Set Free

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:15–18)

In these verses Jesus beautifully demonstrates to us the truth of Proverbs 11:30:

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.

“Allow God to have complete liberty in your life when you speak. Before God’s message can liberate other people, His liberation must first be real in you. Gather your material carefully, and then allow God to ‘set your words on fire’ for His glory.” –Oswald Chambers

Going forth in the wisdom that God alone provides, the righteous are as trees of life. Continually displaying and offering God’s teaching, reproofing, and training in righteousness God’s people point lost souls to the Savior. We have the unique privilege of communicating with both word and deed God’s wisdom and His love to those who do not know Him!

This woman was in need of liberation. Coming alone to retrieve water from the well in the middle of the day indicates to us perhaps that she was not surrounded with the companionship of many female friends. Most likely, the women would go together to the well in the early morning hours. According to her own words she desired not to have to keep coming to the well to draw water. Perhaps she did not like the task; perhaps she did not like the rejection. More than likely, this woman was ostracized by the women of her town due to her lifestyle, and therefore she was open to the hope and acceptance which Jesus held out. Whatever the reason, she wanted the liberation that He was offering.

“As humans, we have heads, and therefore must be given facts and evidences and arguments in order to make reasonable commitments. And we have hearts with longings and yearnings and hopes and fears and desires. Therefore, if someone urges me to commit myself to a certain goal, he must persuade my head that the goal is really there as he says it is; and he must move my heart to feel the value of attaining it.”

Jesus knows that she will be open to the remedy of grace. He doesn’t badger her, he doesn’t accuse her, he simply says, “Go, call your husband and come back.” Her response to Him is true, yet misleading: “I have no husband.” Jesus knows her exact situation. Her response was intended as a denial, yet sweetly Jesus interprets it as a confession. This woman is about to be set free!

“And this is the method of dealing with souls; they must first be made weary and heavy-laden under the burden of sin, and then brought to Christ for rest. This is the course of spiritual therapy.” (Matthew Henry)

Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)

“Stand with confidence, serve with compassion, speak with care, submit with contrition, and share with concern. A believer should be what God wants him to be, do what God wants him to do, say what God wants him to say, sense what God wants him to sense, and share what God wants him to share. Spiritual maturity involves every aspect of life.” (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

“The love of Christ both wounds and heals, it fascinates and frightens, it kills and makes alive, it draws and repulses. There can be nothing more terrible or wonderful than to be stricken with love for Christ so deeply that the whole being goes out in a pained adoration of His person, an adoration that disturbs and disconcerts while it purges and satisfies and relaxes the deep inner heart.” (A. W. Tozer)

Just as Jesus’ words revealed to the woman at the well who she really was, the Word of God reveals to us who we really are. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12–13)

“Jesus showed us what God really wants to cleanse and purify—our hearts. Christ’s transforming work on the cross helps us to break free from desires that hold us in bondage. As we submit to God, we become like Christ, no longer wanting to offend God. Out of gratitude we obey Him from the inside out.” –Tremper Longman

We need to be open to the Holy Spirit’s conviction so that we can live in the liberation that Jesus bought for us on the cross.

Take It to Heart

“A broken and contrite heart has no room for frivolity and trifling. A broken heart is serious, and solemn, and in earnest. A broken heart never tries to play any tricks with God, and never shuffles texts as though even Scripture itself were meant only to be an opportunity for testing our wit.” (C. H. Spurgeon)