The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water so that I will not get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are correct to say that you have no husband. In fact, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. You have spoken truthfully.” John 4:15-18
Jesus got right to the heart of the matter. I think he named the biggest symptom of this woman’s “thirst.” She’d had five husbands. Maybe she had terrible fortune, and they all died or divorced her. But I think it’s more likely that she kept looking for a man who could fill that deep feeling of inadequacy in her, and none of them could.
I think she was left in a place in a place of broken dreams, where she hooked up with yet another man out of her longing to find love and affirmation, but all she got was someone who wouldn’t even commit to her.
I read something today in a book that really struck my heart, “How many of us ever felt entirely safe in the cave of another human being?” We so often don’t feel safe. We have trust issues. We expect that we will get hurt. We’re anticipating that life will let us down.
So to me, it was huge it was that Jesus brought this up, this source of pain and disillusionment. It’s something many of us can relate to.
What would Jesus bring up if he saw me? A couple of days ago I was meeting with a friend at a coffee shop. We were talking about our lives, and there was a man sitting close to us who surely could overhear our conversation. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was listening. And as I talked to my friend, I confess that my pride started getting in there, and I was thinking how good the advice I offered and my Christian walk sounded to the man. What puffery!
I think Jesus would say to me at that time, “Girl, don’t even go there. I’ve got your number. I know what’s behind all your sounding good.”
He would tell me that he knew my “five husbands,” that he knew all my efforts at performance and success that came from my deep longing for affirmation, that he knew all of the ways that I don’t look so good, that he knew the place I’d gotten myself in.
You know, in life coaching, they are always teaching us to go deeper. We don’t settle for the surface conversation. We seek the “ouch,” the thing that’s behind what someone is saying. Because when that is identified, the person can see it and move forward.
So I’m glad that I can admit my brokenness to Jesus. He already knows it. I don’t have to look good.
And when I’m at my wits end because I can’t fix things, and I’ve already gone through five “husbands,” it’s the most comforting thing ever to know that he came to be the only way to make things better.