You can't turn on a news program without seeing their disheveled hair and makeup streaked faces. The Hollywood mystic has succeeded in turning bright, young, impressionable women into slaves of hedonistic heartbreak. From Lindsay Lohan to Brittany Spears to Paris Hilton the once brightly burning lights of super stardom have been reduced to little more than fragile candles blowing in the cultural wind.
What is it about these tragic lives that fascinate us so? Why can't we seem to get enough of the latest superstar meltdown? Our voyeuristic appetites are fed daily by a news media that is more than willing to feed us a steady diet of the latest scandal. The fact that CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC, and every other cable network sees a ratings spike every time they show another police photo showcasing the latest exploits of these tragic young women says much about our collective appetite for the sensational.
At the risk of reviving a tired, overused and iconic question, "What would Jesus do?" We don't have to guess because John's Gospel records Jesus encounter with a young woman whose light was also burning dim. He met her at a well near the town of Sychar. She came to draw water from the well during the hottest part of the day (presumably to avoid the accusing eyes of the community). Jesus had stopped to rest while his disciples traveled on into town to buy food. As the woman approached the well, Jesus asked her if she would give him a drink of water. The woman was amazed this Jewish man would speak to her because not only was she a woman, she was a Samaritan woman. But Jesus wasn't' concerned about the religious or cultural differences of the day. He was concerned about this woman whose soul was riddled with the results of her search for meaning.
Just as the modern day Lindsey Lohan'a and Brittany Spear's type characters go from party to party looking for something to fill the void of their lives, this woman spent her life going from man to man looking for meaning through a relationship. People who live in a desert land survive by knowing where the sources of water are located. They have to stay on the move hoping they can carry enough water from the last source to make it to the next. Their lives are in perpetual motion, never at rest but always searching.
Jesus walks into this scene and resists the woman's attempts to talk about the hot button religious issues of the day (such as knowing the right place to worship). He puts His loving but prophetic finger directly on the hurt in the woman's life when He says, "Go and call your husband." When she responds sheepishly, "I have no husband," Jesus responds, "You have well said that you have no husband for you have had five husbands and the man you are with is not your husband."
It is interesting to note that Jesus didn't beat around the bush but neither did He condemn her. He presented to her Himself as the living water that would eternally satisfy and then, almost as an afterthought, He added, "In fact, the water I will give will become a well of water springing up within for eternal life." This is an amazing word from the Lord. Not only does the living water satisfy the longing of the soul it becomes a source of satisfaction for others. Never again would this woman have to bring her bucket from afar and come to the only source of water that she knew. Now, she herself would be a source of water forever satisfied and forever springing forth to those around her. She symbolically leaves her bucket behind because it is no longer needed. She goes into the nearby town and allows her newfound fountain of living water to flow freely to the people until they long to know the source.
If only someone would present this living water to these modern day seekers. Instead of satisfying our hunger for the titillating facts about the sordid lives of these young women in the spotlight who are being destroyed, we should pray that God would put someone in their path that has this living water. One drink would save their souls and satisfy their search. Then they would become sources of living water that could flow out to a whole generation of young women who are slowly destroying their lives by searching in all the wrong places for love.
The lives of these women should not be reduced to a perverse peep show for our entertainment. They should be seen as opportunities for true believers to allow the living water of Jesus to carry them to the cross.
Dr. Tony Beam is Vice-President for Student Services and Director of the Christian Worldview Center at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina.