I am all about new beginnings.
Traditionally, the advent of a new year is a good time to rethink what is going well and what can be improved. That is one reason I miss the old paper calendars. That little ritual of replacing last year’s with a fresh, new one filled with hope and possibilities lit the fires of my optimism.
Last year’s calendar may have chronicled a lot of wins and joyous moments, but it inevitably represented some disappointments as well. Some years seemed to represent little more than disappointment.
That nice, clean, unblemished calendar however, has plenty of room for nothing but victory after victory! It sits there, ready to record nothing but good times, good times.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old is gone, the new is here!”
Jesus is the very essence of new beginnings. When we are born again, all our past is wiped away, as far as he is concerned. Here is just one example of that. In John 5, we read where Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at a well, where she had come to draw water. This woman had quite a past, having been married five times and was living with a man to whom she was not married when she met Jesus.
In that day, Jews really despised Samaritans. When Jesus spoke to the woman, she was rightfully surprised. First, He was a Jew. Second, men did not speak with women they did not know, especially in public and third, she was an outcast due to her immoral past. She came to the well alone, at high noon. Drawing water, in that day, was a chance to visit with other women and gossip and usually took place early or late in the day. Yet, this Samaritan avoided social contact, probably out of her shame.
Of course, Jesus knew her complete history, which he demonstrated to her amazement. However, He did not condemn her as she expected. He offered her “living water.” Although he asked her for a drink from the well, he probably did not need her for water. More likely, he wanted to start a conversation with her.
In a matter of minutes, Jesus turned around this woman’s life. In a manner of speaking, he crumpled all of the calendars representing all of the mistakes and disappointments of her past and offered her a brand-new, clean and unblemished calendar that held nothing but potential for a better life.
The bible does not record whether any of the five previous husbands were living at the time, but it does make the point she was not wed to her current roommate. To me, the fact those past relationships are not detailed says Jesus did not consider her past mistakes to be her biggest problem. He wasn’t concerned with her gender nor with tradition that would have prevented him from ministering to her. He wasn’t concerned with her nationality either.
Jesus saw her as a person, who needed the “water” that he gave freely to all who would accept. He offered her a chance to put down the baggage of the past and begin again and he did all of that without condemnation.
Jesus does not condemn, he convicts. Condemnation says, “You are a bad person. You make horrible decisions. You deserve what you get!” Conviction says, “What you did was wrong. Make it right.”
When this poor woman trudged to the well in the bright noon sunlight, she had no idea that a chance encounter with a stranger would redirect her life so dramatically. If she did her errand at that time to avoid people, she certainly had no such concern afterward. She left in such a hurry she forgot her water jar. She ran into town to let everyone know she met a man who changed her life. (And this time, she could not have been more right!)
Many came to hear Jesus as a result of the woman’s testimony. In fact, he stayed a couple of days and ministered to other Samaritans, who became believers, all because this woman accepted Christ’s offer to forgive her past and restore her present.
I encourage you to continue your pursuit of a healed soul during this New Year. As each wound is healed, you will find yourself prospering in your health, relationships, ministries, finances and every aspect of your life.
I hope you are excited to start 2017. As for me, I say, “Bring it on, Jesus! I can’t wait to see what you have planned!”
Big love, Katie