A lot of us go through life like we’re hiding the world’s worst secret, terrified to let anyone know “the real truth.”
“If they knew this, they wouldn’t want to be my friend,” we think. “If they knew that, I couldn’t look my boss in the eye.”
And yet we all have those dark spots, don’t we? Blemishes on our souls. Scars of the past. We try to bury them sometimes, and often we’re successful. No one has to know, we think.
But in our dreams, the secrets come back to haunt us—that nasty rumor we spread about an ex-friend. That lie we told. That thing we stole. That one time we did this bad thing, or that.
It doesn’t matter if it’s murder, infidelity, or accidentally stealing a pack of gum from the corner store. It weighs on us like a boulder, tormenting us. Tearing us slowly to pieces.
I imagine the woman at the well, from John 4:1-42, knew exactly how this felt.
In that passage, Jesus has been traveling through Samaria on the way to Galilee when he decides to take a rest at a well in the town of Sychar. There, around noon while His disciples were in town buying food, He encountered a Samaritan woman coming to draw water from the well. He asked her for a drink, and their talk took off from there—culminating in her salvation and many more from her town, too.
While her name was never revealed, we know the woman at the well was female and a Samaritan, a race with whom Jews did not associate. We know she had had five husbands, and the man she had currently was not her husband. That she was drawing water alone, at midday, probably indicates she was a social outcast—or at least felt like one.
Can you imagine her nightmares and torments? Can you imagine what she thought about herself?
Yet Jesus knew all her secrets and all her needs. And His knowledge, instead of dumping more dirt on her grave, washed it all clean.
The woman ran off, leaving her water jar behind and proclaiming, “Come, see!” She was astounded at how Jesus knew such truths about her. As she told the other Samaritans, “He told me everything I ever did” (v. 39).
Intrigued, they approached Jesus, and He stayed in their town two days talking with them. Because of what Jesus shared with them, “Many more became believers” (v. 41). Her testimony led to their salvation.
The woman at the well is a good lesson for those of us struggling under the weight of old sins and guilt of the past.
Jesus loves us all, from paupers to queens. He offered eternal life to this sin-filled woman and does the same today to all His sin-filled children, you and me included.
Jesus wants us all in His holy kingdom—if only we believe. No sin is too dark or too deep. He knows all and sees all.
And He offers complete redemption no matter what.