It began like any other day.
Since she was an outcast, she approached the well late in the morning, after the daughters and mothers and grandmothers of the town had returned to their homes. This passage in John 4 lets us know that she’d been divorced or put away by five different men and now lived with a man who was not her husband—either he had refused to marry her or was already married to someone else. In any case, no respectable woman would have wanted anything to do with her.
Most men, too, would have shunned her. In spite of the fact that some of them should have publicly shared her guilt. They took refuge in a culture which under-valued and demeaned women.
Little did they know how far they’d strayed from God’s measure of the value of the individual.
Jesus ignored these social mores and did something completely shocking and revolutionary. He approached the woman in public and spoke with her. Not only did He speak with her, He asked her to give Him a drink.
He asked her to serve Him . . . That speaks to me.
Being needed is a powerful motivation within a woman’s heart, but few of us enjoy all the daily chores that come with being caretakers. However, our relationships with the ones we serve transform those household duties into acts of love.
The Bible doesn’t describe what events set this woman on her lonely path in life.
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But however it began, in my imagination I see her as someone who looked longingly on the homes around her, homes filled with friends and relatives and precious children.
Perhaps she wished she might be drawing water for just such a household.
Instead, she was asked to draw water for the Lord, Himself.
Then Jesus used something the woman would understand, thirsting for water, in order to introduce spiritual truths to her. Their initial interaction went like this . . .
The Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask me for a drink?”
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
She said to Him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water?”
At first, she related to Him on a concrete level. She couldn’t understand why He’d asked her for a drink if He was hiding some secret stash of fresh water.
As their conversation continued, He threw out what seemed to be a completely irrelevant request, “Go call your husband and come here.”
Now Jesus was stepping into even more controversial territory. The woman responded, “I have no husband.” Not exactly the whole truth, but all she wanted Him to know.
Jesus said, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband.”
Sounds like quite a judgmental, critical statement, doesn’t it? And, surprisingly, she didn’t walk away.
They talked further, and the woman mentioned being told of the Messiah, who would come to explain all things to them. At that time, Jesus fully revealed Himself to her with the statement, “I who speak to you am He.”
At those words, the woman ran to get the people she knew best, the men of the city.
And here’s the part I find truly amazing. She said to them, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?”
Why was it a good thing that Jesus knew everything about her?
Not only the damage six men had done to her heart but her own sinful thoughts and acts, as well.
I believe that somehow—through the look in His eyes or the tenderness in His voice or the respect in His manner—Jesus communicated this thought . . .
“I see all that you are, the good & the bad, and I cherish you anyway.”
He doesn’t join the ranks of our critics, who unfairly judge our words and actions.
He doesn’t need to create some false image of us as saints who never do anything wrong.
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He clearly sees the reality of the true us—all that He intended us to be and how we have both fulfilled and fallen short of His vision—
And Jesus simply loves us.
How can we resist loving Him in return?
And how can we not submerge ourselves in the cleansing, life-giving water that washes the specks and motes and logs out of our eyes—and allows us to see others as He sees them?
As for this woman’s story, the Bible account ends with, “Many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman.”
Eternity changed for so many in just one ordinary day.
Now it’s your turn to share, dear friends! How have you seen the Lord work during the course of an ordinary day? Or what Bible story have you been amazed by lately?
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