In the first two parts of this series I brought out that Jesus first and always acknowledges where a person is at that moment, without opinion nor judgement.
With the woman at the well it was very clear:
"You have truly said you have no husband, for you have had 5 husbands and the man you are now living with is not your husband. This you have truly said."
We will see this pattern over and over again in the gospels as Jesus set about to heal emotions, first step; Acknowledge where you are right now.
Perhaps not so ironically, this is also foundational to every non-spiritual program that helps with emotional issues, from addictions to depression, from financial ruin to ruined relationships people have brought on themselves. All these non-spiritual programs and methods have inadvertently been following the way the Lord starts the healing process for the emotions: Acknowledge where you are right now.
In modern words we would say 'take responsibility' for you life. Own up to where you are right now - no judgement - just own it. This is very different from the feel good seeker friendly, non-confrontational, no tough decisions gospel now presented by what used to be cutting edge charismatic (even Word of Faith) churches. So much of the social gospel is just ask Jesus into your life and He will make it all better. But Jesus' methods are quite clear: First step is admitting where you are. Own it.
Is to allow the Lord to reset your ideas of your own history. This woman had gone through 5 marriages and that produced a lot of memories and emotions that formed her opinion about herself and her life. When Jesus 'told me everything I ever did' it reset her understanding of her own history. She had to allow that. She had to even allow herself to have questions like, 'If you knew all this and saw all this and watched me go through all this, why did you not intervene? Where were you?'
Second step part A
IF she had questions like that He offered no explanation. A person who is emotionally bruised must come to a point they realize they will not have all the answers this side of heaven. Emotionally and spiritual healthy people can work through the how's and why's and move on, content to let answers come in heaven, while a bruised stem cannot - they dwell on the how and why.
Jesus offered this woman no explanation, nor will He offer any other people in the examples we'll see in the gospels any explanation - some things must wait until heaven to be answered. To be emotionally healthy a person must be willing to lay aside the unanswerable questions in a step of faith and trust.
Paul in II Timothy 1:12: 'I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded He will keep that which I've entrusted with Him until that day." Trust Him with those questions.
At the point of her 'Jesus moment', He had moved on from her past and was focused on the here and now - the conversation right then. He was not allowing her to bring up her past, to ask questions about it, to look over her shoulder once again, sobbing with questions for God in the flesh who was standing before her - He was in the present.
It reminds me of something He said to me once in a play of words in English: "I AM, which is always present. So to be in my presence you must be in the present."
When you are in the here and now, in His presence, there is no concern for the how and why of the past. He didn't bring up why she had gone through 5 marriages, He merely acknowledged it and got her to admit it as well. Then He moved on.
Third step to emotional healing...
When He told her He was Messiah in John 4:26 she 'left her water pot' and went into the city which led to Jesus being invited to stay there 2 days. She told others about this revelation. God accepted her as she was, for what she had been through, and changed her opinion about her own history. Now she told others how she had changed.
That admission of her re-set of her own history is another vital element we see used by Jesus over and over again. Acknowledge where you are, allow God to bring revelation to your understanding of your own past which resets your thinking, then tell others how you've moved on based on the revelation from God you've had.
Fourth step to emotional healing...
Because I have so many examples of Jesus healing emotions in the gospels I am not spending a lot of time on each principle in favor of showing you a variety of people and how these same elements were applied to them - but finally this last point with the woman at the well.
In John 4: 41-43 it tells us that Jesus stayed 2 days with them, and then He left. He left the woman at the well with new life, and a decision for her to make.
That is an important method of the Lord - He left her with a decision just as He does us today: Specifically, what is she going to do with this 6th man she is now living with?
We don't know what emotional trauma she suffered in her first 5 marriages, but we do know that there was a reason she was just living with the 6th man. In modern terms, for people are the same today as back then, it may have been fear in some form or another - not wanting to bury yet another husband, not wanting to commit just to have him leave her for a younger girl friend - or a host of other reasons then, just as today.
Jesus left her so she could decide
There are many examples showing that the Lord often plays the role of Observer, just watching to see what we will do. If you're like me, you've had many times in the midst of decision making that you've been aware the Lord is watching, waiting, staying in the background to see what decision you will make.
"And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, He opened her womb..." Genesis 29:31
"Don't rejoice when your enemy falls, don't let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it and it displeases Him..." Proverbs 24:17-18
"And Peter said, 'Man, I don't know what you are saying'. And immediately the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned, and looked at Peter..." Luke 22:60-61
And so it was that Jesus left the woman at the well with a decision before her face: What will she do about her living arrangements? He being God, would watch from afar. I like to say it this way: "Often times God is not in the event; He is found in our response to an event." He will let you make a decision without His influence at all - you know enough to make a godly decision - and He may be found in the right decision.
Wanting God to make the decision for them
I see this gospel of 'let God decide for me' repeatedly: Christians who won't move for the spiritually good sounding reason of 'I don't want to miss God', but in reality it is 'I'm afraid'. "I'm afraid of change." "I'm afraid of the difficulty financially and emotionally." "I'm afraid because it is all new to me and what I have and where I am, though miserable, offers some degree of comfort because it is familiar." Jesus left this woman to make her own decisions about her living arrangement. The emotionally bruised person just feels alone, not realizing they are alone only in the sense He is stepping back because the decision is there. He IS there, just in the background out of view.
And I've run out of room - sorry to cut it off there - we'll pick it up next week with another example of emotional healing in the gospels...until then, blessings,