There is good news we welcome; there is exciting good news we share; and then there is teeming good news, the kind that rises up and spills over our deep, polished containers of propriety. What, though, hastens us as heralds of good news even to our antagonists, those who exclude us with cold shoulders, judge us with pointed fingers or dehumanize us through indifference? What raises us to a place higher than pride, purer than resentment, and stronger than fear? Grace does.
Her destination was a well—a pit, she called it—perhaps an apt metaphor for a life of deepening failures and darkening hope, and she was there to draw still more, yet again. This noonday, though, grace awaited her there, an appointment set before the beginning of time. She, like so many through the ages, had awaited the Messiah—“When he comes, he will explain everything to us,”1 she said—and now He was here, seeking from her a drink from the pit and offering living water from an inner well—a spring, He called it—sourced in Himself and rising up to eternal life. She came to the well defined by her failures and left as one renewed by grace. Teeming with good news and unable to contain it, she returned to her villagers, including her detractors there, saying, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”2 What confidence! What purpose! Such transformation!
Grace is like that: it sends us spilling over with good news of undeserved favor. Freedom is like that: it releases us in relief with the proclamation of pardon. Jesus is like that—He flows from us like streams of living water, even to those who don’t love us. He rises up in hearts made new in Him—in people “who have heard the word in an honest and good heart … hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”3 And if fruitfulness is its measure, I think we can safely say the Samaritan woman went back to her people with a new heart, “an honest and good heart.” For as John writes, “They came out of the town and made their way toward him.”4
At times, we don’t feel new, but if in faith we drink from the “spring of water welling up to eternal life”5—Jesus Christ, himself—we are new and our failures define us no more. Ours is to embrace what is true, rest in Him who makes us new, and with honest and good hearts, persevere. The fruit will be there; He will see to it.
Father in heaven, you have given me a new heart, and your Spirit lives in me through faith in Christ. Grace me to go and bear fruit with an honest and good heart. Amen.
1 John 4:25
2 John 4:28-29
3 Luke 8:15 NASB
4 John 4:30
5 John 4:14