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If Only

“He told me everything I ever did.” John 4:39 (NIV)

The woman at the well; look her up in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of me. We all have labels we dislike: addict, unfit, shy, stuck-up, party girl, fat, arrogant, stupid, unproductive, quitter, alcoholic, cheapskate, unworthy. Mine was “the woman at the well.”

Who was this woman? If you are not familiar with her story, pause to read John 4:1-30. What was her background? We don’t have details, but we can be sure that her misdirected life didn’t happen all at once. It was achieved by believing and acting on one lie at a time. This woman was on a desperate journey to find herself and her worth through men.

An encounter at a well between her and Jesus brought two lives together and changed one forever. Through Jesus she found the love and worth she desperately desired – just as I did. Her story delivers hope when divorce is claiming over two million victims each year, leaving broken lives and aching hearts in its wake.

I suspect this woman had been suffering from the “If Only” disease; the questioning of her life that causes her ‘dis’ (the absence or reversal of) ‘ease’ (freedom). “If only I hadn’t made that wrong decision;” “if only I had married a man who found value in me;” “if only my children would show me respect;” “if only my parents were different;” if only… if only… if only.

I meet women all the time who tell me they feel unworthy, unloved and unimportant in the scheme of life. It breaks my heart to hear this, because I once believed this lie too. I tried to find my worth in love; love from a man, love from my children, love from my friends, not realizing the love of God was freely offered to me and would satisfy.

Life can be a monotonous pattern. We continue to do the same thing over and over again. Though we may find temporary satisfaction, we will get thirsty again. We will keep trying to quench our thirst with a different man, a better job, a bigger house, another drink.

We live in a hurting world. Haunting choices from our pasts linger in our lives and prevent us from being all that God intends for us to be. Baggage doesn’t have to be a reality in your life. God longs to give you an abundant life... if only you will accept His life-giving water and leave your drought in the dust.

Focus on the flawed people in the Bible who called Jesus a friend. He never sought perfect people, only people willing to follow a perfect Savior. Make a promise to yourself never to use the words “if only” again. Drop a coin in a jar every time you slip and begin to linger in your past mistakes. See how poor you can become in the jar and how rich you can grow in the Lord.

Father, I pray for every woman who has been touched by the pain of divorce, whether as a wife or daughter. I ask that You allow them to see their worth through Your eyes. You, dear Lord, saw value in the woman at the well and without a doubt, You see it in each one of Your children. Teach us to drink from Your life-giving water each day and live the abundant life You provide. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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