Catching sight of ourselves

Artesian wells are amazing. It isn’t that the water is markedly different, but in how the water comes above the ground.

The water is under significant pressure because it is trapped in layers of poorly permeable rock. Disturb the layers and the water will shoot or flow from the ground with some force.

In John chapter four, Jesus told the Samaritan woman she could have “living water,” (John 4:10). The Lord was speaking about a source of fresh, artesian water.

The Jews had few sources of this kind of water. Most of what they had was rain water caught in a cistern, very much like the cistern from which the Samaritan woman drew her water.

Of course, the water Jesus was talking about was a fountain of everlasting life. The woman’s interest was piqued, but then Jesus said something she did not expect.

“Go call your husband, and come here,” Jesus said, (John 4:16 NASB).

In his commentary on the book of John, William Barclay wrote that the woman “had suddenly caught sight of herself.”

Jesus knew everything about her, including her several marriages. Jesus knew the man she was living with was not her husband at all (John 4:18). When faced with the truth, what could she do but admit it?

Someone once told me that when a good person faces sin, repentance will be the result. It isn’t because this self-awareness causes one to think of worthlessness. It is simply that the realization of error is meant to produce repentance.

When a preacher convicts someone of sin, it isn’t an attempt to preach that person into destruction, but to WIN that person to everlasting life. Often, human beings need to see themselves objectively and learn that repentance and confession are designed to bring one to salvation, not destruction.

King David was a good man who did many wrong things. Specifically, David had committed adultery with the wife of one of his soldiers and, later, had that soldier killed. When the prophet, Nathan, taught David the parable of the little ewe lamb, it was not designed to condemn him, but to help him realize what he had done (2 Samuel 12:1ff).

Humans don’t often look into the mirror of the soul. But, when we catch “sight of ourselves,” the action can help us save our souls if we are willing to repent and turn from our sins to obey God.

God wants our salvation. He took great pains to bring us a savior who could do exactly that. Jesus said, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3 NASB). We need that reflection and repentance. God expects it and wants it for us.

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