Photini's Story Part II

John 4:4-26

Dear Reader, 
Thank you for taking time to read this post.  The following story is an inspirational devotion based on John 4:4-26 in the Bible.  It is the story of a woman named Photini, who met Jesus Christ at an everyday event while collecting water from a well.  If you would like, please read Photini’s story, part one.  Our prayer is that this post will be encouraging to you.  There is hope!

Gather at the Well Team

Jesus had been waiting for Photini to arrive at the well because he had something very special to share with her.  The hour finally came.  She set the heavy wooden yoke down which supported the heavy water buckets on each end.  Photini was out of breath and needed to rest in order to regain her strength from the journey.  The trip home was going to be a tiring one.  Though she made this trip frequently, it was never easy in the heat of the day.

Photini had lived a difficult and complicated life.  She was like many of us trying to make our world work by filling her life with what would provide a sense of temporary comfort.  The problem was, no matter what was used to comfort her troubled heart, it always fell short of satisfying the deeper ache.  In Photini’s case, having a man in her life was providing her temporary comfort.  

We do not know all of the details of all Photini’s life, and relationships.  We do not know if she was widowed, or if she simply had a promiscuous lifestyle.  Maybe she lived this way because of sexual abuse that took place in her childhood.  Who knows? What would people say about her today or what would they call her?  How did they look upon her lifestyle or reputation?  Many people would judge and condemn her without ever knowing her story.  Another aspect of her life that added fuel to others judgment of her, was that she was a Samaritan; a mixed breed.  The Samaritans were despised and rejected by the Jews.  Maybe you have felt the that way? You feel like you don’t feel fit in or belong, for whatever reason.  Possibly you have felt welcome but not wanted.  What a painful feeling that is.  It is so hurtful to experience judgment from others. Especially if they have never taken the time to know you as a person or learn your personal journey.

In the therapy world there is a saying… “the presenting problem is never the real problem.” In other words, things are not as they appear.  There are always reasons why people do what they do. Those actions are simply disclosing what is going on inside, whether they are good or bad.  Photini was living her life the best way she knew how, in spite of the pain deep inside her soul.  The most common place where she found comfort was with intimate relationships with men.  
Women in those days didn’t have many options.  If married, one was taken care of by her husband.  Widows relied on the kindness of others, and family.  However, Photini’s way of surviving was to rely on men. She did not know why.  The what or with whom we find our comfort today has the same short coming results that Photini experienced.  Photini was desperate in her situation, and as a result, she was taken advantage of.  

The what, or with whom we find our comfort today has the same shortcoming results that Photini experienced.  They never satisfy!  No matter where we put our hope, it is a counterfeit hope.  It is an illusion.  We are disillusioned with those things because we believed an illusion in the first place.  Where are you finding hope or comfort for your deepest desires or needs?  It could be found in compulsive, addictive behaviors, or in substances.  It could be dysfunctional relationships, material possessions, or fame.  At the end of the day it does not satisfy in providing life or peace.

It’s possible that Photini was struggling with shame like many of us.  Shame says, “You did not make a mistake, you are the mistake.”  The self-condemnation that takes place can be overwhelming.  The impact of shame causes us to withdraw from others.  It robs us of peace and heaps on more self-condemnation.  Shame, in itself, brings self-destruction.  Habitual thought patterns are formed which keep eroding our soul, our worth and value, like a ravenous cancer.  Shame that has progressed far enough will steal any sense of hope.  Hope is having a bright expectation for tomorrow.  In the loss of hope, we can’t see the possibility of anything positive taking place in our life.  “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

Depression and shame are destructive partners.  Depression may feel like a dark cloud suspended over you that you cannot get away from.  A cloud that sucks the life out of you.  Depression fills your mind with rampant negative thoughts.  Worst of all, it feels like you can’t escape it.  It has tentacles deeply attached to your heart.  Subconsciously and frantically we search for something to take this pain away, maybe anything.

Do you suppose Photini could have been feeling shame or depression?  The scriptures tell us that when Jesus spoke to her about her intimate relationship’s she was probably shocked.  She was certain that Jesus was a prophet, the one everyone was waiting for.  It is very possible that Jesus talking to Photini about her past gave her hope.  She did not have to hide the darkness or pain of her life anymore.  Jesus did not shame her; he embraced her pain filled heart, and it was certain that his authentic love reached deep inside of her.

Photini’s response was to go into the city and tell everyone she could, about this man who “told her everything she had done.”  Could this be the Messiah? (The Savior) The people began flocking to the well where Jesus was encountered.  The end result of Photini’s testimony was that “many believed in him because of the woman’s testimony and because of his words many more became believers.  We no longer believe just because of what you said, now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Hope was found that day.  A hope that would change Photini’s life forever, and not just hers, but countless others who heard Jesus speak of hope.  Hope for eternity.  

Whether you are a Jew or Gentile (Samaritan) you can only find hope in Jesus Christ.  Hope does not come from going to church, or participating in a religious activity or even from doing good.  Hope only comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.  He is the only one who can forgive our sins; our mistakes, our errors, and provide new beginnings.  Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth to become flesh just like you and me.  He understands our weaknesses, the cause of our pain, shame and depression.  He understands because he became flesh, like man.  Not only does he understand our human weaknesses.  Jesus took all of our sin upon himself and was crucified.  

He gave his life so that we can find authentic life.  Life that is filled with hope for all of our tomorrows.  That hope enables us to walk through the darkest places in life.  Jesus promises to never leave us, and he gives us peace in the middle of our complex situations and circumstances.  This life satisfies the deepest craving in our hearts.  It is what Photini experienced.  The life that Jesus offers satisfies a longing soul and brings peace in our hearts that are screaming for comfort.  Photini believed in Jesus Christ and you can too!  Believe with the simple faith you have.  Jesus has already been moving towards us because he loves you.  You simply need to respond to his love towards by reaching back to him.  

Intimacy with the Savior begins with the acknowledgement of our sins or missing the mark.  We cannot save ourselves or make our world work by trusting in our own devices or wisdom.   Jesus, the Savior, specializes in healing hearts and giving hope where it is lost.  He is the author of miracles and new beginnings. He specializes in removing people’s guilt and shame.  When we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, it means that our wrongs are taken away and he does not keep reminding us of our past sin.  His forgiveness gives us the opportunity for a new beginning.  

Today we invite you to meet Jesus, the Savior of the world. Your simple prayer that acknowledges Jesus is the Son of God, the confession of your sin, and your desire to leave the past behind you and your commitment to begin walking in his new direction.  

Learning to walk in this new life is a process.  Every day is a fresh step.  It is a constant discovery of living life that is very different than your past experiences.  God gives us a compass and road map.  That map is called the Bible.  Begin reading in the Gospel of John which is in the New Testament of the Bible.  Like Photini, God will begin showing you authentic life just as He has intended life.   There is hope 4 today. It’s found in Jesus Christ and in him alone!

No Comments