to say it over and over again.
And then He calls us to offer that living water to all those around us. Tongues parched and soul unquenched, they need it and perhaps they will only receive it, if we’re the ones that offer it.
Dear friends, do you need that living water today? Or is there someone God has placed in your life, in your specific sphere of influence that needs to hear you offer it?
Happy Valentine’s Week! May we all seek to love as Jesus did, not just this week, but also every single day of the rest of our lives.