Valentine's Day is upon us again. Commercials abound with sweethearts holding hands and staring into each other's eyes. Husbands and boyfriends rush to the grocery store for a last-minute pick-up of chocolate and flowers. And of course, a special dinner with a special someone.
Yet, you are alone ... again.
Consider three possibilities for Valentine's Day.
Option 1: To feel better about yourself, you let any guy take you out. Better to be out with someone than home alone.
Option 2: You find a way to distract yourself because you don't want to face the painful reality of another year passing without being married.
Which one describes you? Are you participating in this Hallmark holiday with a meaningless guy, or avoiding it altogether?
If you don't like option 1 or 2, how about option 3: you go out with a group of girlfriends who are in the same plight. There is strength in numbers. You might be tempted to wallow in self-pity, and even mock men (though you really want to be with them).
But none of these possibilities is very satisfying, is it?
Is Jesus What You Need?
I admit, truth can feel hollow when your heart-longings sound like this:
- If I don't find someone, I'll be alone for the rest of my life.
- If I don't get married, I'll become an old spinster.
- I'm never going to have children, and that hurts.
- I've got body parts that will never be used for their intended purposes.
- I keep wondering, "God, have you forgotten me?" or "God, don't you care?"
- Why has God given my friends husbands, and not me?
- Is there something wrong with me?
Can you relate to any of these thoughts? Facing Valentine's Day alone is painful and hard, and it's no surprise that there is a war raging in your heart.
If God sent his Son to die for you 2000 years ago, if He has redeemed your heart and given you salvation in Christ, if He has provided daily strength to make it through the day, if He keeps bringing the Word to bear on your life, if He gives you a church family to help you persevere through lonely seasons, if He's given his Spirit to comfort you, then Christ has not forgotten you. No, in fact, He loves you (Rom. 8:31-38).
Finding satisfaction in Christ might not seem worth it, especially when you are alone, but it's necessary.
Remember how Jesus cared for the woman at the well in John 4? This woman thought her day would hold just another ordinary trip to the village well.
And then she meets Jesus. Our Lord stops near the plot that Jacob had given his son. This Samaritan woman comes to draw water, and Jesus asks her, "Give Me a drink" (v. 7b). Because of the Jewish cultural and religious restrictions, she is surprised. But Jesus doesn't care about the taboos of his day. She responds, "How is it that you, being a Jews, ask a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (v. 9b). She cannot fathom why a Jew would ask her for a drink.
Jesus answers, pointing to Himself, "If you knew ... who it is who is saying to you, 'Give Me a drink" (v. 10b). If she knew who Jesus was, she would be asking him for living water—the eternal life that Christ provides through the Spirit.
The woman does not understand what Jesus is saying. She thinks He is talking about natural water. She asks how he can draw water from a hundred feet down when he has no bucket. If Jesus can provide water without digging or using anything to draw water out, then surely he is greater than Jacob and Jacob's sons.
Jesus attempts to clear up her confusion. "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst" (vv. 13b-14a). He's contrasting physical thirst and spiritual thirst. Our physical thirst for water is never satisfied. No matter how much water the woman draws from the natural well, she will be thirsty again. Spiritual thirst is not a thirst for natural water, but a thirst for God. If the woman would only turn to Jesus and receive his free gift of eternal life, through his Spirit, she would be satisfied forever.
But she still doesn't get it. She thinks He is talking about physical water, as indicated by her desire to no longer have to "come here to draw" (v. 15b). She is attracted to the idea of never being thirsty again, and so she asks for the water.
She thinks she only needs physical water, but what she needs is Jesus. She needs to desire Him first, because He alone can satisfy her forever. Natural water might satisfy for a time, but she will only be thirsty again. Jesus points to what truly satisfies—not physical water, but Himself.
What About You?
Take all of your thirsts, all of your desires that you want to be satisfied. Take that thirst for a spouse and children, thirst for love and companionship, thirst for future security and acceptance. Recognize that securing a spouse might alleviate your thirst for a time, but you will be thirsty again. Nothing that this world has to offer, no matter how good the desire may seem, can satisfy your deepest need—your need for Christ. Stop setting your heart on the water that won't satisfy and turn your affections to Christ.
Will you let Christ be your chief desire? It's easy on Valentine's Day to say, "If I only had a man...", but no man can be the solution to your thirst. Only Christ can.
On Valentine's Day, it might not feel like Jesus is enough, but He is. You might be skeptical, but Jesus really does satisfy. He is better than any boyfriend or husband. Trust Him today and find true rest for your soul.
Deepak Reju (M.Div., Ph.D). is a pastor in Washington, DC, husband to Sarah since 2001, and father of five adorable children. He's also the author of She's Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle.
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