The Seventh Man

It's been said that it's insanity to think that we can continue in the same patterns of behavior and expect our lives to yield something different and new. But we do that, don't we? Often unaware of our behavior which has been formed through years of habit, we continue on. So, we find ourselves seeking that which we truly need through a relationship, an addiction, or resolutions that quickly fade. In some ways, and some days, it almost feel like we are stuck in a pit; at at times, we are.

I love the story in the book of John, the fourth chapter, about a woman Jesus meets at a well. She was searching, looking for life and freedom, and refreshing. And on the day she encountered Jesus, she would find it.

A little backstory will help in understanding the significance of this encounter between the Lord and the lady. Jesus was Jewish, a rabbi. The woman was Samaritan and, well, a woman. The custom was, actually the strongly imposed cultural demand was that Jews and Samaritans don't talk, relate, or cross paths. In fact, as a Jew, if you'd wished to insult someone, you'd call them a Samaritan. They were considered half-breeds, an unholy mix.

The Samaritans had history with the Jews in that they had adopted the Hebrew faith and traditions, integrating them into their own religion, with their own gods. Such a thing was repulsive to the Jews, and so when the Samaritans offered to help rebuild the Jewish temple at the time of Nehemiah, the Jews bluntly refused, sending the Samaritans into rage sparked by rejection. Have you ever been rejected, or ever been named by that horrible condition? Its wounds are lasting.

Eventually the Samaritan people would remove the other gods from their religion and hold onto the Hebrew faith more purely. But the rift had been created; the stake called rejection had been driven into the ground by the hammer of "less than" and "not good enough."

Now years later, a Samaritan woman was eating the fruit of this rejection of her people. As a side note to the Church, be careful how you treat others that don't have a full understanding of who God is. Rejection damages. The truth spoken in love can bring life.

Jesus breaks beyond our cultural expectations. Rabbis didn't speak to women. Yet Jesus fully engaged this Samaritan woman in conversation. Jewish men didn't sit with women whose moral lifestyle was questionable. But Jesus sat and asked this woman for a drink. The Lord is above fear and man-made traditions for the sake of the fallen and lost.

Now, this woman had been married five times, five being a number of grace, of God working with man. Marriage is God's way of lasting relationship between a man and a woman. She had searched for life through five marriages, not finding it. She had tried to do it God's way, but had failed because only God can heal the emptiness and brokenness that comes from rejection. Marriage was not working, so the woman decided to do it her own way on the sixth relationship, the man she was living with. Six, the number of man's strength, of self-will, of Frank's song - I did it my way. God's institution didn't work for her, so she set that aside and tried to find joy by simply living with a man. That wasn't working either.

But now, something was about to change, for she was about to find living water, refreshment, and lasting joy, in this, her encounter with the Seventh Man. Seven, a number of perfection, of completion, of rest. And at this encounter, her striving stopped. She had found the promised hope, the Christ, the Messiah; and her life was changed.

She left her water bucket that had been used to gather the water that runs out from the well that sat in the noon day's blazing sun. She had found living water; lasting water. And now, with a new life story, she brought her message to the men of her town, the men who likely knew her old story and sad state, and in whom she may even have had tried to find fulfillment. Now though, instead of seeking life from them, she brought life to them.

She had been pulled out of the pit of rejection, desperation, and hopelessness and found living water and refreshment. And that is what Jesus does for those who believe in Him. As it is written about the One ...  

who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Friend, child, won't you open the door and welcome Him in to your desperate places? Won't you come to Him who promises rest, restoration, and eternal life?


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