Updated: Apr 2, 2021
If each of us were like a large house, we would have a secret place where we hide things about ourselves from prying eyes. It’s at the end of the hall where there is a locked door. No one else is allowed to open it. There is a staircase behind that door which leads to a basement filled with junk. There is no light in that room. In the corner is a pile of rags and under that pile is a trunk which is also locked. Inside that trunk are all the secret sins, shame and guilt you have been hiding. The rest of your house may be spotless, immaculate and worthy of the “Good Housekeeping” seal but you fear that someone, some day will discover what you’ve been hiding. So, you go about your business each day trying to ignore what’s in the basement and hoping the secrets you’ve hidden will not be brought to light.
The woman at the well was like that. She was surprised, even shocked, that a strange Jewish man was talking openly with an unclean Samaritan woman like her. She had come early to draw water before the other women came. She wanted to avoid their hostile stares and open contempt. She had seen it often - The sideways glance, the rolled eyes and the crimped expression that said, “you slut, you witch, you whore.” Yes, she was a soiled dove, a loose woman and “used”. To say her past had been promiscuous would be like saying the ocean has a lot of water. She had more hidden issues than back issues of “Cosmopolitan”. She knew that the villagers whispered behind her back but not even they, her previous husbands or her current squeeze knew the full extent of her dirty secrets or the stigma of guilt she carried deep inside. She tried to hide from it and conceal her shame but no amount of cold indifference, aloofness or early morning trips to the well could cover up the self-loathing and the secret shame she was hiding.
But something happened that morning at the well when she met a man who knew all her secrets. She had tried to hide them from others but she couldn’t with Him. He knew that she had gone through husbands like dish rags and the man she was living in adultery with was not one of them. Even though He knew her sordid past he talked to her without contempt and offered her “Living Water”. Despite her shame and her past, he was offering her a new life, a new beginning and a fresh start. Her moral slate would be cleaned forever. She could be pure. Her past would not only be forgiven, but it would also be forgotten. She had spent her past looking for love in all the wrong places but now she would finally know a love that had eluded her all her life. She would finally know what it was to be forgiven, accepted and loved because she had come to draw water early in the morning and came face to face with the Messiah. – (John 4:5-29)
Her story is often our story. Like the woman at the well, we too go about our business each day ignoring the hidden things of the heart we need to come clean about. We may have concealed them from others but not from Him. Maybe it was a word spoken, a hatred, pride, self-righteousness, a deceitful motive, a lie, an unforgiveness, a lust, a secret addiction, an offense, a fear, a prejudice, an uncleanness, a specific sin or something we need to confess to one another? He knows what we have been hiding and when we have been hiding, yet he waits patiently beside the well. He waits for us to come that He might offers us love, and acceptance and forgiveness. Open that trunk and the basement door to your heart and let Him in. He is waiting for us; He will receive us; we can talk freely with Him. Let out prayer be that of David’s who finally admitted his hidden shame and sins before God and cried,
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me…The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.” – (Psalms 51)