Sometimes I feel like the woman at the well from the book of John 4:4-30. When I look back on life, I see reflections of this woman in the very fabric of my being. This woman who had five past husbands, this woman living with a man who was not her husband.
I know the kind of secrets she kept, the life she led and the judgments that she bore; even self-loathing judgments. I can’t help wondering how she came to be an adulterer. Did something somewhere in her life go horribly wrong? No one wakes up one day and says, “Hey, I think today I’ll sink into the abyss of adultery.”
Did it just happen, or was it a “straw that breaks the camel’s back” kind of experience that crushed her self-worth? Who told her that she didn’t deserve better? Who told her that was all she would ever amount to? You see, I can feel her road beneath my feet. I have felt the pain of what it meant to be her, or for that matter to be me.
I grew up in the Christian faith. I knew the truth but chose very questionable paths. As I hit my teen years, a bitter childhood became the excuse from which I pieced together whom I would become. I could have chosen to rise above it; not every child who experiences trauma self-destructs, but I did.
I joined the ranks of Gothic kids. It was a new thing akin to punks and, well, punks were rebels without a cause. I was a rebel with a cause that sought justice in dark places. I ran with friends who cut themselves, who fantasized about death and dying. We were the fashionably dark kids normalizing the pains and abuses sewn into our lives while medicating our depression with street drugs.
As I grew older, demonic forces introduced me to an even darker world. I partied with a crowd who would introduce me to the sexualized-gothic underworld. In time, dark mentors taught me how to earn a living as a dominatrix complete with my own dungeon.
You’d think a kid who was sexually abused for three years would have never succumbed to a world so dark. I still don’t have an answer for why; it was rebellious, it defied authority and even defied the “normal” society that I was so angry with. Besides, if I was high enough, I could do anything and never bat an eye.
During this time I became very prideful, my eyes were haughty and I didn’t care. Yet, there were spaces of time when I was quiet; moments of sobriety when the truth would creep in. Those moments were met with regrets and how could I. Regardless, I persisted to trudge into the mire.
I remember the ministers of the gospel standing out at the beach piers and bars shouting “hell-bound” messages as if messages packed with brutality would speak the love of God into my already brutal existence. I saw the faces of nice religious people with the offense in their eyes. I didn’t need their opinions or threats. What I needed was the “Woman at the Well” experience.
In our society, there are many women who find themselves at the well thirsting for redemption. Maybe they don’t even know they need redemption. Sin often shields our perception with rose-colored blinders. Yet often times, believers are so uncomfortable with sins of adultery or the sins that they deem darker than their own.
Many believers don’t see the person beneath the invasive sin. We don’t sit down to the well and engage the woman; instead, we shun her with damnation and sometimes angry threats of promises to pray for her condition, as we move along with no time to waste.
Yet, Yeshua, he spoke with her. He indeed called out her sins as he took the time to engage her. He didn’t shout damnation, or keep his distance. In fact, he asked her for a drink of water. In the end, she went out into her community testifying about Yeshua.
Thankfully, by my mid-twenties, I had grown weary of the life I was leading. I turned away from the horror and began taking back my life. I re-acclimated to the church life; made healthy career decisions and life started to breathe fresh air.
Four years ago I converted to the Messianic practice, which is, essentially, a very Christian way. The Messianic faith incorporates Torah (law) as part of a faith walk. Over time that law sought to call me out.
I was already living a faith life, but those sins and those hurts still needed to be called out because they were still accusing and tormenting me. As a result, I recently set out to engage in a session of deliverance.
God, in his loving way, didn’t convict me in front of a jury of my peers; he didn’t stand on a street corner calling me out, and he didn’t look at me like a dirty harlot. Instead, he called me to deliverance in a safe, quiet place.
It wasn’t easy. In fact, admitting my past was rough. I’d long grown quiet and secretive about my past. I had created this quiet personality because silence was safe. Silence has been an arm’s length means of keeping friendships at a safe distance.
Now here I was combing over past regrets with forgiveness acting as a two-way street. Though I must admit that with each memory for which I released to God, the burdens became lighter. This was my moment at the well with Yeshua (Jesus).
This “Woman at the Well” experience was wrapped up in a deliverance session with the pastoral team of my congregation. I never would have imagined that I needed deliverance.
As it turns out, deliverance is not just for people whose heads spin or for whom crazy creepy voices cry out. Nope; deliverance is a place you come to for release. It’s the thing that puts the broken pieces back together. It’s a repair session like no other.
If you are reading what I am writing and you are sensing deep inside that you need that moment, please seek this “Woman at the Well” experience with God. If possible, connect with a trusted pastoral team. Don’t hesitate for fear of judgment. Don’t keep carrying that burden, let God have it.
Be thirsty enough to seek out living water; find that well, sit down and let Yeshua (Jesus) heal your brokenness right where you are. If you need help finding a congregation, feel free to reach out to me. Maybe we can work together to find a congregation you feel you can call home.
Don’t hesitate to share in the comments section below if you have a comment or wish to share your own “Women and the Well” experience. I look forward to hearing from you.
Shalom to you my friend.