On Sunday, November 1st, a sad text message confirmed surprising news in Nigeria. “Hi Ameh,” it read, “want to inform you that we just lost our President, Jessy this afternoon. She died after battling heart-related disease for years. It is a sad loss to NANP and we pray God to give her family and 15-year-old daughter the fortitude to bear the loss.”
“Who is Jessy, and what is the NANP?” one might ask. The answers are surprising and shocking, in and of themselves: “Jessy” is a woman named Oluchi, otherwise known as Jessica Elvis; and, sadly, the organization she was president of is the National Association of Nigerian Prostitutes, an organization working to legalize prostitution and better the lives of prostitutes in Nigeria.
Thirsty for the Living Water
Though prostitution is illegal in Nigeria, the sex trade, and the NANP, are flourishing. Women as young as 16 either willingly join the trade; or, are unknowingly trapped and forcefully coerced into prostitution by strangers– and even sometimes by family. These women become apart of the scum of society; and even though the late Jessica Elvis implied that sex workers are not prostitutes, but “friends of the society,”  their trade, whether chosen or forced upon them, degrades and ruins their lives, and the lives of their “customers.” This evil organization, and the sinful practices it stands for, express not only the rapidly declining moral state of the nation, but one Truth: the nation and its Northern inhabitants are not only thirsty for physical water and relief, but all of Nigeria is thirsty for “the Living Water” that never runs out: the person of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, many do not even realize their thirst and hunger for Christ. There was one woman who, not unlike these men, had resorted to other things for “fulfillment”: namely, relationships with many men. This ruined her life, and her reputation. Yet, in John 4, she is introduced to Jesus; and whether she knew it or not, this one meeting would change her forever.
“He [Jesus] had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, ‘You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’
Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’”
(John 4:1-10, NLT)
Already, this woman is perplexed; examining the situation at the time, she had many reasons to be. She said one reason herself: “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink” (John 4:9)? Not only was it deemed inappropriate for a Jew to speak to a Samaritan (as Jews hated Samaritans), but it was deemed even more inappropriate in that day and age for a man to speak to a woman without her husband present (source). Details about the situation uncover further reason for shock and surprise; the woman comes to the well at midday, a time of day when no other respected woman would come to the well to get water (John 4:6). These observances express this meeting was both peculiar and extraordinary.
The Good News Shared
But nothing is as extraordinary as what Jesus states in John 4:10: “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” From the beginning, Jesus reaches out, declaring that He can give this woman what no other man– in fact, what nothing else in all the universe– can give her: true fulfillment, in the form of “Living Water.” Jesus expounds upon this concept further in the text. “…But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life” (John 4:14, NLT). Jesus’ offer to this woman wasn’t just peculiar because of the societal norms of the day; He offered her something completely unheard of: complete spiritual, eternal Life, found only in Him.
As the passage goes on, this woman, enthralled with the idea of this spiritual Living Water, comes to realize that Jesus is not just a “Jew,” but is, in fact, the Messiah (John 4:29). In joy and exhilaration, this woman goes back to the village that very likely rejected her for her immoral, sexual behavior, with the message of the Gospel. This sexually immoral woman, once lost in the throes of seeking men for fulfillment and security, became a new person that day: all because she met Jesus, the Living Water in a land full of broken wells.
The same can be true today: not only for Nigerian prostitutes and the NANP, but for everyone. The ways in which we may look for fulfillment might be different; but, in the end, it’s all the same: all of us are thirsty for Jesus Christ. To those who have fortunately found Jesus, it can be easy to push such sexually immoral people to the side; but, in fact, believers should do the opposite. With hearts broken over their sin, let us seek out to those who are still hungering and thirsting for the Living Water, the only One who satisfies– not only with open hands, but on bended knee as well, in prayer.
Do you know Jesus?
It is no secret that Jesus sought out the pushed aside, “the scum,” and the unwanted in society. Even Jesus’ disciples were shocked at his speaking with this immoral, Samaritan woman (Matthew 4:27); but, it did not keep Jesus from truly Loving her, in a way no man ever had before.
In fact, Jesus’ Love for her–and all of mankind– was the reason for His birth (John 3:16). The bible tells us this about God’s Love. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10, NIV). Jesus did not wait for “us to get right” before He loved us; instead, He loved (and loves) us, just as we are– and came to die the death we deserved to die, so that we might be fulfilled by Him, and learn to truly Love Him back. Meet the God who gave it all to be the True Lover of our souls, Jesus Christ, here.
Please pray that…
– The prostitutes who have willingly chosen this “line of work” would come to know Christ. Please pray that they would realize that all they need can, and is, found in Him alone.
– The prostitutes who have been coerced into this business would come to know Christ, and would be set free from this oppressive, degrading “business.” Please pray that these women would be set free from sin, and this physical bondage, through Christ.
– The whole of Nigeria would experience revival. Please pray for revival in Nigeria, first within the church, and throughout the country.
– Nigeria’s government would pursue justice. Please pray for a crackdown on illegal activities, such as prostitution, and that it would not be legalized.
-Those who have coerced and oppressed women into the sex trade would come to know Jesus. Pray that these men and women would come to know Jesus, and would repent of this horrific, evil sin.
– Those who are coercing and kidnapping women into Boko Haram captivity would come to know Jesus, too. Pray that, just as those who have chosen to work in the sex trade (and coerce others into it), they would know Christ, repent of their sin, and would turn themselves and their fellow criminals into the custody.
– Those men, women, and children in captivity would be saved and freed. Praise Report! on October 28th, 338 people were freed from Boko Haram by Nigerian troops, though none were any of the 219 Chibok girls. Even still, Praise Jesus for the freedom of these precious souls!! Keep praying!! 🙂
– The Chibok girls would be found and freed. Though 338 men, women and children are now freed, these girls have yet to be freed– or even located. Please pray for their imminent release. If you would like to do more to ensure these girls’ freedom, please sign this petition, asking President Buhari to start this process by locating, and publicly reporting, the Chibok girls’ whereabouts by the second anniversary of their kidnapping: April 14th, 2016.
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
(James 5:16, NLT)