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His Pursuit Always Has Purpose

by | Jun 18, 2024 | Featured, Life Advice

I remember one of the first children’s Christian hymns I ever learned in Sunday school. Maybe you know it, too. It goes like this:

Jesus loves me, this I know,

for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to him belong;

They are weak, but He is strong.

I can still hear my Sunday school class sing this song all together. I sang with such confidence that it was true. I just loved it, and I loved the lyrics. I mean, who doesn’t love being loved? I sure do. I’m guessing you do, too. We all have this desire to be seen, known, and loved.

As we get older and experience more life, opening ourselves up to love can feel absolutely terrifying over time. As Tim Keller explains, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”

Although I didn’t fully grasp how true these lyrics were at five years old in my Sunday school class, I understand now that the Bible actually does tell us so. The Word of God is full of Jesus’ love for us. And we discover the depth of love Jesus has for us, only then can we begin to open ourselves up to being known and loved by another human being. Jesus first, relationships second. Always.

In John 4, we meet a sweet friend who was looking for water, but needing so much more. We don’t know her name, but we learn a lot about her and Jesus from this conversation surrounding a water source:

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you know the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:7–10)

That’s only the beginning of her interaction with Jesus. I encourage you to read the rest of her beautiful story in John 4:11–30. But here’s what we learn about her from her time with Jesus.

She was culturally seen as “lesser than” because she was a Samaritan. Being one meant that she was generally hated by Jews for religious and racial reasons. On top of that, Samaritans were known for having unstable theological beliefs, not fully rooted in Scripture. All of this is the perfect storm for prejudice and cultural tension between these two people groups.

Also, she struggled with shame and isolation. We see in verse six that she came at the “sixth hour,” meaning around noon. Culturally, women would travel in groups in the early morning hours (the coolest time of the day) to draw water from the well. But our friend not only showed up at the hottest hour of the day, but she also came alone.

When we feel shame, we pull away from God and from others. Isolation is one of the biggest tools the enemy uses to keep us in our thought patterns of shame, guilt, and regret. That’s where we find her. That’s right where Jesus found her. And He had something to say about it.

Lastly, she had a questionable past when it came to relationships. “The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband” for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true’” (John 4:17–18).

When we’re not rooted in Jesus, we have no idea what to look for. Our friend here had men give her attention, maybe even fulfill certain desires that she had (to be loved, to be taken care of, to be seen), but she was never truly satisfied because no man could ever give her what she truly longed for. She was looking for a love that stayed. A love that wasn’t based on emotions and feelings but on commitment and Christ. She was looking for living water. And although she hadn’t yet found it, the Living Water found her.

Here’s what we learn about Jesus.

Jesus will take the unlikely path to pursue you. Because of the cultural hostility that the Jews had toward Samaritans, Jewish people typically didn’t travel through Samaria when going from Judea to Galilee. Culturally, the hate was so real that they took the long route just to avoid the entire town. The tension was also real. But see here that Jesus didn’t take the path most others took. Instead, verse 4 says, “And he had to pass through Samaria.” This was a “had to” not out of a place of obligation or expectation but out of necessity to reach her.

Jesus will take any route He needs to take to get to your heart and your hurts. Not only did He take the unlikely route here, but He also waited for her. We see here that Jesus is willing, able, and eager to wait for us. Just like He was with this woman, He’s abundantly patient and never late for an encounter with His children.

Next, Jesus will break any barrier to pursue you. In that day, it’s important that we understand the role that women played in society. They were seen as the lowest class. On top of being not just a Samaritan, but a Samaritan woman, sister-friend didn’t have a whole lot going for her. But we see here that Jesus wasn’t too concerned with cultural barriers when it came to pursuing those He was after.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’” (John 4:7). Not only did Jesus speak to her, but He humbled Himself to ask her for something. He knew they were going to have a hard conversation, and He wanted her to know that she had a Savior that wasn’t afraid to get on her level and meet her where she was.

Lastly, Jesus will enter into your mess to pursue you. Are there parts of your life that just feel messy? Unhinged? Falling apart? Me, too. Same for our friend here. She had parts of her life that she would probably do anything to hide. But Jesus wasn’t afraid of those areas. On the contrary, those were the exact areas He was excited to dig into with her.

I’m not proud of this, but I’m a pretty messy person by nature. I remember when Ryan and I were engaged, so many people would warn me that living with a boy is messy and that I better prepare myself. I rarely commented back, but I always remember thinking, Actually, I feel bad for Ryan that he has to live with me. Yes, I am the messy one in our marriage.

One of the main messes that I make is what I like to call “my piles.” If you are a pile maker, you know what these are. They are piles of clothes. After trying on multiple outfits a day, I will form a pile in a corner of our room instead of hanging those clothes up. It’s become a running joke because if Ryan sees a pile, he can’t understand how it could be anything but dirty clothes. But with lots of patience, I explain to him that there is a difference between a clean pile and a dirty pile. In fact, most of my piles are clean! Men, right?! Just kidding! It’s a real problem, and I’m working on it 😉

I think sometimes we also compartmentalize the messy part of our lives. We have the “not so bad piles,” the “dirty piles,” and even the “looks clean on the outside piles.” But at the end of the day, a pile is a pile. And Jesus came to enter into our piles, no matter how dirty or put together they may seem. If something isn’t where He calls it to be, He will enter in and address it—even the piles we’re afraid for anyone to see.

That’s what He did here with our friend at the well. He wasn’t afraid to have the hard conversations about her relationships. He addressed the reality of her past without judgment or heaping shame onto her. Just like her pile of past broken relationships, we each have hard areas that Jesus is sitting, waiting, and ready to be welcomed in.

Friend, Jesus will never enter a situation that He doesn’t fully plan to redeem. His pursuit always has purpose. Let Him into the hard piles, the messy piles, and even the piles you’ve come to accept, and watch what He’ll do. This is the best kind of loved. Fully seen, fully known, fully loved.

Morgan Krueger is a Jesus follower, wife, mother, and author who found her voice connecting with women seeking freedom from the brokenness of past shame. Passionate about the redemption found in following Jesus, Morgan aims to keep that at the center of all she does. Morgan works at Faithfully Restored, a ministry that offers the hope of Jesus in the midst of suffering. Her first book, Goodbye Hiding, Hello Freedom: Trading Your Shame for Redemption in Jesus, releases in September 2024.

In her downtime, you can find Morgan enjoying the significance of the mundane, including spending time with her two sons, encouraging women through words, and watching British baking shows with her husband, Ryan, in Franklin, TN. You can connect with her on Instagram @morganwkrueger and at morgankrueger.com.

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