Forsaking Broken Wells
This article is part of our series on broken wells. In Gretchen’s new book, The Well-Watered Woman, chapter 5 is about “Forsaking Broken Wells.” We long for the living water that Jesus offers (John 4:10). But too often, we settle for empty wells and broken cisterns (Jer. 2:11-13). Gretchen explains, “We spend a lot of our lives trying to force empty wells to provide for us. Just as you can’t make a broken mug hold coffee, you can’t make an idol yield lasting joy.” This series will follow the four common broken wells that Gretchen shares in her book. We'll be digging deeper into the pitfalls of each well and the better hope offered to us in living water. Today, we're looking at the broken well of comfort.
Looking for Comfort
By the grace of God, the early days of motherhood are quite foggy to me now. But this I remember—my son sought me for comfort as I nursed him at all hours of the day. And while I no longer bring him comfort through the nourishment provided from my body, he still seeks me out each day when he needs support. When he falls down, is frustrated, or is just plain tired, he wants his mama.
Even before he could understand me, I spoke these words over him. “Mommy’s here to help you; that’s what I am here for.” I want him to know that no matter how old he is, I am here to nurture and protect his sweet little heart.
Even in adulthood, we are needy. We long for comfort when our world gets wobbly or when we fall flat on our faces. In our weariness, we look for relief and rest anywhere we can get it.
The God of Comfort
Isaiah 49:15 says, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” As a mom, I just want to bring peace, calm, and joy to my son’s heart and life as I watch him learn and grow. Imagine how much more our heavenly Father longs to bring a sense of comfort to our lives!
When we face trials and valleys, we often run to what feels good in the moment instead of to our loving Father. Social media, food, work, earthly relationships, and shopping can all distract our hearts and soothe our frustrations. However, their comfort is fleeting. None of these things are inherently bad or sinful. But when we choose to run to them first instead of calling to the Lord, we choose idolatry instead of worshiping the one true God. He is our comforter and peace.
Knowing the Prince of Peace
Luke 7 shares the beautiful story of a woman who heard where Jesus was going to be and intentionally sought him out. She brought a sacrifice when she came uninvited to a dinner party. It was an expensive jar of perfume that was worth nearly a year’s worth of wages. Weeping, she humbly began to wash his feet and kiss them as she dried them with her hair.
When the guests at the party questioned her motives and accused her of being wasteful, Jesus said, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. And you did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:44-47).
This woman found great comfort in the Prince of Peace because she had known great sin. She knew she was unworthy and recognized the greatness of the Savior King before her. Sister, we are each in desperate need of the love of our Savior. The question is whether or not we recognize it. Whether it is through our sin or suffering that we cannot control, our souls are in need of enduring comfort. This comfort meets our deepest needs for unshakable peace and joy.
Reach for the Right Thing
So why do we reach for the phone, the credit card, or the fork when we want to find comfort? Oftentimes, we are afraid to acknowledge the hard feelings within that aren’t pretty or easily tied up with a bow. We can have unresolved anger, bitterness, or anxieties that we just can’t seem to figure out. But while our feelings seem insurmountable, we have a God who does the impossible and who became flesh for us.
Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Sister, Jesus left heaven to come to this earth and lived within all its hardships, frustrations, and inconveniences for 33 years. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us, that we may become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). Each time we run to anything or anyone other than him to “fix” our problems or our broken hearts, we cheat ourselves out of an intimate moment with him.
Comfort and Confidence
We can draw near to him with confidence. We can find comfort in his loving arms because we know that he understands our weaknesses and our penchant for what feels good in the moment. But in his lovingkindness, he offers us himself, knowing that he is so much better than any quick trip to Target or thirty minutes of scrolling could provide.
Let’s be women who run to Jesus, pouring our thanks at his feet and blessing his name with our desire for the comfort only he can bring. He is always ready and willing to satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts with himself because that is who he is—the God of all comfort who offers grace upon grace.