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She needed truth, but she tried to sustain herself on her own.
She sought relationship after relationship, but they all failed.
She wanted love, but everyone let her down.
Her life was a mockery.
Her community scorned her for her endless love affairs, but as heavy handed as their judgment was, she could easily see through their false fronts.
She knew their lives were no different on the inside than hers was on the outside.
One completely ordinary day.
Doing a completely ordinary thing
(getting the daily water from the well).
The same way she had been accustomed to doing
(in the heat of the day so she wouldn’t have to see any other women from her village).
Right in the middle of her lonely, emptiness,
Jesus met her.
And he asked for an ordinary thing,
“Give me a drink.”
The significance of this seemingly simple request wasn’t lost on either of them.
She was a Samaritan, ousted from God’s chosen people, the Jews, because of their insistent decision to worship other gods and intermarry with the Jews, bringing their false worship with them.
He, a devout Jew.
With so many recent examples of cultural and racial differences around us, it’s easy to imagine how deep their differences ran.
“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” she asked.
Even sharing common utensils, like a water dipper, was forbidden, their peoples’ mutual hatred was so ingrained.
You can almost hear Jesus’ winsome tone and kind eyes searching hers as he replied with depth and prodding, easing her into life-changing conversation,
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
The woman squirmed, despite the man’s kind invitation.
There was something about Him…something that insisted on vulnerability.
But rather than accept his invitation, she pulled on her “go-to” armor of self-defense and she turned a taunting question sharply towards Jesus,
“Are you greater than our father Jacob?”
Simultaneously laying claim to the faith and lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the Jewish faith, while mockingly provoking this man to make good on his claim of having the prophetic “living water” declared by Jeremiah and Isaiah, prophets long since dead in their graves.
Though she stirred vigorously at the waters of hate that separated their peoples, waiting for him to flee from her like everyone else had, Jesus, ignoring her taunts, pointed insistently towards himself as being the ultimate fulfiller of her deepest needs,
starting with the truth of who He was, the author of Eternal Life. (John 4:14)
Again, the woman missed the point.
Perhaps from fear, perhaps the armor she constantly carried was too thick to hear Jesus’ heart and so she stayed focused on literal water,
but she also let loose a small bit of insecurity,
“…so I won’t be thirsty or have to come here to draw water anymore.”
Hidden behind the seemingly practical of not making a water run anymore, perhaps the woman wished for more. Her desperation for a life free from the shame and judgment from her community came through in her answer.
Oh how much we are like her!
Wishing for depth.
Aching to be known and loved.
……Yet buried in desperation!
Jesus saw her emptiness and leaned into it
because He had more to offer her than she dreamed, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
Though he knew full well that she had no husband. (John 4:17). When she admitted as much, Jesus went on to tell her the truth about who she was and the details of her past.
Jesus gave the woman truth.
First about himself,
then about herself,
and with poignant purpose and divinity, pointed her to deeper truth,
“You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”
He disarmed her lies about her false lineage and her false sense of security of laying claim to “Father Jacob” and his faith inheritance.
Instead of shaming her, He invited her in to know truth.
“…the Father is seeking such people to worship him”.
And what kind of worshippers exactly?
Those willing to honor God in spirit and in truth.
It hit her suddenly, like a load of bricks that fell from her back in a moment;
she could be free!
Free with new purpose, given a new inheritance and welcomed into the family of the Almighty God, the one true God, who was seeking after her! It was unfathomable!
The truth that had set her free, suddenly made her abandon her fear and her water jug as she ran headlong towards the very people who had shamed and judged her.
It didn’t matter anymore what they thought of her for she had found truth.
Truth that become the cornerstone of her testimony,
“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did (truth!).”
One woman met Truth at the well that day despite her sin, her shame, and her emptiness. Jesus was willing to enter in and span the chasm that separated them in order to set her free. As a result, her fellow villagers embraced truth for themselves as well.
And so it is with the gospel of Christ.
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