Women at the well: Seeking living water

Written by Sydney Wilson
Published on May 25, 2021

I recently read this anonymous quote on social media: “The woman at the well was divorced five times and Jesus still used her. Don’t let people count you out because you have a complicated past.” 

When I read that, I instantly loved it. How could I not? I feel like we all have a past and wonder if we can be used despite the baggage. 

Then, I began thinking even more about the second half of that quote. How many times, as parents (especially divorced ones), do we also count ourselves out because we feel too far gone ourselves? 

How many times do we wonder if Jesus only did “that” (using the woman at the well) back then and won’t do that with our brokenness now? How many times do we feel unworthy as people and parents because of our past and also because of the choices and mistakes we are currently making as we navigate new life? 

When God finds us at the well

We often let our past dictate our future. I am not sure if the woman at the well was a mom, but I know she carried the weight and baggage of the past like I do. She was a Samaritan woman, dirty in the eyes of the Jews. 

She was divorced, multiple times. She really did not even want to be seen for who she was. Between baggage and image, she not only worried about others counting her out, she counted herself out as well. 

She carried over the guilt and shame into each part of her life, and my fear is that we do that too. Sometimes, especially as divorced parents, our guilt and shame tend to steer the wheel on the path we parent. 

Just like the woman at the well, it dictates where we go, when we go, and even the decisions we make when we get there. 

Sometimes, as parents, we tend to try and overcompensate for the hurt we feel we cause our kids. When I feel guilty or feel like my kiddos need a little extra love one day, I am so likely to just say yes to everything: toys, candy, events, places. 

But even in our guilt we are still called to be guides who show our past and our circumstances are not indicative over our future—guides who prove how kind, good, just, and redeeming our God is when he finds us at the well. 

Thirsty for living water

The Lord really does work in mysterious ways. I am sure the Samaritan woman felt the same way. 

This story has been on my mind, and constantly God has put more and more reminders in my view. This quote, our church service, worship songs—I have been seeing the woman at the well show up in each part of my life. 

In fact, I am her. 

I am the mom who counts herself out some days (most days). I am the woman who carries shame and hopes people see something different or don’t see at all. I especially wish I could shelter my kids from the past that led us here. 

Elevation Worship sings, “Have you come to the end of yourself / Do you thirst for a drink from the well / Jesus is calling.” 

I know that we stand at the well, thirsty, but do we fully grasp that the only water to drink from is the living water of Jesus Christ? All other water will leave us feeling empty and searching. 

John 4:28–29 says, “So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’” (ESV).

Only one source

I, you, may be the woman at the well right now—but my prayer is that we become the woman who left the well. 

I want to become the woman and mom who sees Jesus for his miraculous ability to save and who leaves her jar of water that will not sustain. Once we do this, we can live fully in the calling and potential that God has for our lives as people and as parents. 

Let us grasp and teach our kids that living water comes from one source, and, no matter what, that source is available and can sustain any life, even broken ones. 

Live perfectly imperfect

Get daily emails with practical and spiritual advice geared towards helping you set aside perfect and grow into the parent you want to be every day.

Sydney Wilson

Sydney is a Mississippi native and the mother of two toddlers: Eloise and Wilson. She is a special education teacher and a graduate of Mississippi State University with a Masters degree in Mild and Moderate Disabilities. Sydney began writing in the midst of life changes in 2020 and strives to give hope to people through Jesus in the midst of their own changes, losses, or discouragement.

Read more about Sydney

You may also like…

Privacy Preference Center