Thirsty for Meaning

Blog 8 Title

By: Scott Reall

One day, as Jesus was walking through Samaria on a hot day, he came upon a well in the middle of the desert. Nobody was there except this Samaritan woman. Jesus and the woman got into a discussion about her life—as Christ often does; pulling us out of deep isolation and exposing our true human condition. What we learn about this woman is that she was struggling. We know that she struggled with shame as she came to the well at a time that no one else would be there. Jesus exposed her human condition. We see a pattern of her search for love and purpose as she had been married five times. She was seeking the answer for her human condition: the longing to be loved and the find the meaning and purpose of life with love. [1]

In this encounter, Jesus is speaking to the whole human race about our struggles with our human condition. Outside of a relationship with Him, anywhere we turn to find the answer of our longing hearts or to feel the meaning and purpose of love has the potential to often leave us empty and void of that love and meaning. Theologian Richard Rohr speaks of this longing for love. Rohr teaches:

“What we lack in an addictive society or a family is a sense of being alive, really interiorly alive. And so we look for pseudo-ways to feel alive. They never work, but for some reason they’re better than doing nothing. Nicotine, caffeine, eating food to give us some kind of sensation, pouring liquor our our throats. Or we overstimulate ourselves by gambling or by sexual activity – something to make a non-alive person feel alive. It’s a testimony to an utter lack of spirituality.” [2]

The world is filled with broken people like the woman at the well, desperate for love and significance. Within the human condition is an innate desire to love and be loved, so why are there so many broken hearts? Is there anything in this world that gives us as much meaning as love? Many of us try to deny our need for love by distracting our consciousness with life-controlling issues, but our hearts will never be truly satisfied.

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At the end of the day, we all have one core need—to be loved. When this is absent from our lives, we experience lack of purpose and deep feelings of isolation, because a life without love feels meaningless.

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I often experience the feeling of meaninglessness when I am in downtime. Sometimes weekends, holidays, or being alone at night. In those moments of feeling disconnected to the purpose of my life, I notice a slight depression ormelancholy, then comes this instinctive awareness of longing for intimate connection. If I stay disconnected, the depression and melancholy gets more intense, and so does my need to escape. However I chose to numb, it disconnects me from the true meaning of my life.

Meaninglessness is the plague of modern man. We all have been the woman at the well. We all are searching and longing for an answer. Christ, as he presents Himself, acknowledges that we can drink all day long, insatiably unsatisfied, and the world will offer us no better option that to keep coming back to the same old well.


[1]Bible, John, 4:1-26

[2]Rohr, Richard. “Feeling Alive.”


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