Back at the Well
I like writing about elephants: injustices, unjust laws and societal mores that drive the human species towards Extinction. Today’s Elephant is not Divorce (which is but a symptom) but the underlying, life-less, self-destructive mindset which has been the bane of every great civilization from the Sumerians to the Mayans.
Reading: John 4:1-43. The Sycharan Woman (Let’s name her “Sychara”), even after five husbands and a live-in lover, still held a valued position in her community: the scapegoat. Scapegoats provide the means for sustaining an air of assurance and dignity to their society…at their own expense. Sychara’s neighbors could point at her and say:
“See! That’s the problem; let’s write some laws to fix it.” or “See! At least we’re not as bad as Sychara…we’re good people!” or “See! Now do what you’re told or you’ll wind up like Sychara!”
What her neighbors forgot is that they were drinking from the same well as Sychara, just at a different time of the day. They had to deal with the same marital issues as Sychara, but were more successful at hiding their failures. The five husbands Sychara had married more than likely still resided in the same city as she and had probably married women she knew, only without the stigma that so easily clung to female divorcees. It was for this reason that Jesus chose Sychara: if He brought His Living Fullness to her emptiness, the whole region would turn to Him.
Divorce is, as it was then, pervasive in our culture and for the same reason: people get married for all the wrong reasons:
“I’m lonely.” “My family expects me to.” “I need good/kinky/weird/twisted sex, but I still want to look legit.” “I need a man/woman to make me happy.” “I need someone to share/take over the financial burdens associated with the/my cost of living.” “I want children/posterity/legacy/immortality.” “I need someone to wash my clothes and keep my house clean.” “I need something gorgeous/handsome on my arm when I go to the church/club/cruise/yacht/whatever. “I need an Object to Worship.” “I must be an Object of Worship.” “I want someone else to make all the important decisions so that I can blame them should anything go wrong.”
I’ll stop there. There are a million reasons to get married, but Marriage has only One Purpose: to Glorify God! Real Marriage is not a government institution, but a Spiritual Covenant…therefore no government (or court) on Earth has the right to either define or rule on the Institution of Marriage, which was invented by God and CAN ONLY FUNCTION PROPERLY IF GOD IS AT IT’S CENTER.
Adam and Eve were made in God’s Image and after God’s Likeness and were created to dwell continually in God’s Presence; take God’s Presence out of the picture (as we have in so many of our traditions and institutions) and what is left can no longer be legitimately called Marriage.
Today’s “Marriage” is a contract between “partners” (male or female); Real Marriage is a Covenant between God, a man and a woman. Even in our religious institutions and communities we conduct weddings with all the trappings and fanfare we believe are necessary to make God “comfortable” with our decisions to wed yet, when the bells have rung, the limo has driven off and the honeymoon is over, we fall back to the same old games…manipulating our partners by guilt or pleasure in to doing our bidding…
…and eventually even the best of us get tired of the lie.
“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the Water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the Water that I will give him will become in him a Well of Water springing up to Eternal Life.” – John 4:13,14
Point of Fact: Marriage doesn’t work without God; true repentance always brings us into conviction regarding our most cherished delusion: we honestly believe that we don’t need God for anything–least of all the relationships we cultivate among ourselves. The things married couples do to each other in the name of “the greater good” are frightening, self-serving and atrocious.
We’re not supposed to get married in order to be “happy” or “rich” but to serve God and each other.
“Certainly God’s top priority is my happiness, isn’t it? If I’m miserable in my marriage, God doesn’t have a problem with my ending it, does He?”
God’s top priority is NOT my happiness, but my FULLNESS.
“…and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:19
In my last blog about poverty I wrote about being filled with God. To be filled with God is to be overwhelmed by God’s Will, God’s Intent, God’s Purpose, God’s Agenda and (most importantly) God’s Presence. Whether or not my spouse pleases me becomes irrelevant; pleasing God becomes my singularly overwhelming concern. And I please God when I love my wife and lay down my life for her–irregardless of her response (or lack thereof).
The Fullness of God greatly simplifies life, freeing me from the endlessly stressful mental machinations people normally engage in to pursue that elusive fox commonly called “happiness”!