I love the story in John 4 of Jesus and the Samaritan woman.
While Jesus has been left alone at a well, a woman comes to draw water. There are so many reasons it’s not culturally appropriate for Jesus to even allow himself to be in this situation. He’s a man and she’s a woman. She’s a Samaritan and he is a Jew. More than that, she is a social outcast—a serial divorcee and adulterer, we find out later, who is hiking to draw water at the hottest part of the day to avoid the judging glances of her neighbors. And yet, Jesus speaks to her.
He offers her “living water.” He invites her into abundant life. “Everyone who drinks of this water,” he says, “will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again” (v. 10; 13-14). By the end of their conversation, he reveals to her that he is the Messiah (26) and teaches her how to live in his kingdom (24). She goes and invites others to meet this man she has met. “Can this be the Christ?”
The woman meets Jesus, is invited into his abundant life, and leaves walking in it. But how did she get there? Between Jesus' initial invitation and the woman’s act of faith, something important happens that we shouldn’t miss: Jesus confronts the woman’s brokenness.
“Go, call your husband, and come here.” Jesus turns a mirror on to the most painful part of this woman’s life. He knows the woman has had five husbands and is now living in a broken relationship. We don’t know the details—potential abuse, infidelity, betrayal, death—but, in that moment, both of them knew all of it. One can imagine the sting in her chest when he speaks those words. Through cotton mouth and weak breaths, she manages the words “I have no husband.”
Jesus invited this woman to name her brokenness; and it was incredibly painful. But it was also the most loving thing he could do. Because receiving the abundant life of Jesus requires us to bring our broken parts to him—that he might mend them and fill the empty caverns with his living water.
This is one of the reasons I love and believe in Passage so much. Each of us carry wounds, grief, and shame that we’d rather leave in the dark. But Passage is an environment for us to bring them into the light. To take some small steps toward identifying and reckoning with the ways we have been hurt and hurt others, so that God can do the work of renewal in our lives. In Passage we acknowledge the ways our emotional life is deeply tied to our spiritual life. And so, we ask God to show us what gets in the way of deep intimacy with him, with others, and with ourselves.
Maybe reading that last paragraph tapped into a longing you have for spiritual renewal. To be free from the shame of hidden pain and hidden guilt. Maybe you resonate with the Samaritan woman. You feel like if anyone knew what was really deep down, you’d have nowhere to be safe. Just as with her, Jesus wants to speak to you. He isn’t ashamed to be near you. But He wants to confront your story that you may experience abundant life.