Wrecked for the Sake of Grace

John Chapter 4 tells us the story about the woman at the well and her encounter with Jesus. It's not a story that is unfamiliar to us, it is used to remind us about the grace filled and redemptive attributes of who Christ is, it reminds us that no matter what we carry in our past or present, nothing is too heavy for Christ to handle. In my devotional last week through the "She Reads Truth" plan, the focus was on John Chapter 4. The conversation between the woman and Jesus at first was fairly "surface level" at least in the perspective of the woman. Jesus asks if she would fetch him some water (v. 7), the woman is baffled and essentially says "Why me?" and then Jesus' does this great thing where he switches it around on her and basically says "Actually, you're right! I shouldn't be asking you for water, YOU should be asking ME for water" (v.10-13). Wait, what? I can imagine that at this point, the woman maybe did a head roll with all the sass she could muster in almost an, "Uh, excuse me?" sort of way. And can you blame her? Here was this man who had the audacity to ask her for a drink of water, knowing full well the history between Samaritans and Jews and knowing that they are in no way associated, a man who in however long has encountered her without judgement in knowing who she was or what she has done. The water that was being talked about back and forth was not just drinking water as the woman had first perceived, on the contrary, that water was the gift of grace. A gift that she was blinded to because she didn't think she deserved it due to her sin, her heavy mistakes and her life style. Her blindness to this gift of grace relates to when later in the text Jesus calls out another part of herself, the part that points out that she's a little bit of a "loose lover", she's got a few cards in her deck of relationships (v. 16-18). I can only imagine that this little factor in her life is this woman's biggest insecurity, the reason she stays out of social settings and keeps to herself. She responds to Jesus by saying something along the lines of, "Well obviously you've been in close communication with the big man upstairs because there's no other way that you could know my biggest insecurity, my biggest sin because for all these years I have done a REALLY good job at keeping them hidden" (v. 19). The recurring thought I had while reading this devotional was, "Oh dang, Jesus just called her OUT on her stuff." And when I say "called out", we can see in the verse that he doesn't do it in a way that leaves room for judgement, I think he did it in a way where she realizes that he sees her, he sees every part of her. He sees the misunderstood, the ugly, the buried, the judged, the sinful literally, all of her. He also sees who she is underneath all that messiness too. He sees that she is treasured, wanted, adored and loved. He sees her as the imperfect human being she is, in need of forgiveness, second chances and hope for something better.

The reason why I felt so compelled to write this into a blog is because of this: Jesus in love, in honesty, in hopes of revealing our mistakes for the sake of beneficial change exposed this woman and seeks to expose us. He exposed her because he knows that buried underneath that messy imperfection was the chance for transformation, experiencing a foreign concept of mercy and a connection with him. He reminded her that she was not perfect and even better, that she doesn't need to be.  In my journey of "Experiencing wholeness" this year, I realize that I want this challenge of being called out on my stuff for the sake of change and the continuous pursuit of wholeness. But here's the scary part, I DON'T WANT TO BE CALLED OUT ON MY STUFF! haha let's be real, no one really likes being told "hey by the way, in case you didn't know you're not perfect and you've got some stuff to work on." Because if they do, then I just want to scream "YES I am! Go away, you don't know my life" and then I would proceed to self-scrutinize myself so heavily that it is beyond unhealthy. Also, for some reason, none of us like "calling out each other on our stuff" for various reasons 1. We're scared and think we're going to lose a friend because of our honesty 2. We realize, who are we to judge? 3. We're scared 4. How do we know what to point out and not to point out? We are so bad at this, that we cringe when people tell us we have something in our teeth or in our nose. We hesitate and second guess if we're going to tell our friend that their zipper is down. I barely feel comfortable correcting people when they call me "Ariel" (Air-ree-el), AND IT'S MY OWN NAME!

Jesus told this woman about herself, the self she has tried to hide for maybe years and he didn't even hesitate. In a way, at times, I think we are called to do this for one another as the Body of Christ. Now before you get ahead of yourself, let me explain, WE are not called to just be exposing peoples imperfections, sins and mistakes regularly as if it were our 9-5 job because it's not. However, sometimes, it IS a responsibility that we carry as believers or just simply as people who love and wish the best for each other to remind ourselves that we are capable of being more. Because on the opposite end of that, we're also not supposed to be running around praising one another, pretending we're all perfect and holy as if we've got it all together because we don't. We have a horrible pattern of sometimes pretending that we are these cookie cutter examples of Christianity, talking and pointing out people's imperfects when we ourselves don't have spinach in our teeth when we very well do. In order to do this, in order to be these people who are able to truly see one another, is something we must approach carefully and with much prayer, seeking the wisdom directly from Him, otherwise, we're going to screw things up for ourselves and others. I think that the goal behind it would be the reminder that we're already supposed to be able to honestly, maybe bluntly and with love, hold one another to the standard that Christ calls us all to. That isn't perfection, that isn't hiding behind all that we were in the past, or the things we've done. It's a standard of grace that we're supposed to be held to, a standard of accepting our mistakes, acknowledging them and then letting them go and moving forward. A standard of transformation for the sake of uncovering who we are underneath the mess. To clarify; This is not a blog to extend the invitation for all of us to go and point at one another and all our wrong doings. If we do that, then we are completely missing the GRACE factor, we're also just doing too much and need to sit down. This blog is to challenge us to step outside of our cookie cuter mindsets and enter into an honest, upfront acceptance that we're not perfect and all of ushave work to do in ourselves. It is declaring that we will challenge one another instead of waiting at each others hands and feet because that doesn't help anyone. This is the challenge to be wrecked, confronted and stretched for the sake of Grace. I accept the challenge, and would hope that my friends, those who know and love me to keep me accountable in that. We're all the woman (or man) at the well at some point in life. The real test is in how we respond to being put underneath the microscope.

In verses 28 and 29, the woman leaves Jesus and goes into town to tell the people about her meeting. She says, "Come see a man who told me everything I ever did, could this be the messiah?"  With nothing hidden, everything exposed this woman encountered Jesus, the Jesus who saw her past her imperfections and sins. Friends, this woman wrecked for the sake of grace, is US. Jesus desires to wreck us for the sake of experiencing his grace, he knows we're going to mess up here and there and he waits for us at the well until we come to draw some water. He also sends his people to wait for us at that well too, to represent on his behalf, to speak love and wisdom on his behalf, not our own.

Do we accept the challenge? Or do we keep hiding and pretending that "we got this"? Do we accept the challenge? Or do we sit comfortably back into our Cookie cut out of who we think we are?  I don't know about you, but I'm tired of pretending and I want nothing more than to accept this challenge. So here it goes.

Ah Lord,  Here I am, accepting this challenge, desiring to be wrecked for the sake of experiencing your grace and wholeness that you have in store for me and for my generation. In all things, may it be your will,  Selah.

Originally Written: January 19th, 2014

UncategorizedArielle Estoria