“So, the woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, ‘Come see a man that told me everything I ever did! Could He possibly be the Messiah!!? So the people came streaming from the village to see Him.” John 5:28-30
“So, the woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, ‘Come see a man that told me everything I ever did! Could He possibly be the Messiah!!? So the people came streaming from the village to see Him” John 5:28-30
I love the ways Jesus encounters and engages with people that most of us would not even pass a second glance upon or if we did pass a glance, it would be a sideways, judgmental one. He constantly breaks down the societal and religious prejudices and biases many of us secretly hold in our hearts.
As I reflect upon this story, I can’t help but notice this Samaritan woman left behind the very thing that had brought her to the well during the heat of the day. Her very real, legitimate, physical need for the life source of water. It becomes obvious to us, the readers, that she also had significant deeper needs in her heart and soul she had tried to meet through her multiple relationships with men. Had she been divorced because she was barren, widowed? We don’t know, nor do we know the nature of her current relationship, but we do know that the rejection and shame she would have carried every trip to the well because she had been left behind…five times… a social outcast.
“The well” is symbol for community. During ancient times, the well was symbolically and literally at the center of the community. Women of the village would generally gather in the cool of the day to draw water, the basic sustenance for life. Often it was also a social occasion. This is not the case for the woman in our story. Her timing was intentionally planned to avoid any personal interactions with her towns people because of her history, the woman she had become.
Jesus, knowing everything about her, chose to have a profound encounter with her concealed within His physical need of a drink of water. He saw beyond the shameful life she found herself in to the very depth of the vast unmet needs of her heart and soul. He saw the beauty and purpose that laid hidden within. He accepted her and extended His love and compassion by offering her to drink from the well of “Living Water” that quenches all thirst, not just the thirst of the physical body but of her very soul…He claimed she would never thirst again and went a step further declaring to her what He had not made known in public, that He was indeed the Messiah, the One she had been waiting for…. Can you imagine!!! Did you catch it...Jesus told her He was the Messiah, this outcast among outcasts…one of the most insignificant people in her region given the secret of Ages…
Then, something amazing happened!! She left her jar by the well, the very thing that had brought her out into the noon day sun and RAN back to the village telling of her Jesus encounter. I love what happened next…. Filled with His acceptance, and realizing she had found the very thing that her soul longed for she ran to tell others!! This woman, who had no standing in her community, now was reinstated and used powerfully by the Spirit to bring many to the saving knowledge of Jesus.
“Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said ‘He told me everything I did!’…” John 4:39
How amazing is that!! A foreigner, a Samaritan, a woman, not just any woman but a woman with questionable history, shunned by her community, even Jesus’ disciples were shocked to see Jesus engaging with THIS woman. Jesus, unfazed by what others may think, encountered her in ways that engaged her curiosity, caused her to lean in, asking questions that skirted the deeper issue of her soul longing. Perhaps it was her well-developed defense mechanism to deflect personal inquiries, to shift those prying questions that exposed her shame and deep longings. Those places only God can fill and make new… Jesus persisted, continuing to speak to the heart of the matter, that deeper thirst. His gift awakened her heart!!
Maybe your story resonates with this woman or you know someone like this Samaritan woman,…is there something about Jesus’ interaction with her that captures your attention or draws you closer to know more of Him and more of His compassion to those society and religion would bypass, overlook?