The Broken Cistern

The Broken Cistern

I love the story about the Samaritan woman. Perhaps it is because she reminds me of myself. Before I met Him who gives living water, I sought after things that wouldn’t satisfy. They left me feeling thirsty for more of something, but I didn’t know what that ‘something’ was. So, on went the search for satisfaction. Every payday, I’d set aside what I needed to make my car payment, then the rest of the money was ‘play money.’ The next day, I would either go to garage sales or to the malls.

I also sought fulfillment in my job, only to find that because I was doing well over half of the workload of the entire branch, it left me bitter and angry. I resented the laziness in my coworkers. I resented that my boss wouldn’t take some of my excessive workload and spread it among the other people.

I also sought fulfillment and value in relationships. After being betrayed and hurt by so many men, I certainly felt that I had no true value or worth.

As I read about the Samaritan woman, I discover that she has also tried to find fulfillment and satisfaction through relationships. In John 4:18, Jesus mentions that she has had five husbands, and is currently living with a man outside of marriage. I think it is important to note here that Jesus knew all of this information about her lifestyle before ever speaking a word to her. But yet, He who is often called ‘Rabbi’ or ‘Teacher’ broke the custom of that time and spoke to this immoral woman. I would venture to say that any rabbi who encountered her probably looked at her with disdain, reinforcing the feeling that she had no true value.

Her sense of value was so low that she was approaching the well in the heat of midday. She evidently didn’t want to go when other women were present because they too would just sneer at her. Some probably viewed her as competition for their husband’s affections. She must have been an incredibly lonely woman.

Needless to say, when Jesus, who was a Jew, spoke to her, she was astonished! Jews didn’t talk to Samaritans! It was taboo for that culture. Yet, Jesus is asking to drink from her cup. Today, I would liken it to sharing a cup with a homeless man who is a known drug user. We’ve all heard the stories of the contagious diseases that can be spread through sharing dirty needles. In our culture, sharing a cup with one such as this would be considered taboo.

The woman is more astonished when Jesus, who has no water jar, tells her that He can give her living water. Now she is very intrigued. She begins to see that she is like the people mentioned in Jer. 2:13, who dug their own cisterns, only to find they couldn’t hold water. Her eyes are opened and she sees Him who is the Living Water.

In John 4:28, we discover that she leaves her water jar behind. As I was working on this message, pondering on the Word, it occurred to me that her water jar represents her past. It represents her broken cistern, which kept leaking when she tried to fill it with things that couldn’t satisfy or quench her thirst. She leaves it there, at the feet of the Master. She teaches us a great lesson in that simple act. We, too, need to leave our broken cisterns at the feet of Jesus.

Sister, if you are still carrying around those broken things of the past, the One who gives you living water calls you to leave your broken cistern at His feet. Let Him carry away all of your brokenness, all of your pain, all of your shame.

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. heavenlyraindrops
    Dec 03, 2013 @ 13:09:01

    Great insight about leaving the past behind. thanks

    Reply

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