Imagine that a counselee, parishioner, or spiritual friend came to you with the following story.
“I’m struggling. I’ve been married five times. Now I’m with another man. I feel like I just have to have a man. I’m desperate and empty without a man in my life.”
If we were ministering in the 80s and influenced by the counseling climate of the day, we might diagnose this woman with a “co-dependency issue.” Ministering in today’s counseling environment, we might determine that she has an “addiction issue.”
A Worship Disorder
Jesus determined that she had a worship issue. The woman, of course, is “the Samaritan woman” of John 4.
Many people miss the connection between John 2:23-25, John 3, and John 4. The end of John 2 should be like a flashing neon light. “Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.”
Jesus knows us universally and internally. He is the divine Soul Physician. He is the Creator and Designer of our soul.
To illustrate this reality, John demonstrates Jesus’ perfect, in-depth understanding of human nature by comparing and contrasting two people who could not have been more different. Exhibit A: the male, Pharisee, religious leader, self-righteous, Jewish Nicodemus. Exhibit B: the female, irreligious, unrighteous, Samaritan woman.
Jesus knows all about all of us. As our Creator, He knows that our core issue is a worship issue. That’s why, with the Samaritan woman, He doesn’t focus on her “co-dependency” or even her “sexual addiction” per se. Jesus focuses on her core spiritual thirst.
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Not understanding Him, she focuses on physical water. Jesus again brings her gaze to her worshipping soul.
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14).