Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas

Borderline Personality Disorder

Please note that the above photo was taken looking west from the Petit Jean State Park lodge in Arkansas. 

     One of the most commonly diagnosed personality disorders is that of the Borderline Personality Disorder. Although, I am not a psychologist and don't diagnose those whom I counsel from a psychological text book perspective, I find the "borderline disorder" often is a catch all diagnosis for a good many people that don't fit in some other category. In the gospel of John chapter four, we find a woman who Jesus met at the well in Samaria who could have easily been diagnosed as having a Borderline Personality Disorder.

1. She, being a Samaritan, a half-breed, considered herself to be an "outsider" or  a "personal reject".    It is interesting that She came to get water the sixth hour of the day (betweeen 12:00 and 3:00 p.m.). It would be in the heat of the day, but maybe there would be no one else there to ridicule her. "There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink" (John 4:7).  Overwhelming feelings of rejection are common with the Borderline Disorder.
2. She also was very self-conscious of being a woman.  "Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans" (John 4:9).

3. She had feelings of emptiness. We know this from the approach that Jesus gave to her.

4. She had great difficulty being alone and probably became dependent on others. We know this from the fact that she had been married five times and was living with a man when Jesus met her.

5. She had repeated failures in social relationships.  In fact, she had had five husbands and was currently living with a man who was not her husband..   "For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly" (John 4:18).

6. She was spiritually unstable, but was searching for the truth.  "The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things" (John 4:25).

7. She was defensive of her beliefs.   "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship" (John 4:20).

1. He went out of his way to meet her, even crossing the national and social boundaries to talk with her.  "And he must needs go through Samaria" (John 4:4).  One who has a borderline personality disorder needs someone that cares to go out of their way to minister to them.  They often wrestle with feelings of abandonment.

2. Jesus approached her first. "There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink"  (John 4:7). This may have been a switch for her.  She probably approached men first, seeking their affection and approval, maybe using sex as a calling card.

3. He offered her living water to quench her search for truth. "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water" (John 4:10).

4. He led her to change her focus of attention from the natural and physical to the spiritual.  When I and several other men ministered some in a local adult detention center, I would often tell the men incarcerated there that I didn't care where they came from or what they had done or what color their skin was, we were there because we believed that they deserved the right to hear the good news about Jesus.  They needed to hear that.

5. Jesus offered her Living Water to fill  the emptiness in her life.  "Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:13-14).

6. He, though confronting her with the truth of her current condition, was accepting of her.  "For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly" (John 4:18).  This was also a demonstration of the gift of knowledge which showed her that he knew her life, but was still accepting of her.

7. Jesus told her that he was the "I AM" to meet all her needs.  "Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am (he)" (John 4:26). Jesus is also the "I AM" also to meet your needs if you have been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder.  Jesus can fill your emptiness and heal your emotional wounds.

"The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?   Then they went out of the city, and came unto him" (John 4:28-30).  She used the fact that she was known of many men in the town to share Christ with them.  God turned the curse into a blessing both for her and for others.
1. Jesus was minister unto himself as he ministered unto the woman. "But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.  Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work" (John 4:32-34).

2. It became an object lesson for the disciples of Jesus to look beyond themselves. "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35).

3. The people of the city came to believe in Jesus.  "Then they went out of the city, and came unto him (Jesus)" (John 4:30).  "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.  So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.  And many more believed because of his own word;  And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world" (John 4:39-42).

So what does this mean to you if you have been diagnosed as having a Borderline Personality Disorder?
1. It means that there is hope and help.
2. It means that Jesus can fill your emptiness.
3. It means that you can receive freedom from the enemy.
4. It means that you can receive emotional healing.
5. It means that you can function as a whole well being.