Summary: Forgiveness, Release, Redemption
The Well - A Place Where Your Past Can Be Forgiven
John 4:16-19 (p. 741) March 8, 2015
“Here’s a really really important question...“If your past never becomes your past is it really your past?”
If you never deal with the Gorilla in the room, isn’t the gorilla always there?
H. Norman Wright said, “Forgiveness involves letting go. Remember playing tug of war as a child? As long as the parties on both ends of the rope are tugging, you have a “war.” But when someone lets go, the war is over. When you forgive...you are letting go of your end of the rope...if you have released your end, the war is over for you.”]
You see when it comes to sin and our struggle with it and its consequences it’s not God that has a problem letting go of the rope...it’s Rick...it’s us.
Have you ever heard these words from scripture: “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful.” (Ephesians 4:28)
But wouldn’t you agree that we could put almost any sin in that scripture...Those who gossip must stop gossiping and start speaking words of encouragement.
Those who commit sexual immorality must start seeking purity and stop using people.
Those who are greedy and love money must stop loving it, and start being generous with those in need.
Real forgiveness requires us letting go of the rope...whether that rope has been adultery or lying (perfectly...no, not while we live in this body, but is there an evident change of direction and priority? Absolutely...
If you look just a few verses earlier in Ephesians chapter 4 you read these words starting in verse 22:
EPHESIANS 4:22-24 (p. 816)
Former (past) way of life...put it off...and put on a new attitude in your mind...put on the new self, created to be like God.
Until we deal with our former way of life, or better put...let God deal with it we cannot be made new...we cannot begin to be created anew by God’s Spirit.
That’s why when the Samaritan woman says, “Give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus says, “Go call you husband and come back.”
I. UNTIL YOU DEAL WITH WHAT MADE YOU SO THIRSTY YOU CAN’T DRINK LIVING WATER
[I have sat with more broken and divorced people than I care to remember. I have witnessed pain that goes to a place I’ve never experienced, but I’ve seen my son taste...and others I love deeply feel.
Here’s the deal...because you don’t want someone to love someone else...or reject you doesn’t stop the other person from doing just that.
The one you’ve been faithful to sleeps with a guy she met at work...the one you said, “Til death do us part” to starts spending weekends away “on business” and you know deep in your soul...it’s not business.
If men tell me “she became uncaring and frigid” and women tell me “He became distant and unkind.”
That kind of hurt is something you don’t want to let go of...or let just anybody see...not wonder this woman in John 4 at the well tries to cut this conversation short.
“I have no husband,” she replied.
It’s kind of like the addict who is temporarily straight or the drunk that is sober momentarily saying “I don’t have an abuse problem, right now!”
Unless you focus on what has left you dying of thirst spiritually over and over again in your past....you can never change your future.
The old cannot become new if it’s still what you do!
This woman, just like us would just as soon not talk about her former (and present) way of dealing with life.
Mike Yaconelli in Messy Spirituality writes:
Talk about a woman who is a mess. The Samaritan woman in the fourth chapter of John gives new meaning to the word mess.
When it comes to immorality, this woman is a pro. Of all the people to bump into the Son of God, it had to be a woman whose past suggest she is as far from God as anyone could be. Surprisingly, Jesus initiates a conversation with her. A respectable Jewish male (especially a respectable Jewish Messiah male) should not be talking to a woman like her, period. A woman with her reputation could only damage Jesus’ reputation, but he doesn’t seem to care!
Strangely, this woman has studied religion. She knows messiahs, and divorced five times, she definitely knows men, but she’s never met a man or a Messiah like this one. This man treats her with respect. What kind of a man is he? He listens to her, dialogues with her, takes her question seriously, and treats her with dignity and kindness. Thank God, she thinks, he doesn’t know what kind of woman I am.