When Your Wound Gets Named

Lou Lotz

Read: John 4:1-26

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. (v. 7)

In biblical times, women customarily traveled in groups from the village to the well to fetch water. But this woman comes alone, and as the conversation unfolds we find a possible explanation why. She has an unsavory reputation. Her life, we learn, has been one long string of botched relationships. One husband after another after another—five husbands and now a live-in boyfriend. The other village women don’t approve of her. She is ostracized. Maybe that’s why she comes alone to Jacob’s well?

The woman’s story is more tragic than scandalous, I think. This woman hadn’t devoured husband after husband as much as she had been devoured by a social system that, for whatever reason, had passed her around from one man to another, until finally she didn’t even have the dignity of a marriage. When Jesus talks about her husbands, then, perhaps he is not so much exposing her sin as he is naming her wound.

I go to church for many reasons, but one reason is that I long to hear a word that will name my wound, a word that will bring healing to that place where it hurts. And so I come to the well, sometimes feeling alone even in a crowd, hoping to meet Jesus, yearning for a drink of that living water, my parched soul whispering, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty” (v. 15). And he never disappoints. —Lou Lotz

As you pray, ask God to heal you where you are wounded.