Runaway or Stay?
I am a runner. No, not in cute shoes with headphones. I run away from things. When I feel threatened, I run. When I feel less-than, I run. When I feel caught, I run. I just need to get AWAY.
Away from emotions, humiliation, embarrassment and anything else that is a yucky feeling. I just wish this type of running translated to great physical health because I would be ripped.
I have to confess that I hate this about myself. I don’t want to be a runner. I don’t want to be a quitter. It’s just that sometimes, it’s the only way I can protect myself. It’s my lizard brain, my fight or flight, my defense mechanism. If I can’t see you, you can’t hurt me. So I run.
Oh, how I wish I could stay. I want to be the kind of girl who fights for her beliefs. Who sticks around when the going gets tough. Who perseveres during times of trouble and comes out on the other side wiser, stronger and with healthier relationships.
I can really identify with the Samaritan woman in John 4. I feel her pain when she goes to the well at noon, instead of the morning when everyone else is there. I can almost see the silent tears roll down her cheeks as she lugs her water back and forth to a life that didn’t turn out the way she expected.
I think she’s a runner. One clue is that she stays away from town as much as possible. The most poignant clue to me, however, is when Jesus tells her in v. 13 that anyone who drinks His water will never be thirsty again.
I can almost see her shoulders drop, her head hang and a sigh of defeat come from her mouth when she replies, “Sir, give me this water that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
She’s done all the running she can to this point. She’s hidden away from her pain and her circumstance but she still has to come to the pesky well every day. She can’t quite run away completely. She still has to face herself.
Straight talk here: what Jesus says next seems kind of like a riddle and I don’t have time (or possibly the wisdom) to unpack it here. But the result of His speech is this…The woman who had been spending all of her time running and hiding drops her bucket and RUNS TO the main part of town (where all the people are) to tell them about Jesus.
If you break up her life in to two categories there is Before Jesus and After Jesus. Because in one moment, something drastic happened. Something changed. She changed. She was still going to be a runner but this time she was running to instead of from.
It may surprise you to know that in that way I wish I were more like her. I am blessed to have only one (really wonderful) husband but even as a believer, there are times I run. Away. Can I just be honest and say it stinks? Running away is so lonely.
I love that in one conversation, Jesus took this seriously broken, shamed, humiliated, embarrassed, exhausted woman and turned it all around. Do you know the bible never tells us if she even took a sip of the regular water? I think it’s safe to say she took big, giant, refreshing, cleansing gulps of the water Jesus had.
If He can do that for her, why not for me? Why not for any of us?
This is yet another reason why I am crazy about Jesus. I may never take off my cute running shoes, but with Him, I can certainly change direction. I can be more like the Samaritan woman on that day. I can be the girl who perseveres and comes out wiser, stronger and with healthier relationships. That’s pretty cool.
If this resonates with you at all, don’t be shy! Let me know and leave a comment. I can’t wait to hear from you.