In a vacant hostel set amidst the snow-laden Black Forest, I read the Good News Bible for the first time in my life. I have not eaten anything for days, but the thin, tattered pages of this book have become my communion bread, my nourishment.
I am fascinated by these stories of men and women rejected by people and embraced by this guy Jesus. When man disappoints, scorns, judges, rejects; Jesus touches, has compassion on, heals, forgives, loves. There are people the world seems ready to dispose of, who Jesus treats with utmost respect. Their past doesn’t bother him; the opinions of people in their community dont phase him; he sees them through purely loving eyes. And his love frees them to walk in dignity and respect for themselves, no matter where they’ve been.
When Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman, he broke every chain that bound her. Jesus went to the well because he was tired and thirsty from a long journey the very same reason why I finally went to the well.
The Samaritan woman walks up to get some water not in the morning or in the evening, when it was customary, but in the middle of the day probably to avoid running into people who knew her reputation.
Jesus asks her for a cup of water.
Stunned that he would even speak to her Jews and Samaritans hated each other she questions him, How can you even ask me for a drink?
Jesus answers, If you only knew who it is who asks you for a drink, you would ask me and I would give you living water.
Then she tries to argue that he doesnt even have a cup!
But Jesus isnt moved. Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again," He says, "But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
Then it all comes out in the open shes been with many men and the man she is with now isnt her husband.
Why does Jesus tell her about the living water? Why doesnt he tell this to the demon-possessed man? To the blind, poor, sick, lame? Why her?
Because he knows this womans thirst. He knows her hunger. And he knows that he is the only source that can fill it.
He was the source from which she was made, and he is the source from which she needs to drink to get "full." But she has been going from man to man to man to man, looking for fulfillment. And Jesus is saying to her, Sweetheart, what you need is me. What you need is a well that doesnt run dry, a love that doesnt run out, a water that will satisfy.
She leaves her water jar at the well, goes back to the town and says to the people, Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did!
Why does she leave her water jar? Because she realizes that she has found the source of her thirst. A man who knows everything she ever did and does not judge her? Does not ask anything of her? He only offers free fulfillment? She has found what she has been looking for her entire life.
My knees are pressed hard to rocky soil. My head is in my hands. I am weeping. The tears come from the center of that little girl inside of me who had gone into the world searching for love. She is in a heap on the ground, with not a soul in sight.
Help me, I cry through broken sobs. In the name of Jesus Christ, help me God . . . .
In the snowy, frozen winter of the lightless forest, I feel a growing warmth on the back of my head, and then heat on my hair and neck. I look up. The dark, ominous clouds shift, and the sun beams through an open space.
I have come to the right place. I have come to the well, after a long and tiring journey. And it is a well that doesn’t run dry.
Hungry? Thirsty? Unsatisfied? Empty? At bottom? Restless? Disappointed? On rocky ground?
Hes got what will fill you. You just need to ask. If you do not ask, he can not and will not force it down your throat he loves you too much for that. He is too patient for that. Hes just offering: I am the living water. I am the well that wont run dry. I can fill you.
And I can wash you clean. Only I can do that, my dear child. Only I can do that.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
At the age of 18, I was recovering from an eating disorder, cutting, and suicide when I read Jennifer Strickland’s book Girl Perfect and it changed my life. At the age of 33, as I travel the world reaching youth for the gospel, this is the only book I recommend to girls who are struggling. The Lord has truly anointed Jennifer’s words through her story, not only to address the struggles of today’s generation of girls, but also to walk them through the healing necessary for victory.
Jennifer is a captivating speaker. She keeps the listener hanging in wonder of what’s coming next! Her presentation is not only absorbing, it reveals the truth of God’s power to heal a wounded spirit.
Barbara Brown, Former Stonecroft Ministries Regional Representative, San Diego, CA
“The ‘P’ word [perfection] may be the heaviest burden women bear. All the misguided things we do to attain it can keep us away from what we need most – the unconditional love of God the Father. The Girl Perfect Study Guide gives you a map to the wholeness you were created for.”
Nancy Ortberg, author and former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church
“The Girl Perfect Study Guide shatters the lies girls and women believe and points to the ultimate truth, which really does set us free. I am confident that this study will help thousands discover a beauty, purpose, and worth that truly lasts. Thank you Jen for exposing the ‘perfect life’ and inviting girls to experience God’s ‘perfect love.'”
Allie Marie Smith
Allie Marie Smith, Founder of Wonderfully Made
One of the best testaments to what Jennifer is doing for the young girls and women of today is a comment from my eleven-year-old granddaughter: “Grammy, I want to read this book and hear her again. She’s good and I learned a lot.” This is exactly what I experienced from a grown-up perspective when I was introduced to Jennifer Strickland’s amazing story. Read it and see if you don’t get the real story from an icon model and a powerful speaker of truth.”