Thirsting for More

This is from today’s Lent Project devotional on the story of the woman at the well in John 4. You can find the devotional here. You can find the Scripture here.

What Jesus shows us in his responses to the Samaritan woman is how he recognizes and affirms her literal thirst but fulfills her spiritual one. Throughout the book of John, Jesus often refers to the physical world as a way to point to the invisible, spiritual world. Yet often his listeners don’t always grasp the double valence of his words, leading to disappointment, confusion, and sometimes even anger. The Samaritan woman, however, moves from misunderstanding Jesus to truly grasping who he is and who she is in light of his divine identity. In other words, she moves from one layer of understanding to a deeper one, one she probably did not anticipate. Her encounter with Jesus reminds us that sometimes our prayers might be for things in this physical world––relationships, achievement, belonging, a home––all good, worthy supplications. God sees and affirms those desires, but he is always working doubly, both in the earthly and spiritual realms. He cares about our present concerns and is working them out to bring about our spiritual transformation. This may seem like a very simple truth but can become the opportunity for greater self-reflection when those concerns are not met. When your prayer for something does not happen, ask yourself: Am I thirsting for “milk beyond milk”? Is my longing for something that I need that I might not even be aware of?

Dr. Maria Su Wang
Associate Professor of English
Biola University

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