Wednesday, January 12

At the Well

Read  John 4:4-42

***Read part one here

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Is she awed by him? Is that why she asks him if he is greater than Jacob?

Or is she done. Worn out and tired of pretending. Does sarcasm drip from her words instead of worship? Maybe.

Jesus answers, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.

I hear sarcasm again in her reply. “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” The response of an exasperated woman who only wants to draw water in peace and quiet without being ridiculed by some holier-than-thou Jew.

He tells her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she snaps.

Jesus watches her intently even as she keeps her eyes on the task of lowering the jug into the deep well. “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.

Her breath catches, but she doesn’t look up. How could he know that? He could know that. Everyone knows that. So she plays along, not ready to give up the bitterness that comes with being long oppressed. “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

When Jesus utters the phrase, “Woman, believe me,” she looks up. How can she not? The words are packed with authority, power and… was that compassion? “A time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” He answers carefully, letting her know her question was a worthwhile one that he cares enough to address. “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.” He emphasizes the word from and continues, “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” He is for you, too, he tells her with his words and his eyes.

The woman wants to believe him. “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

A great grin spreads across the face of the man at the well. “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Other men pick that very moment to swarm him. His words ring in her ears. Her mouth hangs open. She doesn’t even care what these other Jews are saying about her.

It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.

The water jar drops to the ground with a thud. She recognized him now. She believes him. And she ran.

Surely the disciples thought she was running away in shame. But her shame was the last thing on her mind when she accosted the first people she met. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”

She didn’t wait to be baptized or commissioned or perfect. When she knew she was face to face with the Messiah, she ran and spread the word to an entire town who probably held her, the worst of sinners, in contempt. Unashamed, she told them to come see this man who could be the Messiah.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

It doesn’t matter who you are. It matters who I am.

Let’s learn from her today. Her testimony made a splash because she didn't wait around to be worthy of worshiping Jesus. She didn't cherish the knowledge in her heart and keep it to herself. She spread the word and "many Samaritans believed." Because the offer of salvation extended passed the Jews even to the despised and unworthy Samaritans, we can still feel the effect of one woman's ripple.

It doesn’t matter who we are. It matters who He is.

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