In his book, “Experiencing the Trinity,” Darrel Johnson writes:
At the centre of the universe is a relationship. It is out of that relationship that you and I are redeemed! And it is for that relationship that you and I are redeemed.
It is this eternal “first” relationship, that sounds sonar-like depth in us. As the writer of Ecclesiastes puts it, “He has set eternity in our hearts, yet we cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
A friend of mine recently sent me an article written by Russell Moore:
People are looking for a cosmic mystery, for a love that is stronger than death. They cannot articulate it, and perhaps would be horrified to know it, but they are looking for God. The Sexual Revolution leads to burned-over boredom of sex shorn of mystery, of relationship shorn of covenant…to dispense with marriage is to dispense with a mystery that points to the gospel itself.
Looking for God?
G.K. Chesterton, who always can be counted on for a provocative insight, quipped, “Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.”
In her own way, this is what I think the Woman at the Well was looking for. I love how Jesus engages her in the conversation of her thirst for intimacy – this thirst that speaks to the mystery of entering into relationship with this One who made her (us) for Himself. Not one word of condemnation, and He is able to speak to the issue of her thirst that spun into various dry cisterns of desire.
I love how Jesus cuts through the subterfuge of meaningless sidetracks – and gets to the heart of a matter. There, in his presence, this woman feels as if she is [finally] fully known, without being violated. I love how Jesus does this, how He does this with me, how He can speak truth so carefully integrated with love that we can see it despite whatever stigmatism we suffer.
I love how Jesus comes to restore the desires that threaten to leave on wild expeditions. John Eldredge in his book, “Journey of Desire” writes:
This may come as a surprise to you: Christianity is not an invitation to become a moral person. It is not a program to getting us in line of for reforming society. It has a powerful effect upon our lives, but when transformation comes, it is always the aftereffect of something else, something at the level of our hearts. At its core, Christianity begins with an invitation to desire.
I am not very interested in piling on Jian Ghomeshi, but his story has broken open a number of topics. Here’s a report on what he wrote in his memoir, “1982.”
Jian Ghomeshi recounts a typical young person’s early experiences with sex, from a first kiss in Grade 5, through to an ill-fated make-out session in Grade 8, when he stripped naked with a girl and did not quite know what to do. When he bragged, his friends said he was “the master.”
“But I was no master. I was 13 then, and I had no idea what I was doing,” he writes. “Part of the problem was that I didn’t have the benefit of pornography. That might have helped” (National Post, Joseph Brean, October 31, 2014).
It is an astonishing lie and a sentiment not even borne out by research. When men knock on the door of pornography, they are “looking for a cosmic mystery – for a love stronger than death. They cannot articulate it, and perhaps would be horrified to know it, but they are looking for God.”
Jian, like so many men, like the Woman at the well, is thirsty for intimacy. Jesus response to our thirst is to lead us deeper into our thirst – deeper into the intimacy for which we were created.
This is more enigma than dogma. Dogma points out why Jian is so wrong; but Jesus reveals how the enigma of our worth is so right.
I love that quote you start out with. “In the center of the universe is a relationship.” God lives through each of his God days in intimacy and oneness, and it is such a good way to be that intimacy and oneness is his intended destiny for all those he loves. Your post makes the point that God has embedded the desire for relational intimacy deep within us, and this desire is the driving force behind much of what we do. This may be true, but it appears to me to be hidden behind a number more immediate desires that demand more immediate gratification – specifically (1) the sexual desire, (2) the desire to not be alone, and (3) the desire for significance. God designed marriage as the place where all of these other desires can be met and where the desire for intimacy and oneness can emerge and flower. Indeed, I think that God uses these other desires to push us into a place where we can recognize and pursue the desire for intimacy.
However, I think that it is probably more realistic when watching people choose disfunction to blame the pursuit of these other desires rather than blame the desire for intimacy.
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