Two strangers—a man and a woman—met one day at an ordinary well. Their conversation stuttered along in fits and starts with the odd feel of an out-of-range cell call: pauses and missed cues, awkward spaces between query and response. They needn't have spoken at all, but he broke the ice with a request it would have been impolite to ignore. "Give me a drink," he simply said. Game on.
In a matter of a few swirling moments they were speaking of mountains and worship and prophets and something he called living water, even though the water in the well seemed as lifeless to her as ever.
The man who stood before her was unlike any man she had ever encountered. For one thing, he spoke to her as if they were equals. For another, he knew too much. Way too much. Things she'd have rather kept private. He knew facts that caused her shame and required that she maintain vigilant defenses, and a very thick skin. He saw her as she truly was yet did not turn away.
You and I play to our strengths and do our best to cover our flaws. We've read the relational play book. We've read the room. We know that vulnerability—though lauded—is dangerous, and that a protective veneer of toughness and confidence provides a ready defense against hurt. We don't roll over for anyone. Ever. So like this woman, we're more than a little undone when someone slips inside the armor with no intent to wound and says, "I see your stuff. I'm not repelled. I'm still here. Now let's really talk."
I may hide my most uncomfortable secrets from the world with some measure of success; I can pretend to be bulletproof in my actions and judgments and might even get you to buy it. But Jesus reads my mail.
He's seen me at my worst and just when I believe he should reject me on principle (his!), he moves in closer still. I can't shake him. Not with diversionary God talk, not with peacock-like displays of the very gifts he's given, not with puffed up pretense or stiff armed resistance.
He sees every flaw and draws closer, holding out his hand as if to say, "Here. Give it up. Let me love that, too." And then lo and behold, he does.
If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, "From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water."
(John 7: 37–38)