I long to be content. That deep sense of joy and peace, void of anxiety and insecurity. To be satisfied with my life and with myself, rather than feeling like something is always missing and I am always less-than.
I think we all long for contentment. A place of satisfaction rather than a state of chasing, striving, searching for more to make us feel happy and secure.
So often that chasing, striving, and searching ends in vain. Maybe there is some sense of happiness and peace for a little while, but the temporary always fades. We’re left once again falling short and wanting more.
But what if we could be satisfied? What if, even as the hard stuff of life presses in, and the messy, broken pieces of ourselves cause a bit of aching, there could still be joy and peace, and a promise that hope will be realized and love will be forever? What if we could stop the chasing, striving, and searching for more, and instead lean on, rest in, and seek more of Jesus?
Because more of Jesus - knowing Him more and growing to be more like Him - is the only more worth having. Even in seeking more of Jesus, there is satisfaction in Jesus, for He always satisfies the heart that longs for Him. With Jesus, we can both desire more, and have enough at the same time.
We can learn a lot about finding satisfaction in Jesus from a Samaritan woman. We meet this woman in John 4:
Jesus had several legitimate reasons to not talk to this woman. First, she was a woman, and in Jewish culture, a man would not converse with a woman in public. Second, she was a Samaritan woman, and Jews did not associate with Samaritans. She was a Samaritan woman living in sin, for she lived with a man she was not married to. Strike three.
Yet Jesus did choose to speak with her. He looked past appearances and saw a heart longing for love and worth, and looking for it in all the wrong places. This woman was trying to satisfy her heart’s desire to be loved and valued, but instead was ashamed and alone.
Noon was an odd time to be drawing water. It was the hottest part of the day and right in the middle of the day. Rather than fetching water in the cool morning for her daily chores, the woman comes to the well at a time when it was unlikely anyone else would be there. She avoided facing others because of her shame.
With a simple request, “Please give Me a drink,” Jesus begins a life-changing conversation with this woman:
Jesus offers the woman the satisfaction she has been looking for. He speaks of living water; of full, abundant, fresh life flooding her lungs and flowing through her veins. It is water that quenches all thirst. It is life that satisfies all longings.
The woman replies with a big “YES!” She wants this water and the life of satisfaction it promises to bring. I don’t want to keep coming back here to get water. I don’t want to keep chasing, striving, and searching for love and worth only to come up empty-handed and empty-hearted. I don’t want the temporary fix, I want the eternal satisfaction.
When the woman asks for this living water, Jesus calls her to confess her sin; to recognize and acknowledge her need for Him, repenting of her sin.
Does this woman’s life seem familiar? I certainly know I can relate to her, with a heart full of longings and the pull to seek out my satisfaction in other people, in the mirror, in controlling my circumstances, in arriving at the next exciting event on my calendar. And when I let the pull drag me down its path, I find myself living in ways that don’t line up with Jesus’ character and will. I find myself giving into fear and worry, rather than trusting Christ. I find myself acting selfishly, rather than lovingly. I find myself trying to earn God’s approval, rather than entering into His presence.
The woman spoke of a longing for the Messiah, the One who would fulfill and complete and make right. Jesus declares He is the answer to that longing. She need not chase and search and strive any longer.
We see the woman leave her water jar behind. That which was used to draw out the unsatisfying, the unfulfilling, the un-thirst-quenching was forsaken for the sake of knowing Jesus. And in choosing Jesus, the woman went from being shamed by her sin, to sharing her Savior.
Jesus offers each of us living water. He calls us to drink deep. To seek Him. To choose Him. Jesus is the eternal satisfaction we long for. He is the only one who can fill our hearts and fulfill our longings and needs.