That one woman.
The one who had had more husbands than fingers on her left hand. The one who went to the well in the heat of the day when she knew no one else would be there. To avoid the women who gathered in the cool of the morning. Because of her shame. Perhaps because of reviling by the women.
We find her story in John, chapter 4.
So Jesus ‘had to’ go through Samaria. John 4:4NIV
Samaria was a place that the Jews avoided, because Samaritans were half-breeds, and ‘unclean’. The way around Samaria was long, but any self-respecting Jew would take the the long way.
He sat down by the well. The disciples left to go get something to eat.
The woman came and Jesus engages her in conversation. A shocking move on His part, because not only did Jews avoid Samaritans, but men avoided talking to women. She had two strikes agains her, but not so with Jesus.
And this was no happenstance connection. Or location.
The well was located on the parcel of land that Jacob deeded to his son Joseph, and the location where Joseph’s bones were buried. “The well was deep and the reservoir below is spring-fed, so it’s water was always fresh, pure and cold. It is the only well and the finest water in the vicinity.” ~J.M.
He asks her to give him a drink. She is shocked and wonders at his request, “Who, ME? Really?”
Jesus answers her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10
Do you see the way Jesus is leading her mind? It seems He is causing her to think, to acquire a desire to know something more, to seek an answer.
Not only is this Jewish man talking to her, a Samaritan woman, but his answers are puzzling, and compelling.
I imagine her thoughts, “What in the world IS living water? Who is this speaking to me? Will His God and my God be the same God?”
So she asks him, “How would you get this water? You have no rope or bucket and the well is deep. Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
Her words reveal that she holds in her heart a knowledge of history, and an awareness of Jacob’s lineage in God’s family. She has pondered some things . . . Even though Samaritans are considered outcasts, she is exhibiting what John MacArthur describes as ’embryonic faith’.
I love that term!
As we have been unpacking the lives of the extraordinary women of scripture, this seed of faith can be seen in every woman. There was HOPE and BELIEF that God is good despite the opposing forces that would draw barriers to their own blessings from God.
Seeking: SeeKing: Seeking THE King.
This is the foundation of extra-ordinary.
Jesus begins to draw a picture for the woman contrasting earthly water (continual need) and spiritual water (perpetual replenishment). He tells her that drinking living water that only He can give, will bubble up and overflow. “A spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
She’s thirsty now and asks for the water He is offering.
Then he says, “Go, call your husband and come back.” and she admits she has no husband, to which he replies, “You are right…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.” John 4:17-18
Notice Jesus doesn’t rebuke or shame her, but honors her honesty. Do you think the shock-factor is growing in this woman’s heart at the Mercy seated before her?!!!
Not only does He look at her in a frame that no other person has ever seen her, but He knows her in the depths of her and has approached her, engaged her, and accepted her as she is.
She sees He is of God and her next question to Him not only turns the conversation off of herself, but onto worship of God. In essence asking who is correct in their worship of God-her people who worshipped on ‘this mountain’ or the Jews who worshipped in Jerusalem.
This reveals a desire for Truth already within her heart.
Jesus answers her revealing a whole new way to worship God.
He says, “Neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. He tells her the Father is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. He is revealing in the moment the new covenant that is on the horizon. And inviting her to be adopted by The Father.
John 4:25 reveals the ’embryonic seed’ that is within the Samaritan woman’s heart when she says, “I know that Messiah is coming, and when he comes he will explain everything to us.”
And here is the moment that Jesus has been waiting for. The one that he has been leading up to. The moment he ‘had to’ come to the well for: He tells her “I am the Messiah.”
This is the FIRST time He reveals himself.
And “JUST THEN” the disciples returned. John 4:27 reveals that they were stunned at the scene; they were speechless.
How I’d love to have seen their faces!!!
Then leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did, could this be the Christ?”
She told Jesus that she believed Messiah would ‘explain everything to us’ and then she runs to the towns people (and it appears as if they too were ‘schooled’ on Messiah and looking for his arrival!) and she tells them this man told her everything she ever did.
When they heard him, they believed in Him. Romans 10:17
So . . . This unnamed woman was the first ever evangelist. In a world where women were not deemed credible witnesses, Jesus chose to reveal Himself to her first and her witness-it was credible!
Meeting the Messiah causes a reaction. I started out much more reserved and cautious in displaying joy than the Woman at the Well. It’s taken me time to become vocal about my faith in Jesus. But I know many who have told everyone about Jesus after meeting Him.
How did you react? Did you run and tell someone or did you react in another way?