The woman left her water jar beside the well and went back to the village and told everyone, “Come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did! Can this be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.
I love the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well for many reasons, not the least of which are these two: First, Jesus was talking to someone that most Jews would not have spoken to. Second, in John 4:4, the Bible says Jesus “needed” to go through Samaria, a region that other Jews avoided at all costs, to meet a woman that everyone else avoided whenever possible. The fact that the woman was at the well at noon in the heat of the day tells us that she too was hoping to avoid running into someone, her being a woman of “reputation.” But Jesus needed to meet her because she needed to meet Jesus.
After the unusually bold and forthright exchange between Jesus and the woman, in which Jesus supernaturally revealed her sordid past, the woman instantly went to find others to bring to Him. But being the woman that she was, she had to sweeten the pot in order to get them to listen to her. So she said, “Come meet this man who told me everything I ever did.” Now we know this is not technically true, but I believe there is truth in it. I believe the woman was in essence saying, “Come meet a man who told me everything I always worried about.” This woman’s past was her nemesis in her present.
The Samaritans, who were at odds with the Jews, were no more accepting of this woman’s behavior than were the Jews. The woman was an outcast—and an outspoken outcast at that. But Jesus needed to meet her to address her past and therefore change her present. He identified what was plaguing her mind, I believe: how she had lived, how she was currently living. To her, a woman of poor reputation, Jesus offered living water. She was so thrilled by this man with supernatural revelation who offered her eternal salvation that she just couldn’t hold it in; others had to know, and she had to tell them.
I cannot help but think of people who consider themselves too far gone, who think they have done too much to be forgiven. Jesus needs to meet them. He will go to the places no one else will go in order to reach the people no one else will seek in order to offer them what no one else can give: freedom from a past that haunts them every day.
I am so thankful for this story, because Jesus needed to meet me at this same place. At various times in my sordid past, His servants offered me living water, and after staying away from the well for nearly a decade, I finally drank again. When I arrived at the well, I found Jesus already there, waiting to wash away my past, just like He did for the Samaritan woman, a woman no one else wanted to be around, in a place no Jew would go. He needed to meet me, and He did.
Tell someone today about the man who gave you living water and forgave all that you ever did so that they can meet Him too!
Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.