The search for acceptance in friendships or relationships can feel impossible. You can be friendly and outgoing and do everything right, yet push people away. On the surface, you might not look, act, or talk differently than those around you. Still, people avoid you.
Have you been labeled as “needy?”
Do you feel bewildered, hurt, frustrated… what am I doing wrong?
Neediness is like an aroma. We feel it in others, no matter their personality type—whether they have an attitude problem, are generous, ambitious, hard-working, or keep to themselves. Neediness is often the first thing others see in us and the last thing we see in ourselves.
Is Self-Love The Answer?
Many modern teachers talk about how we all need to stop trying to fill our cups with acceptance and approval from others. “Stop trying to win the world’s approval… Just accept yourself, love yourself, and then you’ll be able to love others,” they say. “You are enough, you are worthy…,” but many have discovered that this teaching leaves them just as empty and needy as they started.
These are empty words.
That Needy Girl
In a story told in John chapter 4, Jesus encountered a very needy woman who came to draw water at a well. Knowing nothing else about it, a meeting at a well should mean something to us. “Well-meetings” between people in the Old Testament often led to marriages—you might call it a hot dating scene. John almost certainly intended this trope to frame our expectations for this story.
That Jesus met a woman alone at a well was a big deal.
The well promised fulfillment for deep longings.
A woman came to fill her basin with water. Even this physical necessity points to our fundamental neediness as humans. We require water every single day. Jesus asked the woman for water and then told her that He could offer her water from which she would never thirst again (John 4:14).
A Greater Need
Jesus was pointing to a much deeper need than physical thirst. He then gently led her to the ugly truth of what her life had become: she had attempted to fill her basin with boyfriend after boyfriend in a mad race for abundant life. Yet she was left empty, always needing more. There she was again with her empty basin, coming alone to the well every day, neediness written all over her.
She would not have been marriage material in one of those Old Testament well meetings. Instead, Jesus is using those references to point us to a greater reality. He is the only one who can fill our deep soul’s ache.
The world says: *you are enough!* But that’s not true. You are not enough in yourself – that is the point. The woman at the well knew she was not enough.
We are all needy for Christ.
When we are not filling our empty basin with Christ, we will be the insecure approval-seeker, the plastic surgery addict, the guy who drops hints showing off his many successes in casual conversations…
We carry our needs around with us everywhere we go. If we do not fill our cups with Christ, we will try to fill them with something else.
Fill Your Cup with Christ
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup.” (Psalm 16:5). As humans, we were created with needs that only God can fill. As Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Take the drink that Jesus offers and find your rest in Him. Find deep satisfaction. Find life abundant that only he can give.