When God Seems Far and I Feel Dry

I’ll be completely honest: sometimes it seems that God is distant, and we are dry because of it. When it feels like God isn’t close, it can be even harder to reach beyond the soundproof barrier that blocks his voice. This happened to me recently. It felt silent and I immediately had a lot of questions. I questioned what I did wrong and what happened to make Him feel far. I felt like I had to overcompensate for the dry and distant feeling. But then I remembered who God is: a grace-filled, loving father who pursues us even in our weakness. I was immediately reminded of the woman at the well who encountered Jesus when she was least expecting it.

 

This Samaritan woman was drawing water from the well (John 4:1-26) when Jesus surprisingly asked her for a drink (what timing that he would be near when she needed to hear his words). This woman is a lot like you and I: she has fallen short of a pure and full life that God intended. Jesus goes on to explain in verse 10 that if she truly knew the gift of grace that God offers, she would be given living water that doesn’t run out as the water in her own well does. The living water he offers to us is fresh and never stagnant; it’s never a pile of leftovers, and it always renews our soul. Jesus proceeds to talk to her about her past with several husbands. In fact, this is her testimony in verse 39: He told me all that I ever did. With this discovery, she knew it was Jesus, and she finally realizes that his knowledge of her past does not change his love for her, and it does not change the fact that living water can be all she needs. She can stop searching for counterfeit water that appears to fix the aches of life.

 

As I read this, I realized Jesus intimately knows her faults, mistakes, and shortcomings, yet he still desires to be with her and talk to her. He desires to share this living water with her because he wants her to experience an unbroken heart; this unbroken heart will never leave her dry or coming back to counterfeit options for more, because Jesus’ living water is all she needs. He reveals himself to her and it revives her.

 

What I love most about this entire scenario is that she wasn’t expecting him, and she didn’t have to try and do all the right things to be perfect in order to be close to Jesus; instead, he found her and pursued her at her weakest, even in the midst of her broken entanglement to sin. He came close, she accepted the invitation, and it saved her. Pure grace, and she did not have to overcompensate for her dryness as we often feel.

 

From the Samaritan woman, we are able to recognize who God is, and what grace truly is. He knew exactly who she was and what her past held, yet Jesus didn’t change his tender, loving heart because of this. Just like this woman, we have a tendency to reach for the physical things that we believe will fill our empty hearts, and they beg us to return for more even though they have nothing to offer. We try to balance our errors to gain grace and feel close to God, but if we just reached for Him and the living water, we would experience wholeness. His grace allows us to not measure up, and because he knows the inner depths of us, we can be honest with him and allow him to mend those convicting cracks into seamless, whole parts. We can face Jesus with honesty because his love is unconditional unlike rejection that we experience on earth. Our human tendency is to hide our shame and mistakes to appear perfect, but Jesus sees the broken parts of us that run back to dirty water to try to clean ourselves off with our own power; he offers us this water that is clean, new, refreshing, and healing. This Word of God is alive, and this is why it never runs dry. It is our very salvation.

 

My very perception of God changes when I realize it’s not about me; it is about the grace of God that meets me at my mistakes and calls me deeper. This living water never runs dry.

 

 

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst…” –John 6:35

 

Other references: John 7:37-39, John 6:50-51, Hosea 6:3

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