In John chapter 4, we see Jesus crossing racial and social boundaries to talk to a Samaritan woman. If you’ve been reading my posts, today I am trying something just a little different. If you have a Bible handy turn with me to John 4, if not it’s ok….read on I will do my best to explain the story.
Try to picture this scene in your mind. Jesus and his disciples were headed back to Galilee from Judea. The shortest route home was through Samaria. During this time period, Jews and Samaritans didn’t speak, in fact the Jews would rather go out of their way than take a short cut through the city of Samaria. But not Jesus, he had no reason to live by what the culture around him dictated.
When Jesus and his disciples approached a well, Jesus sat down to rest while his disciples went into town to buy food. As he waited, a Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. Each time I read this passage, I always wonder what’s going through this woman’s mind as she approaches the well. Scripture tells us that she knew Jesus was a Jewish man (see verse 9). So I put myself at the scene. If I approach a stranger, I tend to have a quick conversation with myself. Perhaps that day I would have said something like this:
“I wonder who that guy is? He looks tired and thirsty. Maybe I should just acknowledge his presence with a nod.”
The Bible doesn’t tell us what was going through her mind. It really doesn’t matter. What DOES matter is that Jesus crossed the barrier first.
His request was a simple one. “Please give me some water.”
Again, I have to go back to the woman. She was a Samaritan, she wasn’t supposed to be talking to, much less hanging out with, a Jew. Here she was face to face with Jesus. The Bible says she was surprised that Jesus even said anything to her. I wonder how she felt at that very moment.
Her response was accurate for the culture in which she lived “I am a Samaritan, you are a Jew. How can you ask me for a drink?”
Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
Living water? Yes, that’s the gift! Living water…eternal life.
He had her captivated. “Where? Where can I get this living water?” she desperately longed for water that would last.
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but WHOEVER drinks this water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside the person, giving eternal life.”
Can you just imagine the conversation the woman is having with herself? “Did you hear that? He said WHOEVER!”
Have you ever thought about “who” whoever encompasses? The loveable, the unlovable, the hurting, the poor, the downcast, the murderer, the liar, the adulterer, the angry, the bitter, the unfaithful.
This woman must have decided in her mind “I’m a whoever! A spring of water will gush up inside of me. I can only imagine how refreshing that will be. I want this water. I have to ask him how I get it!” The woman responds “Sir, please give me this water.”
Jesus looks at her “Go get your husband and come back here.”
The woman could have said anything here. She could have made an excuse but she didn’t and with honesty, she told Jesus “I don’t have a husband.”
Looking at her with love-filled eyes Jesus said “You’re right. You’ve had five husbands and the one you live with now is not your husband.”
I don’t know about you, but my jaw would have hit the ground if I were that woman. There was something different about this man at the well and she knew it. “I can see you’re a prophet.”
Jesus’ response was perhaps another jaw-dropping moment for the woman “I am the Messiah.”
The Bible doesn’t tell us if there were words exchanged after this. What the Bible does say is that the woman left everything to go back to her town and tell the people of her encounter with Jesus. The woman wasn’t concerned about the water at the well. She probably forgot all about it. She just had an encounter with the Messiah! A spring of water now gushing from inside her and she has to tell everyone she knows.
“Everyone listen! You have to come and see the Messiah. He told me everything I had ever done. He wasn’t harsh at all. He didn’t condemn me. His words were kind and caring and he gave me eternal life!”
Have you ever thought about how this woman must have felt? She knew the mistakes she had made in her past but that didn’t seem to matter anymore. After her personal encounter with Jesus, she had a spring of new life gushing from within and it changed her forever.
Psalm 32: 1 – 2, Isaiah 55: 6 – 7, Matthew 11:28 – 30, Colossians 1: 13 – 14