Beautiful Encounters: When We're Dying from Thirst

This week Erin Davis delivered eight talks for a LIVE recording session for radio. Her messages are based off her book Beautiful Encounters: The Presence of Jesus Changes Everything—and these recordings are set to be aired next year on theRevive Our Hearts broadcast. I'm blogging on her messages to share some of the content with you before you tune in on the radio!

While Erin was talking about the woman from Samaria, my mind traipsed for just a moment to my personal relationship with food.

Eating has always disappointed me, you see. It isn't the taste of food that bothers me—it's needing to eat it so often. One of my health conditions requires me to consume protein every two hours; if I ignore this every-other-hour food routine, my body collapses rapidly.

Erin struck home with me in this session: Isn't everything in this world like that?

Fading. Needing replacement. Only satisfying for a moment.

I never realized I had so much in common with the woman at the well.

Leaking All Over the Place

Before she met Jesus, the Samaritan woman had known a lifetime of pain and rejection.

We don't know why her relationships ended, but Scripture makes it clear that she had experienced heartbreak many times (John 4:16–26). From what we know of her life, it looks likely that she was searching for fulfillment in men. Five times she dropped down her bucket into the "well" of a new relationship. For a moment, she may have felt . . .

Loved.
Accepted.
Safe.
Secure.

Of course, it never lasted.

Maybe romance isn't the "well" you run to. Perhaps the "well" you turn to is . . .

The praise of others.
Your church.
What you can achieve.
Your family.
Your appearance.

If you're looking for thirst-quenching satisfaction anywhere other than Jesus, that's your tip off. That's your "well."

The thing is: if the purpose of a well is to hold water, then our wells aren't exactly well-made.

When I was a little girl, we used to play a game outdoors on birthday parties. Two teams would line up in two straight rows for a relay race—then ready, set, go. The first in line would run as fast as he could to a tub of water, holding a paper cup punctured with holes on the sides. He'd scoop water into the hole-punctured cup, then turn around and dash back to his team—accidentally losing most or all of the precious water along the way—and laughingly dump the remaining drops into an empty bucket at the beginning of his line. Then the next kid would take off, repeating the same hysterical cycle. The goal, of course, was to see which team could transfer the most water back to their buckets. It was a great game because it was so frustratingly impossible.

That's the story I thought of when Erin mentioned Jeremiah 2:13:

"For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water."

This verse (which happens to be my go-to verse to define sin!) gives us a picture of what happens when God's people put their hope in something other than Him. We can either run to Him, and find that He provides ultimate satisfaction . . . or we can insist on self-sufficiency, hopelessly trying to run a mile and still contain water in a paper cup poked through with gaping holes.

I'm so thankful Jesus doesn't leave us leaking and longing. In Psalm 107:9, God provides this sweet promise: "For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things."

Soul Longing

I have a longing soul, don't you?

In the same way my body is ever craving food, water, and rest, my soul is ever craving—and Jesus is the only One who can satisfy me with permanence:

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19)

There's such an image there, isn't there? He isn't a skinflint god, giving me just barely enough to get by. He fills my hunger with good things. Knowing Jesus deeply isn't like getting scraps and leftovers—He's the source of all good, the fountainhead of delight.

The Samaritan woman came to Jesus thirsty, and she left transformed—telling everyone in her village about the Man who had transformed her world. She had been given the answer for the thirstiness she'd been trying to quench in other relationships. He was so patient with her . . . and He is so patient with us. Aren't you grateful we have such a loving Savior?

Some questions for thought and discussion . . .

  • What is living water according to Jesus? Why do we need it?
  • Who or what do you turn to instead of Jesus for satisfaction? What are your own broken wells?
  • When people look at your life, do they see that your cravings are satisfied by the fountain of living water?

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Lindsey Wagstaffe

Lindsey Wagstaffe

Lindsey Wagstaffe's greatest passion is to see the glory of Christ, cherish Him unreservedly, and assist others in doing the same. She treasures the family and church that God has blessed her with, and lives outside of San Francisco with her parents and two younger sisters.

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