The First Rule of Relationships

The First Rule of Relationships

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:16–18)

Have you ever been the outcast? The person who was rejected by your family, excluded from your friend group, or divorced by your spouse? You are not alone.

The Samaritans were an outcast people, and one Samaritan woman was even outcast by the outcasts. Unlike the other women who would make the daily walk to the well each morning before the blazing heat of the day, this woman went to the well alone at noon because she was rejected, dejected, and unwanted.

Amazingly, the only person who sought her out for a relationship was Jesus Christ. Jews did not befriend Samaritans, men did not befriend women, and holy people did not befriend unholy people. Nonetheless, Jesus knew that she needed a healthy, holy, helpful relationship.

Perhaps an abuse victim whose father was either dead or a deadbeat, this woman had been divorced five times and was living with a man who did not give her the honor of making any marital commitment to her. Perhaps Jesus would have been the first man in her life to give to her instead of take from her.

This scene reveals an important principle. There are three main reasons why you cannot have healthy relationships until you first have a healthy relationship with Jesus.

One, you do not know what a healthy relationship is apart from Jesus. If your first relational priority is with Jesus Christ, then that relationship will establish the precedent for your other relationships.

Two, you cannot have your relational needs met by mere mortals. When you hand Jesus’ résumé to the people in your life and expect them to live by it, you set them up for failure. Jesus will not leave or forsake you, lie to you, run out of energy for you, nor fail you. No one else is able to be the Jesus in your life. Even good people who love you and do their best will fail you if you make them your Jesus.

Three, you do not have the tools for healthy relationships apart from Jesus. In His conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus spoke to her about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who has been in perfect eternal relationship with God the Father and God the Son. It is the Holy Spirit who brings you the love and health of God so that you can love others in healthy relationships.

How is your relationship with Jesus? Is there anyone in your past or present who has tried to make you fill the relational role that only Jesus can fill? Is there anyone in your past or present whom you have tried to make your Jesus?

Mark Driscoll
hello@markdriscoll.org

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