“He heals the broken hearted and heals up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
The pastor at my church is currently reading through the book of John with us. This past week we began to read about the Samaritan woman (John-chapter 4). The woman at the well. This record of Jesus’ meeting with her isn’t here by any accident. It is a prime example of what Jesus’ character is and how we should treat others. You see, until you really look at what’s going on, you won’t realize that this woman is lonely. She has a history. A history that has affected how those around her treat her. She’s been rejected. Until Jesus came along.
I believe that many, if not all of us, have felt at some time in our lives the same. REJECTED. Rejected by society. Rejected by peer groups. And even worse, rejected by family and friends. We, like the Samaritan woman may intentionally avoid certain places at certain times so we don’t see those that have hurt us. That’s the reason she was at the well the same time as Jesus. At high noon, the hottest part of the day. All the others would have gone to the well early in the morning while the air was still cool. Even now, as I write this, my heart hurts for her. Her missing out on the fellowship that would have ocurred earlier in the day. The memories of my own feelings of rejection enhance this as well. Knowing that your not part of “the group” or being treated differently for one reason or the other. That they not only won’t talk to you but they’ll be there gossiping about you as well. And that’s on a good day.
Although I don’t think about those times too often anymore, the feelings of insecurity can rise up with the memories of times when I felt so alone and rejected. Getting married at the age of 18, just a few months after graduating high school, began a time like this for me. A little longer than a year after we married, I had my daughter. Such a tiny little thing she was. And just a few years later my son came along. Having been so young having my children left me several years younger than many of the other ‘moms’ when the kids started school. Most of the other parents wanted nothing to do with me. The ‘looks’ were always fun (not). Seeing them whisper to each other….Likely trying to figure out my story (I was divorced by the time they started school). It was a part of my life where I was more of a loner, though not really by choice.
It didn’t help that I was so very, very insecure with my weight around that time as well. I was a big girl, although not much more so than I am now. I noticed easily how differently I may have been treated compared to someone else who was more fit than I…maybe more stylish (I most definitely had no style at the time). The complements don’t come, neither do the simple smiles that, again, those of a fitter stature would so easily receive. That standard acceptance that I hoped and longed for wasn’t being offered. **I will mention in a blog some time later my reaction when I finally did get the attention-after losing weight-not quite what I expected.**
The acceptance that Jesus offers the Samaritan woman is the same He offers us. You see, as Jesus spoke with her He knew all along who she was and what her story was and He knew what was in her heart (as He does yours and mine). He knew, as the scripture tells us, that she was married five times and was currently unmarried-living with a man. That would have been a big deal not so long ago, can you imagine 2000 years ago?!-The fact that Jesus spoke with her, that He was even where He was at the time, shows what kind of Man He is. At that time people of the Jewish faith would go out of their way to avoid walking through Samaria let a lone speak with a Samaritan. His love for others overrides societal preferences. He came to save and love us all. Not only from the hurt and pain of this world but that of the next. Those in the Jewish faith believed that the Messiah was to come for them and them alone. But He didn’t. He did come for them…and everyone else. Everyone who will believe in Him.
We all have issues. Every single one of us. Even the best person you know or knew. And that’s OK. Just look at the Word. It is filled from cover to cover with VERY broken and sinful people that God used. From Abraham (who consistently lied about Sarah being his wife), Moses (murdered a man and was afraid to do as God asked-needed Aaron to come along), David (an adulterer and murderer), Rahab the prostitute, Jonah (who went out of his way to not do God’s will due to his hatred of the people of Nineveh and ended up in the belly of a ‘big fish’). In the New Testatment we see God use Peter- who denied that he even knew Jesus three times as His time was coming to an end, yet was the rock that Jesus built His church. And Paul-who hunted down and had killed followers of ‘the Way’ -early Christians and became an awesome and very powerful disciple for Christ. Like the story of Paul our hearts cannot truly change without Him. As He did with Paul we need a moment that we realize that God’s way, His true way, is the right and only way to come to Him.
It can be difficult to accept but Jesus loves us just as much on our ugliest day as He does on our best day. As is seen with the story of David-who did so many things wrong-he still was called a man after God’s heart. Why? Because when he sinned he went straight to God to ask forgiveness, and he repented. He recognized that he sinned and needed God. We need to do the same. First, go to God with our sins and our struggles-ask for forgiveness and repent. Then 2-we need to do the same for those around us. We need to Love people. Forgive people. Show them that despite their mistakes, you love them. Don’t avoid them. Jesus didn’t avoid the person on the street, the homeless person, or the ill. Those that society avoids the most He approaches with arms open wide. Do you? Will you?
One of thing things I have learned about and love to utilize is a tool that I learned while participating in Bible studies (and listening to sermons online) is to look up the original word and meaning in scripture (in a concordance). When you look at the meaning of the words of Psalm 147:3 it means so much more than what it states in English. “He heals” is the Hebrew word rapha’- it speaks of to heal by stitching, to cure/cause to heal, repair and to make whole. The Hebrew word for “broken” is shabar- to burst (do you ever feel like then when someone has hurt your or you’ve lost a loved one?), to breakdown-in pieces, to crush, destroy. And the word used to “heals” (their wounds) is chabash- to wrap firmly, compress, bind up, gird about….so much more understanding when we see it in the original language.
God is with us always. And when we are broken hearted-devestated, our hearts and minds in pieces…He’s there. Wrapping us up firmly within His arms. Healing us from the inside out. We only need to come to Him. He came to save us from the sin of this world. He goes out of His way to come to us, arms wide open. All too often we want to wait until we change to come to Him. To accept Him as our Lord and Savior. DON’T wait. He wants you now. All of you. With ALL of your issues, hurts and broken pieces.
Won’t you come? I pray you do. Come find the peace only Jesus can provide.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Lots of love,