In the last post, I looked at finding happiness in the journey. This time I want to look at pursuing temporary happiness, living a life just for hedonistic pleasures. The pursuits that rarely bring fulfilment but which we can so easily become trapped in. They are the ideas that easily deter us from what we are meant to be doing and who we are meant to be. Temporary happiness is something that I struggle with because it is the easiest option to turn to. However, it is something I am trying to make amends of in my life so that I can learn to find a fulfilment that is long lasting. As always, I will be looking at it from a faith perspective, Focusing on the Gospel of John and the account between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks that water I give them will never thirst, Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Trying to find the fulfilment in the wrong things will never give the security nor the contentment we want. Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman who was trying to find purpose through relationship. Her relationships were not working out for her, she had gone through five husbands and was now with another man. I cannot speak for this woman but she must have had self-worth issues. In regards to her ever failing relationships, there was no contentment nor the chance to settle.
Similar situations are found within our daily lives, we do various things to try and find pleasure and contentment. However, many of us are left feeling empty and unfulfilled. We pursue alcohol, relationships, money and various other activities to attempt to find satisfaction. There is nothing wrong with having a few drinks or being in a relationship or enjoying things that bring you happiness. However, if your worth is only going to be determined by another person or materialistic/pleasure seeking activities you are only going to be disappointed. Everything is susceptible to change, nothing stays the same. Relationships can quickly end. Money can be as quickly lost as it is gained. Too much alcohol only leads to you feeling worse for wear the next day. People easily get bored of entertainment and need something else to fulfil them.
This was the issue that Jesus was dealing with, the pursuit of the wrong things.
The Samaritan woman was labelled right from the beginning. They were not accepted by the Jewish community, even though they adhered to similar beliefs. She would have also been seen as promiscuous due to her relationships. In general, they were a pretty isolated community. Jesus came to change that, he did not care about her past or her labels Jesus cared for her. What Jesus was bringing was inclusion not exclusion. She no longer had to believe that she was not worthy or that she did not fit in.
“Woman,” Jesus said, “believe me a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain or in Jerusalem.”
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.
Status, origin, etc would not matter. It would be authentic worship which would be led by the spirit. Not just empty words and actions. It would no longer be contained in one specific place.
Jesus is the same for us today. In no way does he want us to be unfulfilled, constantly pursuing things that make us question our worth and leave us unhappy. Over the past few years I have seen how people have disappointed me and how I have disappointed others. I was allowing them to have the say on who I should be and what I should pursue. Therefore, I was deterring from what I was meant to be doing and who I was meant to be. It was hard to deal with getting over finding my self-worth in people because that had been a massive part of my life. However, I was never satisfied when I did pursue that and I am happier now that I have been detached from all those peop\le.
I am not perfect at all and I know I will constantly make mistakes in my life, I hope I will learn that my contentment can not be found in glazing over those mistakes. Rather finding redemption and salvation through the grace that Jesus gives. There is so much more life to be gained through Jesus and so much hope.
Going back to the account of the Samaritan woman. Not only did she gain new understanding and belief, so did the other people within her community. The account finishes with
V42 ‘They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said, “now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.
We must learn to pursue things that are so much more meaningful than what we have been doing. It can be so easy to miss out on opportunities to serve one another and to grow as a community because those ideals do not seem fun nor gratifying. If we choose to be ignorant to what is going on around us; then we are failing people who need help the most. That is something that I need to constantly remind myself too, that there is more than just pleasure seeking. That there is also purpose within the hard work, that it will not always be pleasant but there can be joy found along the way.
May we find hope in Jesus just as the Samaritan woman and her community did. Knowing that what Jesus gives will never leave us unfulfilled but will give us renewed purpose and hope. May you remember that Jesus does not care for the labels that have been put upon you through your life, Jesus just cares for you. May you find freedom and life through him.
Have a blessed week!