Jesus says “Whoever drinks the water that I give will never thirst, but will have a spring flowing inside her.” So why do I keep coming to this stupid well? The well that keeps changing names, but never has enough water in it to quench this relentless thirst. Sometimes the sign up there says “Husband,” when I’m looking to him to give meaning to my days. Sometimes it says “Books,” and I bury myself in story after story, trying to find the key to Real Life. Sometimes it says “Food” or “Caffeine” or “Friends” or “Shopping” or “Working” or “A Clean House.” There are so many labels. But it’s the same dumb well.
I keep sending my bucket down there, scraping it along the muddy, mucky bottom, hoping to scrounge up enough water to soothe my parched throat. If I’m lucky, I might get a sip or two of brown, stale water. And sometimes it does soothe me for a moment. I mean, when you’re utterly dehydrated, a few drops of even the most rank water will seem wonderful. Until your mouth dries out again and your left with the bitter aftertaste of disappointment—disappointment with yourself, disappointment with the people around you, with your circumstances. With God.
But I know better than to keep coming to this well, no matter what fancy new sign someone has put up above it. (“Target!” “Starbucks!” “Facebook!” “Fitzwilliam Darcy!”) No matter how much I try to ignore, deny, explain it away—there’s a drought on here. There always has been. There is not enough water in this well to satisfy me. And there never will be.
So why do I keep forgetting that promise: “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14)???
I choose to turn my heart back to Him today, to that beautiful man who met the woman at the well, told her that her relentless pursuit of satisfaction in this world would never quench the desperate longing in her, and then said those most beautiful, hopeful words: “I who speak to you am He.” I am the one you’ve been waiting for. I am the Messiah your people have been looking for. I am the husband your heart has longed for. Come to me and I’ll give you a well of life inside you that will never run dry, that will never leave you longing for more with nowhere to turn.
Oh, the longing will remain. That’s never going to go away. It’s part of who I am–who we are. But that’s okay. Maybe it’s even good. Because it keeps whispering to me that He is near and that I was created for Him. So I will turn to Him today. I’ll leave this dusty well behind me and find what I’m searching for within me–Him who has graciously, humbly, taken up residence in me. Oh what grace, to find Him inside myself already. To find that I no longer need to go looking outside myself for this satisfaction that I desire—to realize that the Last Homely House—the place of running waters—has been created in me.