Flee the burden
Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42)
Many believed because of what the woman shared - others believed because of what they heard him and believed. Just imagine what would have happened if the woman had not shared what happened at the well, harboring all that she had experienced just for herself. Others who were ready and waiting to receive their Messiah might have missed the opportunity. There is something quite powerful in sharing what Jesus has done in your life, but there is something even more powerful in coming to the conclusion that you need him in spite of what you have done in your life. This woman, married five times, living out of wedlock with another, likely had a lot of shame in her life. She came alone to the well, at noonday - not first thing in the morning with the rest of the women of the township. Something 'set her apart' from her peers - we will probably not know what it was for sure, but it is likely she was not very well respected in her town. Yet, when she encounters Jesus, and he encounters her, she immediately runs back to tell everyone what she had just experienced. This is likely the 'freedom' of newfound faith!
No longer encumbered by her past, she was 'free' to share her future - a future that would be lived at the feet of Jesus, in the Kingdom of God. I think some of us take our newfound faith, packing up all the baggage of our past, and try to somehow live out this life of 'freedom' while carrying the baggage we should have left behind. All that shame, probably too great for any of us to realize, left at the well. She didn't take it all back - she fled from it! Maybe there is a lesson for each of us there - freedom from our past might just require us to 'flee from it' instead of picking it back up again. If you have ever caught an 'ugly creature' in your home, like a scorpion or spider, you don't play with it, you scoop it up in covered container, run outside, shake it out of the container as fast as possible, and then run back inside! Why? It didn't belong in the freedom of your house, and you don't want to stick around long enough to be its next victim! Our past will attempt to make us its 'victim' as long as it can, but Jesus tells us we are no longer victims of sin - we are free to live a new life in him!
We are never truly free until we leave that stuff behind. The woman left her water jar at the well - running back to the village - no longer afraid to be with them. There are 'jars' we need to leave - not just empty and carry around with us. Whatever they are, today is the day to not only leave them, but allow Jesus to break them once and for all, so they can no longer be of use in 'carrying our burdens' any longer. When he gives you that freedom, and he will give you that freedom, go and tell others what he has done. You might just see others laying down their jars of burden, fleeing far from them, and right into the arms of Jesus. Just sayin!