The Story in BriefThis morning I read, again, the account of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well when she came to draw water (John 4:3-42). You know the story (if you don't read it now). She was a Samaritan. The Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans. They were the result of intermarriage between the Hebrew people and Gentiles. And now, centuries later, they were still considered impure, to put it mildly.
So hated were the Samaritans that normally Jews would not go through Samaria to get to Galilee. Though it was out of the way, they would go around Samaria to avoid these people, which made for a much longer trip. So it was unusual to see a Jew in Samaria.
But Jesus made a point of traveling through Samaria on His way to Galilee. He had an appointment there that only He knew about. So He and His disciples stopped on the outskirts of town by the well. The disciples left to go into town to find something to eat while Jesus remained at the well, waiting for the one He had come there to see.
As He sat, wearied from the journey, a woman approached the well. It was late in the day to be drawing water, but because of her tarnished reputation, she avoiding being there with other women from her city. Ashamed, she did not want to risk confrontation.
When she arrived at the well, Jesus asked her to give Him a drink. She was surprised that He talked to her, Him being a Jew and a man at that. It was unheard of for Jews to speak to Samaitans, but it was even more unheard of for a man to speak to a woman like He had just done.
The conversation continued and Jesus revealed Himself to her as the long-awaited Messiah. They talked about worship, "living water" and her life. Well, Jesus talked about her life. She was surprised again when he laid out her biography to her, having never met her before. She had been married five times and now lived with a man that she was not married to. He knew everything about her. He knows everything about all of us. He is omniscient. There is nothing that He does not know.
After Jesus revealed HImslef to her, she left Him to run into town to tell others that she had met the Messiah and invited them all to come and see for themselves.
Then the woman left her water jar and went away to the town. And she began telling the people, "Come see a Man Who has told me everything I ever did! Must not this be the Messiah, the Anointed One?" (John 4:28-29)
An Odd MessageIn proclaiming this message to the people of her village, this woman was basically saying, "Come see a man who knows what kind of woman I am, who knows how immoral I've been - five ruined marriages and now living with a man I am not married to. Come see this man who knows all about my lifestyle of sin!
This must have made the townspeople curious. For they immediately left everything they were doing and sprang up to go and see this man who had so graciously confronted her that she now happily announces all of this to those who have previously shunned her for those very sins.
Free, at Last!She is not crushed that the Messiah knows all about her sin. She is not lingering over her guilt and berating herself, so ashamed and that she cannot get her eyes off of her wasted life. She is not paralyzed in knowing that this compassionate man is completely aware of her deepest, darkest secrets. No!
Rather, she is repentant and joyful. She is humbled and honest. She is ecstatic that she has come face to face with such a Savior as Jesus - kind, offering hope, calling her to be His own, finally quenching her thirst, confronting her with the fact that He knows all about her sin, yet so generous in grace that she does not feel destroyed.
Changed in a MomentShe has now been changed in a moment by Jesus. She no longer has self-conceived ideas about God; but suddenly she knows and believes The Word of God made flesh. Transformed, she is no longer a rebel, but has become the very worshiper Jesus told her that His Father was seeking. She will never again worship the Lord in a place - the mountain. Now worship springs forth from her innermost being - in spirit and in truth.
Her motivation for living has turned from self-gratification to glorifying Christ. She is back in relationship with the very people who have turned her away for what seems forever. In fact, without being told, she has begun a one-woman campaign of evangelism to these folks. She has witnessed to them of the Messiah.
She is brand new. She is joyful after having been downcast and derided by herself and others for as long as she can remember. She is free! A great burden has been removed from her. She is no longer thirsting for something illusive to her, working in vain for some created thing to quench her fierce longing. She is satisfied completely now in her Creator and Redeemer.
Drinking in the Living Water this woman has become a "spring of water welling up to eternal life"!
Who is Like You, Oh Lord?Oh, who can do such wonders? Who else can quench the thirst of the sinner but the Living Water? Is it any mystery then why this woman so eagerly runs to the very people who had condemned her, to tell them of this wonderful and long-hoped for Messiah?
After this, Jesus graciously stayed with these despised people. The result was that they came to love and embrace Him also. How could they not since He had revealed Himself to them? They told the woman, Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.
My Longing and PrayerLord Jesus, You cannot be explained. I struggle to understand Your grace - it is so foreign to human experience. Your love is nothing any of us mortals could ever have imagined on our own. Your mercy is beyond describing.
Thank You for coming to me and revealing Yourself to me, just as You did for this woman so harassed by her sin. You are precious, dear Savior. Oh thank You, Living Water, for quenching my thirsty soul.
Please show me more and more of Yourself day by day. I yearn to have more of You, to love You with a greater heart of love; to serve You with a passion that is fueled by that love. Only You can do this in me. I want to overflow with joy in You so that each day I am renewed by that joy (that only You can give). It is Your joy which so energizes me to do what pleases You, kind Lord - to do Your magnificent will and love You in return.
May it be so, Oh Lord, for this is Your will for me and I thank You.