What does the word “WELL” make you think about?
Maybe it is a place to retrieve water, like in the photo above. Or, maybe you think more about a person being wished well, as my title expresses.
The Dictionary defines well-being as “a good or satisfactory condition of existence, a state characterized by health, happiness, prosperity, and welfare.” Some other synonyms include “comfort, ease, and good.”
Well-being that involves being well is something we all most likely desire for our lives and the lives of those we care about. Living lives full of love, comfort, happiness, good health, and success are truly great blessings. I’ve experienced all of these things throughout my life in varying degrees and in varying seasons.
And, also, at times in my life some of these things have been harder to find. Sometimes I don’t realize all I’ve had until some of it is taken away. I’ve experienced personally or been close to others who have experienced job loss, broken relationships, declining health issues, disappointments, failures, or the loss of someone they loved dearly. Life has its share of ups and downs, triumphs and set-backs, gains and losses.
And, although I most certainly wish each one of you well…there is a deeper kind of “well” I wish for you, too.
There is a story in the Bible about Jesus and His interaction with a Samaritan Woman at a well. He was tired from his journey and He asked this woman for a drink. (John 4:7) There is something about this story that draws me in, just as water is drawn out of a well. It invites me to look down and peer into the water reflecting at the bottom.
It says in John 4:4 (NIV) that Jesus “had to go through Samaria.” I wonder why? He was traveling from Judea to Galilee, and apparently it wasn’t common to go through Samaria.
According to Wayne Jackson from The Christian Courier:
“…since Samaria lies between Judea and Galilee, passing through Samaria was not the only route between the two provinces—in fact, it was not the most common one.
Because of Jewish hostilities toward the Samaritan people (which we will discuss later), the Hebrews frequently would travel to the east when they had leisure time (see Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews20.6.1, regarding travel at feast times), cross over the Jordan, and thus skirt the Samaritan territory. Samaria was considered as not belonging to the Holy Land, a strip of “foreign country” separating Judea from Galilee (Edersheim 1957, 12). Such a detour would take longer than the normal three days of travel.”
It was frowned upon for Jews to interact with Samaritans and it says so in John 4:9 (“For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.”) But, it also was taboo for men to be speaking with women in public places back then.
“The Jewish attitude toward women was less than ideal. While the Old Testament afforded great dignity to womanhood (cf. Prov. 31:10ff), the Hebrews over the years had imbibed some of the attitudes of paganism.
A Hebrew man did not talk with women in the street—not even with his mother, sister, daughter or wife! (cf. Lightfoot 1979, 286-287).”
Jackson, Wayne. “Jesus and the Samaritan Woman.” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: November 12, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/282-jesus-and-the-samaritan-woman
Jesus wasn’t afraid to break cultural norms/traditions to engage with others. What amazes me is that after Jesus’s conversation with this woman, she not only left her water jar at the well, but she seemed eager to return to her town and tell people the following,
“Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29).
According to John 4:18, she had been married five times and was currently in a relationship with a different man. She had never shared all these details with Jesus, yet He revealed them to her. She probably was embarrassed and/or felt guilty about this part of her life, yet it seems to me that she was drawn to Jesus and what He offered her at the well. What was it about Him that drew her to Him, despite being “caught” and exposed?
I don’t know about you but I am not always eager to share my own sins and mess-ups with others, let alone my whole town. I don’t readily proclaim to my neighborhood, “Come and see everything I’ve ever done!” Sure, I might share the good…but the bad, the embarrassing, the big mistakes…I only share those things with people I trust and feel completely safe with. So it seems to me that for her to leave her water jar and share this with her town, there must have been something else more powerful driving her to do so. I would like to think that although her mistakes had been exposed, she was overwhelmed with the loving-kindness and grace Jesus offered her. Surely she didn’t feel condemnation for why would she have been so eager to expose all her “dirty laundry” to the town? Back then she could have been stoned to death for this.
Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Even though her sins and mistakes were exposed, it appears she wanted something more. She wanted to be spiritually well and she found it at a literal well.
Jesus told her earlier (John 4:13-14) “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But, whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life“
I love that phrase.
Have you ever had tears “well up” in your eyes until they spilled out and ran down your cheeks? My mom had this happen all the time. She was frequent “cry-er” and one of the finest. So very often the tears that fell from her eyes were tears of joy, tears of love. Sure, they fell at sad times, but they also fell abundantly at joyous times, times of reunions and happy moments. When tears fell, we knew how deeply we were loved.
Revelation 21:4 says regarding heaven, ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
I’ve often heard others say, “There will be no more tears” in heaven. My mom asked me once “How can there be ‘no more tears’ in heaven?” So many of her tears were tears of joy and love so she didn’t like the thought of not being able to let the tears fall during those joyous times. Certainly it says there will be “no more sorrow or mourning or death or pain” but there very well may be tears of joy and love, welling up to overflowing when we see one another again. Oh, what an amazing day that will be!
Isaiah 58:11 says, “The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden–like a spring whose waters never fail.”
Jesus wants us to be spiritually WELL. He invites us to bring all our mistakes, our sins, our disappointments, our struggles to Him. He wants to give each one of us “living water” and a soul “welling up to eternal life.” Only in Him can we find this kind of soul-nourishment and life-giving refreshment that will last eternally.
3 John 1:2, also written by John, one of Jesus closest disciples says, “Dear friend, I pray that you enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
Jesus wants this for each one of us.
Oh, how I wish this for you too!
I wish you WELL.