Longing for Redemption

Out to the well again. Out in the heat of the day again. Alone. Again.

I know I don’t have anyone to blame by myself, but it still hurts. When your choices are the critical glares and sarcastic comments or the lonely march out to the well at midday, I guess it’s better to be alone than abused.

Funny. I get that with my social life. Why don’t I get it with my love life?

What happened to the little girl who dreamed of a nice marriage with a nice man, a home with some kids running around and the neighbors over for dinner once a week? What happened to the young woman who was ready to give herself in love to just one man?

Silly questions. I know what happened. Everyone knows what happened. Man number six knows what happened, and that’s probably why he’s afraid to make an honest woman out of me. 

Lord, how did I ever stray so far off the path? I’m so tired of being ashamed. 

Oh, Lord, there’s a man at the well…

* * * * *

It doesn’t usually happen that a wedding story leaves you heartbroken, but this one will. A young couple, with family and friends surrounding them, spoke their vows and celebrated their union. A little too much celebration, perhaps, as the groom was extremely inebriated when he and his new wife went to their room for the night. He ended up beating her up.

What is going on here? Well, after the police were called and she was interviewed, she admitted that she knew he had problems. This wasn’t the first time he had struck her. They’d been living together for some time, and while she’d been concerned about his anger, she thought that maybe getting married would change something.

Her longing for redemption was met with tragedy, like so many others in this fallen world. How many people have gone into a marriage in the hopes that it will finally bring them fulfillment, only to find themselves just as frustrated and lonely as they were before? How many have skipped marriage altogether and pursued fulfillment through sex, only to feel empty? And what about the many people who have never experienced romance and affection, who have long since resigned themselves to the notion that for them marriage is a fantasy?

* * * * *

“Go, call your husband and come back.”

My husband? Hah! What a joke. Which one? Of course, this guy doesn’t know about all that, and he doesn’t have to. It’s not of his business. “I have no husband.” It’s technically true. 

“You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Whoah! How did he…? I mean… “Sir,”  *gulp*  “I can see that you are a prophet.”

* * * * *

There is this longing inside us all. It expresses itself through tales of romance and devotion, and epic stories of heroes who beat all odds and get the girl. But we all know those are just stories. They aren’t the way life really works. It doesn’t stop us from dreaming.

Back in the real world, we try to build the dream by researching what kinds of relationships are strongest and what skills and techniques will make for perfect unions. Nothing wrong with that, but it still comes up short, because what if we don’t do it right? What if the next idea sounds better? What if some psychologist tells me I’ll be happier alone? What if… what if… what if?

What if all of this is meant to tell me that something is fundamentally broken in the system and in all of us? What if this longing for redemption is to point me to a greater and more lasting source of fulfillment than the things of this life? What if the solution to all this world’s problems when it comes to marriage and relationships and sex and all of it can only be found my looking to something beyond these things?

* * * * *

Lord, I’m off my guard here. This conversation has gone in the strangest direction. Who ever thought would be standing at the well talking to a Jewish prophet about religion. 

But there’s something about the way he speaks. He gets it. And there’s no judgment. It’s like… he just wants me to know something. “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

“I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

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