Friday, May 3, 2013

The Living Water

The Story in Brief

This morning I read, again, the account of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well when she came to draw water (John 4:3-42). You know the story (if you don't, read it now). She was a Samaritan. The Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans. They were the result of intermarriage between the Hebrew people and Gentiles. And now, centuries later, they were still considered impure, to put it mildly.

So hated were the Samaritans that normally Jews would not go through Samaria to get to Galilee. Though it was out of the way, they would go around Samaria to avoid these people, which made for a much longer trip. So it was unusual to see a Jew in Samaria.

But Jesus made a point of traveling through Samaria on His way to Galilee. He had an appointment there that only He knew about. So He and His disciples stopped on the outskirts of town by the well. The disciples left to go into town to find something to eat while Jesus remained at the well, waiting for the one He had come there to see.
Rembrandt's rendering of the Samaritan woman meeting Jesus at the well.  

As He sat, wearied from the journey, a woman approached the well. It was late in the day to be drawing water, but because of her tarnished reputation, she avoided being there with other women from her city. Ashamed, she did not want to risk confrontation.

When she arrived at the well, Jesus asked her to give Him a drink. She was surprised that He spoke to her, Him being a Jew and a man at that. It was unheard of for Jews to speak to Samaritans, but it was even more unheard of for a man to speak to a woman publicly.

The conversation continued and Jesus revealed Himself to her as the long-awaited Messiah. They talked about worship, "living water" and her life. Well, Jesus talked about her life. She was surprised again when he laid out her biography to her, having never met her before. She had been married five times and now lived with a man that she was not married to. He knew everything about her. He knows everything about all of us. He is omniscient. There is nothing that He does not know.

After Jesus revealed Himself to her, she left Him to run into town to tell others that she had met the Messiah and she invited them all to come and see for themselves.

Then the woman left her water jar and went away to the town. And she began telling the people, "Come see a Man Who has told me everything I ever did! Must not this be the Messiah, the Anointed One?" (John 4:28-29)

An Odd Message

In proclaiming this message to the people of her village, this woman was basically saying, "Come see a man who knows what kind of woman I am, who knows how immoral I've been - five ruined marriages and now living with a man I am not married to. Come see this man who knows all about my lifestyle of sin and shame!"

This must have made the townspeople curious. For they immediately left everything they were doing and sprang up to go and see this man who had so graciously confronted her. She was so stunned by the Messiah: His gracious way of revealing His knowledge of her sad life and yet the LOVE He displayed toward her; His winsome heart for her; His offer of water that would satisfy eternally; and His claim to be the Messiah she had waited for. She was so stunned, that she happily announced all of this to those who had previously shunned her for the very sins she was now openly admitting to. It's all so ironic and fascinating and even humorous.

Free, at Last!

She was not crushed that the Messiah knew all about her sin. She did not linger over her guilt, berating herself. She saw Jesus now. She knew in a moment that He loved her like no man ever had. Her eyes were on Him, not on her wasted life. She was not paralyzed in knowing that this compassionate man was completely aware of her deepest, darkest secrets. No!

Rather, she was repentant and joyful. She was humbled and honest. She was ecstatic that she had come face to face with such a Savior as Jesus - kind, offering hope, calling her to be His own, finally quenching her thirst, confronting her with the fact that He knows all about her sin, yet is so generous in grace that she did not feel destroyed. In fact, she was greatly enlivened, filled with wonder and jubilant of heart at the man and the message of hope that He had delivered to her open ears.

Changed in a Moment

She had now been changed in a moment by Jesus. She no longer had self-conceived ideas about God; but suddenly she knew and believed The Word of God made flesh. Transformed, she was no longer a rebel but had become the very worshiper Jesus had just told her that His Father was seeking. She would never again worship the Lord in a place - the mountain. Now worship sprung forth from her innermost being - in spirit and in truth.

Her motivation for living had turned from self-gratification to glorifying Christ. She was suddenly relating happily with the very people who had turned her away for what seemed like an eternity. In fact, without being told, she had begun a one-woman campaign of evangelism to these townfolks. She now witnessed to them of the Messiah.

She was brand new. She was joyful after having been downcast and derided by herself and others for as long as she could remember. She was free! A great burden had been removed from her. She was no longer thirsting for something elusive to her, working in vain for some created thing to quench her fierce longing. She was satisfied completely now in her Creator and Redeemer.

By drinking in the Living Water this woman had become a "spring of water welling up to eternal life"!

Who is Like You, Oh Lord?

Oh, who can do such wonders? Who else can quench the thirst of the sinner but the Living Water? Is it any mystery then why this woman so eagerly ran to the very people who had condemned her, to tell them of this wonderful and long-hoped-for Messiah?

After this, Jesus graciously stayed with these despised people. The result was that they came to love and embrace Him also. How could they not since He had revealed Himself to them? They told the woman, Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.

My Longing and Prayer

Lord Jesus, You cannot be explained. I struggle to understand Your grace - it is so foreign to the human experience. Your love is nothing any of us mortals could ever have imagined on our own. Your mercy is beyond describing.

Thank You for coming to me and revealing Yourself to me, just as You did for this woman so harassed by her sin. You are precious, dear Savior. Oh thank You, Living Water, for quenching my thirsty soul.

Please show me more and more of Yourself day by day. I yearn to have more of You, to love You with a greater heart of love; to serve You with a passion that is fueled by that love. Only You can do this in me. I want to overflow with joy in You so that each day I am renewed by that joy (that only You can give). It is Your joy which so energizes me to do what pleases You, kind Lord - to do Your magnificent will and love You in return.

May it be so, Oh Lord, for this is Your will for me and I thank You.

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Join the discussionThe Living Water

  1. Sharon,

    It is so good to see you back on and encouraging others through what He is teaching you!