One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of the woman at the well.
We meet her in John 3, as she is going to the well to collect water. It’s important to understand that she’s the only woman at the well because it’s the middle of the day and it’s hot. No one else goes to the well when it’s that hot---that’s specifically why she’s there. She’s avoiding the other women.
Long ago, she made choices that earned her a reputation. With the reputation came labels that she just couldn’t overcome. She was marked and labeled.
The list went on and on.
Then she had an encounter with Jesus. This encounter changed her life. During this encounter she met a man who treated her differently than any other man she’d ever met. Rather than looking at her lustfully, He treated her with dignity and respect. He listened when she talked. He looked at her eyes, but somehow saw right into her soul.
During this conversation, He spoke words of significance, and purpose and hope into a life that had none of these things. Most importantly, He offered her something that she desperately needed---a way to change her life---to be free from her shame and start all over again. Although she initially wanted the living water that He offered, in the end, she accepted the new life that He gave when He told her that He was the Messiah.
That’s when we see the most amazing thing happen. The conversation ends when the disciples return with the food. However, the story is not ending but taking a dramatic turn. Because somewhere during this woman’s encounter with Jesus, she experienced a revolution. Now instead of hiding in shame, she’s actually going back into the town seeking people out.
Rather than avoiding people because of her past she’s telling everyone who will listen, “I just met a man who told me everything I’ve ever done---He’s the Messiah.”
Because of the encounter that she had with Jesus Christ, her life was revolutionized. What was formerly her shame—the label she was trying to hide and avoid--- was now her testimony as she fulfilled the plan that God had for her life---becoming the catalyst for a revival in her town.
I am so challenged by her story to follow her example and say, “Let the parts of my life that Satan wants to fill me with shame and use to devour me and my future, let them become a testimony of Your Faithfulness, of your Mercy, of Your Power to Intervene and Bring Life and Freedom. If you can do anything with the ashes of my life, then feel free to make them beautiful."
Isaiah 61 talks about Jesus and says:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair….
Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing.In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
The truth is that it’s all about perspective. From the enemy’s perspective, you’re pointless, you’re useless, all the things you were and all the things you are not make it impossible for you to become the woman that God wants you to be.
However, God’s perspective is completely different. When He looks at you He sees His daughter that He loves. He is absolutely nuts about you. He looks at your life and He sees significance, and purpose and potential.
According to Jesus, your life is significant.
He has a plan for your life that is seriously above and beyond anything that you can ever imagine.
Whatever you’ve gone through or are going through, it had a purpose. No matter how hard it was, God can take it and use it as a testimony that will help someone else find a relationship with Him and overcome the labels in their lives.
I mean, that’s what I love most about this story---Jesus didn’t just rescue the woman at the well and offer her a new life. He completely removed all of the old labels and gave her a place in His kingdom. He used her story to be a testimony to her whole town of the change that can happen when you see yourself through the eyes of Jesus.
That’s the miracle that Jesus wants to do inside of every one of us. He wants to take the weakest points in our lives, redeem them and restore them so that they become the testimony of His grace.
I’ve seen it happen in my own life.
Who would have ever thought 20 years ago that the source of my greatest shame, the thing that made me feel the most insignificant, would be the thing that God would turn around and use to build His kingdom?
Yet it’s because the Heavenly Father removed my labels, healed my heart, restored my soul, and replaced all of the negative labels with words of love that are According to Him that I am now able to stand here and say that God has a place in his kingdom for all women---married and single. It’s because of His restoration that I can speak openly about the need for the church to welcome and embrace single women and help them find their place in the kingdom of God without feeling the least bit of shame that I’m single.
It’s because I’ve found my significance in Jesus and my worth is totally wrapped up in the fact that He loves me that I am able to say that even though all I wanted for most of my life was to be married, all I want right now is to be in the center of God’s will for my life, married or single.
Being really vulnerable, it’s because God helped me see myself through His eyes that I can share my testimony of what I went through with my Dad without pain or anger toward my Dad. It’s all just ancient history now---it happened but it doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s how I am able to live every day being the woman God created me to be without squashing my personality even though my Dad lives with us.
There is amazing freedom available to all women, married and single through Jesus Christ.
But these things are my testimony….what is yours?
As you’re listening to me talk about the amazing purpose God has to use you in His kingdom, what went through your head? Did you think, “But you don’t know about??”
What labels are preventing you from finding your significance and purpose in Jesus?
The truth is that God does have an amazing plan for every woman.
Married or single, young or old, lots of kids or no children at all ---God has something He wants you to do and someone’s life that He wants you to touch.
But we can’t start there. The first step needs to be dealing with our own issues and truly finding our significance in Him.
When you allow God to heal your heart, remove the things that are stealing your significance, and teach you to see yourself through His eyes, your PURPOSE will find YOU.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Lord, we thank you that everything we need to find our significance, our value, and our purpose in life can be found in You. Today, we pray, that like the woman at the well You would take all of the parts of my life that Satan wants to fill me with shame and use to devour me and my future, and let them become a testimony of Your Faithfulness, of your Mercy, of Your Power to Intervene and Bring Life and Freedom. Lead me to the purpose and plan that You have for my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen