**This post was written by Kadin Llewellyn. You can read more of Kadin's work at www.kadinstormblog.com***
Something that has always perplexed me is how some people keep giving. A good mom is an excellent example because she keeps loving her kids when all they do is take and consume her love. I see how she keeps loving her kids and I think, there is no way I could do that. I am a firm believer in you can’t give something that you don’t have. So, my question is how do people get the energy to keep loving others who just take and consume from them?
As I was thinking about this, you see the same thing in nature. For example, let’s take the simplest form of a food chain we learned in third grade. At the top of the food chain, you have the hawk. The hawk gets its energy from eating the snake. The snake gets its energy from eating rabbit. Then the rabbit gets its energy from eating some sort of plant. In this food chain, there is something different about the plant and rabbit’s relationship than the other animals.
Whether the hawk eats the snake, or the snake eats the rabbit, the prey is dead and is a one-time source of energy for the predator, who consumes all the life force out of its victim until there is nothing left. On the other hand, there's the rabbit and the plant. Sometimes, the rabbit can eat the fruit of the plant, and the plant will not die. The rabbit can take energy from the plant without killing it, which means the rabbit can keep coming back and consuming from the plant; it can be a continual source of energy.
As our teachers taught us in grade school, the plant gets its energy from the sun through photosynthesis. The Sun is a source of unlimited energy. As long as the plant is receiving sunlight, it will be able to feed the rabbit continually. The Sun is the reason that the plant can keep giving to the rabbit.
Now, the mechanics of our souls are a little bit different than those of nature. If we draw a parallel between our relationships and those of nature, there is a difference in what happens when we are done consuming. If we consume all the love from someone, they don’t die, although they might be left empty. Then, they have to refill by receiving it from another person, which then creates the cycle of give-and-take relationships. It’s a zero-sum game until someone like the mother comes along and continuously gives to her kids. So, where does she get her energy?
Let's look at the similarities between the mother and the plant. They both have access to this unlimited source of energy that allows them to keep on giving. There must be an endless source of unconditional love for the mother, or this life is a zero-sum game. If there isn’t that unlimited source this life is only about how much you can take and how little you can give. The happiest and most fulfilled person would be the one who could steal and rob the most people. But, in this life, we know it's the opposite. The happiest and most fulfilled people, like the mother, are the ones who give the most.
As I said before, you can’t give what you don’t have. So the mother must get this source of unlimited love from somewhere. Just as the plant gets it from the sun, we get it from The Son. As in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who came down and endured all suffering for our sins because of unlimited and unconditional love.
Since Jesus has been identified as the source, another question comes about, how do we get connected to Him? The woman at the well was wondering the same thing.
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
The woman at the well is longing for the living water that Jesus speaks of, but she doesn’t know how to get it and doesn’t know what she is asking for (John 4:15). She thinks the water is for her body instead of her soul. What she does recognize is Jesus has something she doesn’t have and she wants it. She thinks there are barriers preventing her from receiving the living water.
The first barrier she identifies is genetics. She doesn’t understand why a Jew is even talking to a Samaritan like her (John 4:9). Without going into way too much detail, the Samaritan’s were a weird mix between Jew and Gentile. The cultural differences led the Jews to believe they were superior and the Samaritans knew that the Jews didn’t regard them as part of the Kingdom. The fact that Jesus was even speaking to a Samaritan - and a woman at that - broke down race, sex, and arguably class barriers.
Jesus identifies the second barrier of sin. Jesus asks her where her husband is, knowing she has had many. She responds with “I have no husband” to try to cover it up but Jesus exposes her past of having 5 (John 4:16-19). Jesus already knows all of her sins but is still sitting at the well talking to her. It doesn’t stop Him from being near to her.
Finally, the woman identifies the barrier of location. She says that the Samaritans worship on a mountain and the Jews worship in Jerusalem (John 4:20). She thinks that one place is Holy and the other is not. Jesus replies by saying that soon you won’t have to worship the Father on either of these mountains (John 4:21). Jesus says a time is coming where all these barriers of location will be broken down and everywhere can be holy.
The woman at the well responds with saying she knows that the Messiah will come and break down all the barriers and we will know everything. She knows this time is coming, but to her, these barriers still all exist (John 4:25). Jesus (I imagine responding with a smile) says “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:26). Jesus is saying that time is now because I am here. We know this is true from what He said earlier “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10). Jesus would have given her the living water, if she just asked for it…but didn’t she ask for it before?
When she asked for it in verse 15, she wasn’t asking for the living water Jesus was talking about. She was asking for water that would sustain her body and her body would never thirst again. Jesus is talking about the living water for the soul. Jesus is talking about Himself. It looked like she was simply asking the wrong question.
Jesus has eliminated the barriers of genetics, class, sin, location and anything else that could prevent you from receiving the Father's love. Anything that you come up with is just a mental block in your own head like it was for the woman at the well. It is a perceived barrier; not a valid one. Stop beating yourself up, ask the right question and thirst no more.
This week, spend time in prayer thanking God for offering you an unending source of love. Start each day with prayers of gratitude.