Shirley had no luck in love. As Mick Jagger croaked, she could get "no satisfaction". She'd had five husbands and a string of other men, and was living with a new partner the day she met someone who would change her life...
It was not that her relationships were abusive; her partners were not manipulative - she knew how to stick up for herself! But as each affair ended, it left an empty feeling inside. Her love life had been good, and the money was helpful, but she needed something more. She wasn't sure what it was, just something she longed for deep inside.
Then she met a strange man - a foreigner. On any other day she would have ignored him; and no one in her town ever so much as spoke to one of the hated "immigrants". But on this day she couldn't help but notice him. He was different, somehow. Not good looking, you might say, but he had a captivating presence.
He sat by a deep well at the road side. As she approached, he asked her for a drink of water. Despite herself, she spouted a few racist taunts, but even that could not disguise her curiosity. Just who was this polite foreigner? By his tone and manner, she was sure that he was asking for something more than a drink.
"If you knew the gift of God," said the man, "you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." Shirley felt a little confused, but in no way alarmed by the man. Was he offering her a drink now? He had no bucket to draw from the well, and no bottle in his hand. So just where was this drink he was offering her?
"Whoever drinks of this water will be thirsty again," the man continued. "But whoever drinks of the water which I give him will never be thirsty again. For the water I give him shall become in him a spring of living water welling up to everlasting life."
Now this was something; a water supply that never ran dry. No more carrying heavy buckets to the well! But piped running water was unknown in Shirley's hometown. What could he mean? Shirley knew he had something to offer, and wanted to know more. Where was it leading, this talk of God and of never thirsting again?
A sudden stab of conscience touched Shirley's heart and made it stand still. "Go and bring your husband," the man had said. It wasn't that Shirley regretted her marriage break ups; it was just that she was conscious of her weakness when it came to holding down a relationship. Just as stolen water always seems sweeter, so illicit love was always more exciting for Shirley. So she blurted out that right now, she didn't have a husband. The man spoke again, "You are right. For you have had five husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband."
There was something in the stranger's voice which told Shirley that he had been watching her all her life - and knew everything about her, even the secrets she had hidden from her lovers. "But only God knows the thoughts of our hearts," thought Shirley, with some half-forgotten memory of her religious upbringing. Clearly, this man was no polite foreigner, but a messenger of God.
The man continued to draw Shirley closer to himself - but not physically. Neither of them had changed their position, it was her heart which he had captivated. All the emptiness and pain of her wasted life, a life of failure, was brought into focus, and the stranger offered to exchange it all for a new beginning - a new life within that would never end. It was clear that he was not offering to satisfy her sensual desires, but to meet the desperate need of her soul. To be forgiven for her sin! That was too good to be true! To be given another chance to be right with God, and able to hold her head up high? Only one person could offer her such peace and satisfaction.
"When the Christ comes," said Shirley, "he will tell us all we need to know about this." "I who speak to you am he," replied Jesus.
Reader, are you dissatisfied with life? Outwardly, all may be well, but is it well with your soul? Do you have peace with God, are your sins forgiven? Do you have the joy and satisfaction of being in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ? The Lord Jesus died for your sin on the cross, and rose again from the dead so that you might be forgiven. By accepting Him as your Saviour you will begin a life which will never end. Shirley encountered him at the well of Sychar. You too can encounter him, just where you are today!
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