Rejection. Even the word makes me shudder a little. In my lifetime I have experienced a wide variety of rejections; big, small and everything in between. Rejection is one of those funny circumstances that leaves your heart a mess, oftentimes with no clear direction on how to start the clean-up.
Recently, I was listening to a podcast of a message my former pastor spoke entitled: “Have You Found What You’re Looking For?” He shared the story of the woman at the well and reminded us how symbolic the time of day was for her to be gathering water. Most women would gather water early in the morning when it was cooler to avoid the noon-day sun. This woman however, made a point to wait and go midday because she knew she would be the only one at the well during that time. She was bound by the chains of her past (5 failed marriages) and on top of that she was living with a man who was not her husband, but even still—Jesus met her at the well.
We often look at this story and only see her sin. But, if you set her sin aside for just a moment I think you might become overwhelmed by the pain this woman was probably experiencing because of her many rejections. Five different men took her as a wife but then abandoned her— that’s no easy pill to swallow.
What I love so much about this story is how intentional God is about taking this rejected woman’s life and completely flipping it upside-down. His intention was never to leave her in that awful place. He took her rejection and exchanged it for everlasting love! After she left that encounter with Jesus, she rushed back home with an urgency to see her community changed by the power of love she had just discovered. The bible says in John 4:30, “So the people came streaming from the village to see Him.” Her community was drawn to Jesus after hearing the words of her testimony.
The world rejected the woman at the well, but she was handpicked by Jesus.
And Jesus, not only set her free, but gave her life purpose.
There are others from within the pages of the bible who experienced devastating seasons of rejection — but God gloriously intervened in their lives and brought incredible meaning to what appeared to be obvious ruins. I think of Joseph who was rejected by his brothers (Genesis 37-50) and David, who was overlooked and rejected by his father Jesse, when Samuel was looking for the new king (1 Samuel 16).
If you’re feeling enslaved by the chains of rejection, look to God. Seek Him fervently and wait on Him to bring meaning to your suffering. He WILL meet you, my friend.
The world may reject you, but you too are handpicked by God.