by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery
For years, I was a stale and stagnated Christian. Christ had deposited His living water within my soul, but it felt more like a trickling creek than a gushing river.
I wasn’t thriving. In fact, in many ways I was barely surviving. Then one weekend, I went on a women’s retreat and heard the account of the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42) who’d gone through a string of relationships, and, I felt certain, lived as empty as I was. She may have been widowed, abandoned, or she may have chosen divorce. But regardless of the causes, she’d committed to and then lost five different husbands. That had to have left emotional scars.
Jesus saw her pain and sought her out. He arrived at the community well, and after sending His disciples away, waited.
Upon the woman’s arrival to draw water, He initiated a conversation with her by asking for a drink of water. He wanted to make her conscious of a deeper, spiritual thirst she had that no physical liquid could quench. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks for a drink,” he said, “you would have asked Him, and He would’ve given you living water” (John 4:10, NIV).
In ancient Palestine, water so necessary to life was scarce. Rain fell only a few months each year. But when it did, the previously brown and barren countryside suddenly became lush and green.
It was in that dry, barren environment that Jesus invited her to believe in Him. It was a chance to come fully alive for the first time in her life. Later in John, Jesus described the saving work of the Holy Spirit: “Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-39, NIV).
As I sat under this teaching that day, I felt confused. I’d already trusted in Christ for my eternal salvation. But I had never learned to truly live in response to His Holy Spirit (Jesus’ Living Water) in me. Much of this failure came down to one simple issue: I didn’t know how to live loved. The scars of past hurts, fears, and continual self-loathing covered my heart. It was all blocking me from fully accepting God’s continual grace being poured over me.
I spent so much time attempting to fill all my empty places—through alcohol, social interactions, and food—in an attempt to distance myself from the only One who could ever fill me completely.
I hadn’t a clue how to have an authentic relationship—with anyone, let alone the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present yet invisible Creator. So I asked Him to show me. To teach me. To heal me.
And He did. For the next fifteen or so years, He has healed my wounds, removed my distrust, and helped me discover the freedom of living love.
Of living filled.
We receive God’s living water, the Holy Spirit, the moment we trust in Christ for salvation. But our experience doesn’t end there. As we deepen our relationship with Jesus and surrender more of ourselves to Him, the river God has deposited within us grows stronger. It will soak into every crack and crevice in our hearts, filling us completely with His Living Water. His Spirit pours out in a refreshing, life-giving stream.
…Be filled with the Spirit…singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:18-19 NASB
About the author: Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Hometown Healing and numerous other titles, hosts the Faith Over Fear Podcast (available soon on Crosswalk) and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.
Join the Conversation: Let’s talk about this! Have you experienced God’s living water? Is something slowing the waters of God’s Spirit? How can you give Him more access to yourself so that He can flow within and from you unhindered?