This morning’s edition in The Mockingbird Devotional comes from Ethan Richardson.

“…Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life…” (John 4:13-26, ESV)

Jesus is saying here that he doesn’t buy into all the things we pretend to be. These are all portions of the same shallow water—the human propensity to “be okay.” We all posture in this way—sometimes we forget we’re even doing it because it has become such a part of us.


At work, in front of my boss, “I’m okay” is to look motivated, maybe periodically make note of my “job effectiveness” in the past months. At night, “I’m okay” is getting exercise, dressing meticulously without looking meticulous, knowing when to stop talking about myself for so long, after a couple—but not too many—bourbon-gingers. Amongst the religious-folks, “I’m okay” is theologizing everything, using Latin terms, saying things like “the human condition.” I have many faces. Whitman said it: “Do I contradict myself? Very well then…I am a multitude of multitudes.”

Have you ever felt a friend of yours watching you talking to another friend from another circle? Did your multiplicities become embarrassingly transparent? It is confusing, and sometimes a little scary, that our saccharine satisfaction with our relationships is often a satisfaction with how well we played the face, how well we “pulled off” the roles of Hard-Working Employee, Witty Suitor, Self-Understanding Christian. In other words, how we say “I’m okay” is, in a lot of cases, a testimony to what’s not okay. Where we pose most in our lives is likely where we suspect we would be rejected if we were honest.

The good news is that Jesus cuts to the chase. We may hedge and say, “Let’s keep this ambiguous—theoretical—noncommittal.” This woman at the well is obviously someone who needs some company, being the socially ostracized woman in marital strife she is, and yet she is still playing the game. Jesus doesn’t cut to the chase to condemn, but to illuminate that he knows and still loves. He needs her to know that he sees the face behind the faces and still comes to her. Jesus, in love, renders to a pulp her fragments of pretense. And as much as we are this woman, the same is true: we are offered this grace, that behind our many faces we are cut to the heart—and fully loved there.