Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” John 4:39
I know just how she must have felt.
Her biggest fear is that someone would uncover her secrets. If they only knew.
As she strolled down the dusty dry road, she hoped her timing would leave her the only one in the vicinity. Showing up when there was a lull in activity helped her avoid judgmental eyes and whispers of condemnation. She was sure they knew her secrets.
She avoided eye contact and conversation with everyone. If they knew they would reject her, abandon her, and judge her. Why risk them finding out. It was easier to stay in the shadows and settle for less. In her mind, that’s what she deserved. Her secrets kept her tied to shame and guilt and living her life the opposite of abundance.
Maybe this is you, hoping to avoid condemnation, you hide in the shadows.
I know it’s me. Only now after years of help and healing am I able to begin talking about secrets hidden for decades. We think we are keeping secrets. In reality, our secrets are keeping us.
The woman at the well had secrets too.
She had multiple husbands, and the man she was living with was not her husband. Scripture doesn’t say, but I imagine the pain of divorce or abandonment is familiar to the woman at the well. Apparently, her family was absent; maybe she was estranged because of her lifestyle. Or, perhaps she was an abuse survivor hiding shame and blaming herself. Maybe she got involved with people that tempted her away.
These extra details are all my imagination, of course, but I can relate. I have secrets I wouldn’t want anyone to know. The enemy whispers, “If they only knew.”
If they knew, would they still love me? Would they leave me? Would they see me differently?
The truth is we are all hiding something, hoping it will never be revealed. Studies show we are not alone in our hiding of secrets. According to statistics, adults have a least 13 secrets they are hiding, a couple of which they have never told anyone. That’s a heavy burden of secrets!
Do want to unburden yourself of secrets?
I do, and He is waiting to change our secrets into a testimony of His steadfast love.
Jesus and the disciples were passing through Samaria on their way to Galilee. Tired and hungry, they stopped at a well to rest. According to tradition, they should not be there. Jesus, however, had a divine appointment.
When Jesus traveled, He spoke to and healed people dismissed as unworthy and unlovable. His words and touch change the lives of people who usually cower on the edge of the crowds–the lame, lepers, and women ashamed of their past, like the woman at the well.
At the well, Jesus waited for the woman who would come in the hottest part of the day to the to avoid judgmental eyes and tainted whispers. This woman had a disreputable past and labeled herself unlovable, unworthy, and unwanted. Jesus was there to show her the truth.
Jesus knew her past and her secrets. None of that mattered. Jesus saw who she was–a beloved daughter needing forgiveness.
Great relief came when the woman realized that Jesus knew her secrets. The passage says she dropped her jar and left it where it fell, running back to the village to tell everyone what happened. Free of secrets, she had a testimony and wanted everyone to know.
She forgot about the judgmental eyes and whispers. She forgot about the pain of things done to her and the regret of things done. She was stripped of shame and given a new song. That’s what an encounter with Jesus will do. It will turn your whole world upside down, and all the energy and effort put into hiding is replaced with heralding God’s grace.
Her secrets revealed became a testimony of God’s love, forgiveness, and redemption.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul reminds us that we have a past, one we want to keep a secret. But your history is not who you are.
“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)
The woman at the well had a past and worked hard to keep it hidden. But after an encounter with Jesus, her secrets were unimportant. When her secrets were uncovered–brought before Jesus and exchanged for forgiveness and healing–her life changed.
Do you have secrets that keep you hiding in the shadows, hoping no one ever uncovers them? If they only knew.
Have you labeled yourself unlovable or unworthy because of your past?
Sweet sister, Jesus knows your past and your secrets, and He loves you anyway. He exchanges your dark secrets for light and freedom and your shame for healing. He is waiting to say, you are loved, worthy, and wanted.
Jesus would leave the well and soon after die on a cross to cover the woman’s sins, and he did the same for us. Dear friends, through Jesus, we are forgiven and loved and wanted by God.
He is waiting for you to come to the well.
Dear Father, praise you that you know our secrets, all of them. But our secrets do not stop your love. We are all invited to come to the well and drink the living water.