In this world, we will face places where we desire a “do-over”—either because of our choices or the decisions of others…
The past will continually attempt to speak into our present and future. But the past should be given voice only in the remembrances of God’s restoration and healing, for He indeed makes “everything new” (Revelation 21:3-5).
Paul couldn’t undo the prior decisions of his life (Philippians 3:7), nor could he change the opinions of those around him (Acts 26:28). He had but one choice—stay focused on the prize (Phil 3:13-14). For him, the work of the cross triumphed over any previous accomplishment or failure (Phil 3:3).
I spent years trying to make “do-overs” in my own strength (I called it “rededication”) but I always ended back up in the same mess. You see looking back I realize that I just wanted the guilt to go away. I wanted the ick of the mistake to fade to the back, but my desire for what caused the ick remained.
I wanted the do-over, but my eyes were still on the wrong prize. I was so very blinded.
My heart still pursued the wrong things from the wrong people. My mind was still full of the same trash and I was not renewing the thoughts that were in it. I asked for clean water but I just dumped into the same old dirty well.
Jesus answered and said to her,
“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;
It was only in whole surrender at the foot of the cross that the do-over was done-forever. You can’t rededicate something that was never actually dedicated in the first place. It doesn’t matter how much clean water you dump in a dirty well, the dirty well will always contaminate the clean water… you have to empty out the dirty well and it has to be destroyed… then the living water that comes in springs up its own new well of life.
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I will give him will become in him
a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
I love the story of the woman at the well… I know her well. I can remember the sound of that Jewish man’s voice as if it were just yesterday that He whispered in my ear and said, “Are you thirsty?” YES! Yes, I was thirsty. I was so very thirsty. I kept trying to draw water to ease my thirst but it never satisfied. I kept trying to clean up with the clean water that was in my dirty well, but I never was clean… until I said Yes, Lord, I am thirsty! I am thirsty and I am dirty and I cannot get clean.
“If I do not wash you,
you have no part with Me.”
So like the woman at the well that day I asked for the water. I asked for the clean fresh water, and just like that woman at the well that day that beautiful sneaky Jewish Rabbi looked at me and set me up for confession…
He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.”
The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’;
for you have had five husbands,
and the one whom you now have is not your husband;
this you have said truly.”
You see she couldn’t have this water until her old well was destroyed, it was worthless. It doesn’t matter how much living water you pour into dirty busted up well.. it doesn’t matter how much sod and mud you pack in the cracks or how perfectly you think you have cleaned it up and made it look all pretty again, the water will seep through the cracks and the life will be contaminated with the filth that is still hidden… the well must be destroyed… then the living water that is poured in springs up its own well, a well that will never be contaminated, cracked, or destroyed…
Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins;
otherwise the wineskins burst,
and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined;
but they put new wine into fresh wineskins,
and both are preserved.”
You see it was more than confession with this woman at the well… it was also repentance. It was walking away and leaving behind the old well and the old water and coming to the living water and coming to drink from a brand new well.
So the woman left her waterpot,
and went into the city and said to the men,
“Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done;
this is not the Christ, is it?
This woman had come to the well in the heat of the day because no one else would be there. She knew she would be ridiculed for who she was… and she carried shame. She was not proud of who she was, or of the things she had done, so she came alone and she came when she hoped no one would be there.
You could say she snuck in the back of the church and sat in the back pew hoping no one would notice her, but at the same time being so very thirsty, after all that’s why she was there, she needed water, she knew that much. She knows that eyes are on her, some knowing who she is and what she has done, but still she is so very thirsty… so she comes to the well hoping for a quick drink then hoping to slip away unnoticed and avoided.
But one day… that beautiful sneaky Jewish Rabbi makes her look someone in the eyes… she expects to see hate and instead she sees hope.
That beautiful sneaky Jewish Teacher leaned up against that old dirty well makes her tell Him all that she has done and this amazing thing happens in confession… confession that is embraced in love and not condemnation… Life!
Living Water pours out from the mouth of God and like a flood it washes the well of the heart clean and destroys that cracked and broken well and fills that empty heart to overflowing with fresh clean living water and that living water springs forth a beautiful pure well that never runs dry… and she never thirsts again.
She leaves her waterpot.
She leaves all the things she used to use to draw some kind of water from that dirty old well that always left her thirsting, she leaves it, and not only does she leave the waterpot, but she leaves the shame she carried with it.
She leaves it all behind and in her new well filled with living water she doesn’t care who knows what she “has done” because she is too excited with who she now is and Who she now knows and she wants everyone else to have this Living Water and well…
This is the do-over that is done-forever.