Define It | Devotion #5: To Know Him is to Love Him
Holly Boston | Women’s Director
Take a few minutes and read John 4:1-45. In this story we find a Samaritan woman performing an ordinary task, and she ends up having an extraordinary encounter with Jesus. She goes to a well to draw the water she needs for the day and enters into a conversation in which Jesus offers her “living water” (verse 10) that will satisfy her thirst completely. Ultimately, this unlikely woman receives Christ, becomes God’s vessel for the Gospel, and is used to transform many in her town (verse 41).
There are many truths taught from this one story: salvation is for all, Jesus knows our past and still loves us, Jesus meets us where we are, and too many are looking for love in all the wrong places. As I look back at my own story, I realize I have a lot in common with this lady, and I have drawn my own truth from it: to know Jesus is to love Jesus.
This lady was an unlikely recipient of an encounter with Jesus, let alone His gift. Jewish men were not to be seen or to associate with Samaritan women. Samaritans were treated with prejudice and disdain because they were the product of intermarriage between Jews and Gentiles. Jewish people avoided passing through Samaria, but Jesus did not. I was also an unlikely recipient of an encounter with Jesus having been raised in a non-Christian environment and never having heard of Jesus’ life and sacrifice for me. But the most striking commonality between this woman and myself is a lack of understanding, stemming from a wrong perspective.
After Jesus offers the woman “living water,” she responds with these words, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water” (John 4:15). She did not get it! Jesus was offering the “living water” that would completely quench her spiritual thirst and meet every need she would ever have. She was focused on her worldly, physical needs and Jesus was focused on eternity and the condition of her soul.
In 1995, I met Jesus and received His gift of eternal life. The cares and struggles of this life had broken me, and I needed to be saved. My parents had just divorced, and my own marriage was not the heavenly union I expected. This anxious, controlling woman was becoming more anxious and realizing how little control she really had. Meeting Christ was followed by three years that were riddled with heartbreak and struggle: job loss, home loss, health problems, and a child diagnosed with Autism. In 1999, I called my sister and told her that if this was life with Christ, I am out. Where was Jesus who loves me and would never leave me? How could Jesus offer me rest and peace, take control of my life, and then allow such pain? Two minutes later my brother-in-law called and said: “I do not understand. You gave your life to Christ, and now you are ready to walk away and do not even know Him.” He was right. I received Christ and then continued attending my church, which was steeped in legalistic ritual and absent of any instruction on the Word of God.
I immediately enrolled in a Bible study and began to learn the truth about my Savior. I expected Jesus to end my struggles but Scripture says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). He goes on to say, “For you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). I was stunned to learn that my pain was actually part of His plan and allowed for the purpose of transforming me. These truths were only palatable when I learned His promises:
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
When I was led by misconceptions and half-truths about my Savior, I felt angry and abandoned. With the understanding I have received from studying His Word and walking with Him, my relationship has grown, and my love for Jesus has deepened. I love Him because He first loved me!