Photo by: Joshua Earle

In John 4 there’s a story that grabs me. It’s a story of shame being turned to honor. It’s a story that is, in its purest sense, a story of redemption.

In John 4 we read of a Samaritan woman who has to come and draw water in the heat of the day. She couldn’t come in the morning like the other women of her city because she was an outcast. She had five husbands and the one she was currently with, wasn’t her husband. A scandalous woman!

She arrives at the well to see a Jewish man hanging out. This was shocking as many Jews would walk around Samaria altogether. Then this man did the unthinkable, he asked for water. It almost certain that he knew what kind of woman she was, coming alone to the well in the middle of the day. How could a Jewish man ask such a sinful woman to draw him water?

The encounter presses on and Jesus reveals himself to this woman as the Christ. He offers her living water, from which she would never thirst again.

She leaves her water jug and runs to town and proclaims the good news! The townsfolk come to see this Christ. Many believe because of her testimony and many believe because of Jesus’ own words.

She goes from outsider to insider. The shame this woman experienced was gone. She was now a representative for Jesus. She was his ambassador. Who knows how many more lives she influenced.

I am struck by this woman’s candor. She is brutally honest with Jesus and he doesn’t bat an eye. He commends her for humility and honesty. She experiences grace and as Jesus reveals himself, she is free from shame. She steps into a place of honor.

How many of us are hiding or trying to hide from Jesus issues in our lives? While we might not have been married five times and living with someone, we all have things that we don’t want people to know about, particularly God. We hold onto and hide that area of our life because we experience shame. What we don’t realize is that if we can be honest, then in the midst of that shame we will find that Jesus is more than willing to reveal himself.

Shame and guilt grow strong in the dark. The light destroys them.

Grace and freedom grow strong in the light.

Consider these words from 1 John 1 drives this story home:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

About the Author
Daniel Rose is a husband, dad, and pastor of The Antioch Movement in Ypsilanti, MI. He writes at The Subversive Journey and you can connect with him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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From Shame to Honor was originally published in The Subversive Journey on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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