THE FOUNTAIN OF GOD’S LOVE
I have been circling around the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman once again. This story fascinates and inspires me because of the many layers it reveals of Jesus’ character and His way, as the Son of God, of dealing with an immoral woman.
Since this woman remains nameless, we can place ourselves in her shoes (sandals), and receive the same diagnosis and the same remedy today as Jesus gave her on that memorable morning.
Her body language spoke volumes of her demeanour, her defiant attitude, her seductive eyes, betraying the aura of a provocative and seductive temptress on the outside, but weeping inwardly of her loneliness and frustration.
She, of all people, should have been condemned and shunned by the Holy Son of God but, instead, Jesus peered deep into her soul, read her heart and gave her the perfect solution to her need.
“Woman, you are thirsty, but you are drinking polluted water at the wrong fountain.”
Thirsty for what? What was this “water” for which she was craving? It’s obvious that her longing was to be loved… loved for who she was, not for what she could do or give… loved despite her flaws and failures… loved unconditionally and unceasingly.
She longed for a love that was not fickle, would not grow tired of her or give up on her when her beauty faded and her body took on the condition and shape of increasing years.
She longed for the love that looked into her soul and recognised the growing beauty of wisdom and maturity, of inner peace and contentment, and faith in a love that would never fail her to the end of her days.
Five times she tried, but each time the fountain delivered only selfish, abusive or demanding water, only eventually to fail, leaving her more thirsty and desperate than ever.
Then Jesus came, a man who looked at her, not with lust but with compassion and kindness. There was warmth and understanding in His gaze. She was startled, repulsed because of her shame, yet drawn to Him at the same time by His genuine interest and His simple request.
“Why are you talking to me?“ she burst out. She was anticipating yet another outburst of loathing and contempt from yet another Jewish man. Jesus ignored her outburst…He had a much more important issue to deal with.
He came straight to the point. “I can give you the love you crave, not the love of a man for a woman but the love of your Creator God for His beloved fallen daughter. This love will lift you up, wash you clean and recreate you in His own image, the image of pure love. This love will never give up on you, never fail you and never run dry.”
She was intrigued. “Where will I find this love? Is it possible that I can be loved like that?“
“I am this love,” He replied. “To receive this love, you must turn your back on all other loves. You must run from the polluted fountain which has never satisfied your thirst, and drink only at the fountain of my love for you.”
In that encounter with Jesus, she lost her guilt, her shame, her fear. She ran back to her village, her load gone, to share with the very people from whom she shrank, the wonder of a new love. She saw, beyond the human Jesus, the Messiah of God’s promise, the One who could satisfy her longing heart forever. Human love, feeble, frail and fickle, may come and go but divine love endures forever.
Every human heart, no matter what colour the skin that covers the outside, craves a love that is…
“… patient and kind… not jealous or boastful or proud or rude…does not demand its own way… is not irritable, and… keeps no record of being wronged…does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out…never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT
Jesus called this love “a fountain”, refreshing and quenching the thirst of everyone who drinks of it.
“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”
John 7:37-38 NLT
Why is Jesus the fountain from which we must drink? He is God, and God is love. It is God’s love alone that can satisfy the longing of our hearts.
Life is uncertain. We live in a fallen world, full of evil people and the uncertainties and insecurities of an unknown future. How can we live in peace, without fear, and secure in a love that will never fail us and will carry us through every test and trial to the end of our days? How can we endure the hardships, trials and tragedies that hit us out of the blue?
God’s love is our only guarantee. If God loves us, with a love that is utterly trustworthy, nothing can overtake us that is bigger than this love.
How do we know that God truly loves us?
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
1 John 4:9-10 NLT
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13 NLT
How do we respond to this great love of God?
Jude said: “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.”
Jude 1:20-21 NLT
Keep yourselves safe in God’s love! When tragedy strikes, drink of that love. “In all things God works for our good…” When resources run out, drink at the fountain. When relationships fail, believe in the love of God. When children disappoint, take courage and hope in Jesus’ love.
When you wake in the morning, take a deep draught of God’s love before you drink your first cup of coffee. Fall asleep at night secure in the arms of that great love. Navigate your day, whatever it brings, in that secure and unfailing love. Never allow a single thought to cross your mind that doubts that God is in charge.
God will never permit anything in your life that does not come through the filter of His love.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39 NLT