In thinking of what to write next about Jesus and who He is….I can’t get past the Samaritan woman at the well. I posted a little about her encounter with Jesus last time, but there are too many things here to just give this account one post!
A couple things I notice about Jesus from this passage of scripture:
1. Jesus went against the cultural norm to go to a people not usually liked by his own.
We see in John 4 is that Jesus was passing through Samaria on his way to Galilee from Judea. Samaria is smack dab in the middle of those two places, but strict Jews would typically go around Samaria even though it made for a longer trip because they believed the Samaritans to be unclean. The Samaritans were a people of part Jewish and part Gentile ancestry. Basically, most Jewish folks of that day had little to do with them. They were seen as “less than”.
But not to this Jewish man, Jesus. He was on a rescue mission.
2. Jesus went against the cultural norm and interacted with a Samaritan woman- and not the “holiest” one in the town.
He stops in Samaria at the well about noon. (verse 6) I love that we see here that Jesus stopped at the well because he was “wearied from his journey”. While he is there resting our Samaritan woman comes to draw water. Now, we could just keep going in the story but we would miss something very important. Noon was not the typical time to be drawing water. Generally, women would come to draw water in the morning or evening when it was cooler. (see Genesis 24:11) This was the heat of the day. Yet, this is when she comes out. She wants to come draw her water when no one else would likely be there. I’m sure the townspeople knew of her immoral life and she was the topic of discussion from time to time. And she was not oblivious to that.
It was probably less painful to come when she could come, get her water, and leave without bearing all “the looks”. Yet on this day, she has a divine appointment and doesn’t even know it.
3. There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.
What strikes me is that THIS is the woman who Jesus decided to pursue. One who would probably rather hide from God. The one who had multiple husbands and was living with someone now who wasn’t her husband. I can be like her sometimes. Though I know Christ and live a “moral life”, there are (many) days where I know I fail Him. Well, pretty much everyday in some way. On those days that I am in disobedience or have a rotten attitude….I am not really prepared for Jesus to confront me in love. I don’t naturally run to him. I usually become prayerless. Worship does not flow from my heart. Why? Because think that I have not “earned” his love on that day. I have no right to come to him. Yet we see the depth of the mercy and grace and forgiveness that he offers to us, and while it’s true that we have no merit on our own to come to him, he comes to us in that moment as he did this woman, and invites us to experience living water.
4. Jesus not only revealed himself to her, but to a whole town through her testimony.
“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…” John 4:39
They came to him and begged him to stay a few more days with them, and many more believed we are told in verse 41. A whole town changed! What dignity he restored to this broken woman! One who avoided interactions with others now ran to them to tell them of this wonderful Messiah, Jesus, that had come. And once they heard her testimony, and saw for themselves….we can’t know for sure, but I can’t imagine she drew water at noon anymore.