I imagine her as she carefully makes her way through the crowded streets of Sychar, her vision fixed on the ground, not wanting to be seen; averting prying eyes. She carries her water jar all the way outside of town to Jacob’s well.
She carries her water jar, along with a bitter load of rejection.
She tries to block from her mind the whispers and stares and just keeps pushing forward to get needed water.
She would rather stay home; rather not venture out to be seen, to be the object of ridicule. But making the daily trip to the well had to be done—she had to have water. She was forced to endure publicly scrutiny because of her thirst.
I’m sure she was startled by Jesus’ request. A completely unorthodox move—a male Jew speaking with a female half-breed—highly unusual.
But she couldn’t help herself; she was compelled to respond to Him.
[box]Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 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. (John 4:9–10)[/box]
Her heart was racing . . . thoughts tumbling:
Living water . . . the gift of God . . .
Living water? How do you get it? Where does it come from?
Who is this man?
Her mind must have flooded with questions. Her search had gone on for years, but her deep thirst still was not quenched, her weary heart longed to be filled . . . but with each new relationship she was left dry and empty. Longing for real satiation, she dove in repeatedly, only to find her throat parched and her heart yearning for more . . . more of something, she just wasn’t sure what.
She knew that there must be more than this; a life full of broken promises and shattered dreams.
Jesus answered and said to her:
[box]Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. (vv. 13–14)[/box]
This was it. She had to have it. If He had the answer to her deep thirst, she wanted it! But as she reached out to His offer, He countered with a penetrating caveat.
He came right into the deepest places of her shame and rejection and invited her to join Him there.
[box]He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” (vv. 16–18)[/box]
Who is this man?
When she woke that morning, she probably started her day as any other: trying to avoid; to hide; to slip by as one unseen among the crowds. After years of being passed from man to man, she was nothing more than a walking corpse.
But this Man was pulling back her death shroud that she might drink deeply of living water and inviting her into the most intimate place.
Jesus then invites her to worship the Living God:
[box]You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (vv. 22–24)[/box]
His words brought her heart to life. She couldn’t fully understand what He meant, but her heart was leaping at these words, “The Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth . . .”
Who is this man?
Her mind was reaching for the hope He extended . . .
Could this be?
She had to know.
[box]The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” (v. 25)[/box]
And then He did it.
Jesus shared with this sinful woman the most profound and personal word about Himself; the most intimate detail He could disclose. Something He’d not stated openly, He was now sharing with this outcast woman. He was holding out to her the offer to drink of Him, to satiate her thirst with eternal, living water, and letting her know Who He is.
Jesus said to her, I who speak to you am He.
And at that moment, she knew it was Him. This was the Man she’d been waiting for, this was the answer to the deep longing of her heart, the unquenchable thirst in her soul.
This was the Man.
And then it happened. She stepped out of her death shroud and left it lying in the dust as she ran to tell the city, “Come see a man!”
Have you stepped out of your death shroud to drink of His living waters? He invites you today.
(From the archives 08/06/2013)
Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net