The following is an excerpt from Proven, a 8-week Bible study by Jennie Allen that walks through key passages in the Book of John to demonstrate how only Jesus is enough. For more information, visit lifeway.com/proven.
Accepted and Connected
It is the most secure place in the world to be connected to Jesus. The source of what we know about healthy relationships is found in our connection with Jesus and His unconditional love for us. The health of our relationships with others flows out of the reality that we are completely accepted and loved by Jesus.
Finding our worth in Christ takes the pressure off our relationships with those we love. We can live without having to prove ourselves to them or have them meet all of our needs.
Sitting in the deepest part of us is an enormous desire to connect. We crave intimate connection with our people more than nearly any other thing.
Isn’t it just beautiful how much of this chapter in John is devoted to a conversation with an adulterous woman? Jesus was so fully present with her and fully aware of her needs and committed to meeting her needs, needs she didn’t even realize she had. I think of how often I avoid intentional conversations. It seems too much trouble to engage deeply with neighbors or sometimes even with my kids. It is easier to brush by people and in turn brush by our lives.
We are rarely fully present with God and others. Jesus had complete knowledge of His eternal home and yet while His feet were on this earth, He chose to live fully present in the dirt with His people. Living intentionally present takes discipline. It means a full on war against an entire culture that prizes busyness. Even our churches can keep us too busy.
At some point in her time with Jesus, this woman went from wandering and searching and hiding to free and engaged and purposeful. She had probably been going to the well alone for years, hoping to hide from the whispers and judgment. But after being with Jesus, she boldly ran back to the town and shared the very thing she had been trying to hide from them and she was even joyful about it! She testified about the Savior who changed her life in mere minutes.
She went from:
- Shame and hiding to being fully known
- Avoiding people to engaging everyone around her
- Thirsty for someone to fill her needs to completely satisfied
- Rejected to accepted
- Embarrassed to overflowing with joy
For the last year or more I have met with three of my dearest friends for lunch every week. In our conversations we go to the hardest places, the places you usually keep tucked in the very back of your secret closet. We bring out the very darkest parts of our lives and stories, and lay them out. Then together we start to discover what God wants for us.
A few weeks ago my people confronted me, because that’s what we do. It’s so lovely. And painful.
Excerpted from Jennie Allen, Proven. © 2017 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.