By Terri Fullerton
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us.
The most popular show on HGTV is Fixer Upper. The show highlights how Chip and Joanna Gaines renovate outdated and sometimes dilapidated houses into beautiful showcase homes. While Chip works on the construction issues, Joanna envisions the interiors. The before and after astounds the home buyers as well as the audience.
Have you ever wondered why the show resonates with so many people? I think it’s because God created us to be inspired by transformation. When God turns someone’s tragedy into a ministry to help others and trumps the destruction intended, we celebrate. When Christ healed the sick and tormented, people were amazed and followed him. When God frees someone from the bondage of addiction or a stronghold, we thank him for the work he has done. When a loved one is lost and then found, we celebrate the good news.
It spreads hope.
It encourages us to persevere.
It gives us joy.
It reveals God’s redemptive nature.
One of my favorite stories of restoration is found in John 4. I imagine the heroine waking to the sound of neighboring women as they leave together to head to the well. Little girls giggle as they skip behind their moms. A deep pang tightens her stomach. Her throat swells, making it hard to swallow. She recalls the days when she held hands with friends as they traveled to the well together.
Now she goes alone when no one else is there. Perhaps she wants to avoid the piercing stares and the shame that ensues. Maybe she’s weary of the judgment that ebbs through the cold silence.
She grabs her water jug. I wonder if she feels as insignificant as the dust she stirs.
Jesus is sitting at the well, weary from his journey. Geographically speaking, he might never have come to that particular place. He didn’t have to go through Samaria. He traveled there because there was a woman worth finding, a soul worth saving.
He asks her for a drink. During their exchange, Christ offers her living water, the kind that will quench her soul’s thirst. It seems like a strange conversation, but it piques her interest and highlights the source of her pain. She does not want to come to this well each day alone, and he knows it. He digs a little deeper to get to the root. He discovers that she keeps doing the same thing over and over, turning to relationship after relationship. It has left her empty, hungry, thirsty, alone, and ashamed.
I have been at this well. Have you?
After Jesus calls her to honesty, he talks with her about her life. What Jesus does in this exchange is the work of redemption and salvation. To him, she is so much more than a fixer upper.
After he reveals that he is the Messiah, she runs back to her community. She is restored to a place of belonging. Her shame is gone and she shouts with joy, Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.
The woman who had avoided people and hid behind her shame broke into her community. Many of the Samaritans in the town believed in him because of her testimony. And they spoke to her. She was found. She was restored. Her testimony saved others. She never had to trek to the well alone again.
Scriptures for Reflection
“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated.” (Isaiah 61:4, NIV)
“For great is your love toward me.” (Psalm 86:13, NIV)
“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe. (Psalm 107:2)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (Isaiah 43: 1)
Reach for More
This week, spend some time thinking about your own well, the place where you feel alone because of shame or guilt or doubt. Ask Jesus to meet you there with his living water. Confess to him how and why you feel alone, even though he already knows, then allow him to quench your thirst and restore you to a place of wholeness.
Please share how God spoke to you this week or leave a comment on social media using the hashtag #tgtreachformore. We would love to hear ways God has redeemed or restored something in your life. Many are the works he has done for us!
Terri Fullerton is a wife, empty-nest mom, and mentor who loves stories of redemption and things that are funny. She is currently working on her first book. Terri longs to encourage others to find hope and freedom through her writing about faith, family, hiking, and mental health at Conversations at the Table.
Photograph © Pearl, used with permission