Today’s guest post by author, speaker, and blogger, Jessica Harris, bravely addresses topics that, despite being taboo, affect many women and girls. You can read more from her at BeggarsDaughter.com.
In case the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey and Magic Mike hadn’t clued you in, sexually explicit material is becoming increasingly popular among women—yes, even women in the church. As a former porn addict myself, I can speak to the lure of pornography and erotica (like 50 Shades), and also to the painful silence among Christians.
I know, it’s an uncomfortable and daunting subject. How do we minister to a people group essentially in hiding? How do we extend grace for a problem we don’t fully understand? How do we address such a sensitive topic and love those trapped in it?
The good news is that God has not left us without answers. Sexually broken women are nothing new. Jesus dealt with them while He walked the earth. One such encounter is covered in great detail in John 4. It’s the story of the woman at the well, and it’s worth a read.
“Jesus is the Living Water.” That is the Sunday school takeaway from this story for so many of us. We hear it this way: Jesus went out of His way to meet this woman at the well. He told her He was the Living Water and that she would never thirst again. She left her water pot and went back to the village and told everyone she had met Jesus.
But there is more to that story, and when we step outside of our Sunday school coloring pages, we see a blueprint for loving and ministering to the sexually broken women among us.
Purpose. This is emphasized in many a sermon, but it is important. Jesus purposed to meet her. He knew where she would be and He went to find her.
Patience. Jesus has a point to make, but He waits for the right moment to make it. This story would have read much differently (and likely wouldn’t be sermon material) if the first thing Jesus said was, “So, let’s talk about your five husbands,” or “Hi, I’m Jesus, the Messiah, the Living Water, the one you’ve been waiting for, and I’m not too thrilled about your choices.”
Perspective. As God, Jesus had every right to berate her for her obviously sinful lifestyle. He is the holy God she was offending, but His heart was for her. He was more concerned with her as a person than He was with her sin.
In the end, we see the result of a purposeful, patient approach to the sexual sinner. She does not run back to town announcing that she has found Living Water. She runs back to town announcing that she has found a man who knew everything she had ever done—the Christ. She found the Messiah she’d been waiting for. She found grace and hope.
It’s interesting that this is the context for a “fields are white for harvest” reference (John 4:35). We often apply that to international missions or to the people outside the church. This was a Samaritan woman, and she appeared to know her Bible. This was not some heathen—this was a woman who was waiting for the Messiah, yet still living in sexual sin. She wasn’t so different from Christian women today.
With advancing technology and descending morals, it’s likely that you or a woman you know struggles with some sort of sexual sin. They worship with you, serve with you, and teach your child’s Sunday school class. They are out there, and here in John 4, we see a beautiful picture of how to purposefully and patiently point their hearts back to Jesus.
The Faithlife Study Bible combines a modern English translation, three layers of detailed study notes, and rich multimedia to bring stories like this to life in a whole new way. Download it for free from your favorite app store.