Every year at this time I intentionally share this post as an anniversary celebration to remember what the Lord has done for me. Jesus redeemed me from a life of adultery and sexual immorality in 2009. I was not looking for healing but the Lord knew what I needed better than I knew myself. I am forever grateful for my new life. And I honor the Lord and give Him all the glory for reaching out to me when I refused to reach out to Him. As you read this story, take heart for those you are praying to receive redemption. There is always hope where the Lord is concerned.
There is a story written in the bible, in the gospel of John, chapter 4, where Jesus took a trip to Galilee. While it was not His first trip to Galilee, it was the first time Jesus went by way of Samaria. Samaria was a place that the Jews would never be seen approaching, much less be making a trip through on purpose. I imagine His disciples were questioning what this godly man, this healer and teacher of the word of God, already known by some as Rabbi, would be doing by taking a trip through a place so unpopular to the Jews, like Samaria. Knowing how curious the disciples were, they probably questioned Jesus about this and made several suggestions of alternate routes.
John explains that Jesus had a purpose in Samaria: and she was about to go out to the well. The Lord had a divine appointment with this woman, and He made the biggest effort to get there. While his disciples went on into the city to buy food, Jesus waited at the well just outside of town. It was not customary to believe that anyone would venture out of town to the well at the noonday hour, as most people came to the well to draw their water early in the morning, before the sun was high in the sky; however, Jesus knew that she was coming, because this was when she always came to the well, and He wanted to be there this day when she came. And so, at noon, with the sun high and her garments wrapped all around her, dripping with sweat underneath from the heat, water jug in her hand, head low and shoulders heavy with burdens; the Samaritan woman ventures out to the well.
This woman, not expecting anyone to be at the well at this hour, also comes to the well with purpose. She comes out of guilt, and shame, and embarrassment, and she comes alone. She isn’t looking to meet anyone, no friends to socialize with, no wise elder women to draw wisdom from, no one there to talk to or reach out to for advice or help, just her, alone. That is her purpose; solitude. The life she has chosen is a life of solitude. But, as she approaches the well, she realizes that something is different. Today, there is a man at the well. Not just any man – a Jew. This Samaritan woman is not a woman who the religious teachers and leaders of her day would accept or even speak to. And so, on this day, as she walks towards the well and begins to draw her water, she must be wondering why this man is sitting here watching her.
It doesn’t take long before the Lord speaks to the Samaritan woman. Jesus tells the woman to get Him a drink. I know it sounds like every man in the world came together to learn this tact, but Jesus didn’t really want a drink, He wanted to heal this woman. The picture of culture says that Jews would die of thirst before they would ask a Samaritan for a drink of water. The Samaritan woman is apprehensive, “How is it that you, a Jew, asks for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” By this time, she is not thinking that Jesus wants a drink, she’s sure that His motives will surface and He’ll reveal the true meaning behind why He is sitting there in the presence of a Samaritan. And, truth revealing, Jesus does. “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
As most of us are, the Samaritan woman is skeptical. It is hard for her to accept that Jesus can give her living water when He does not have anything with Him with which to draw the water. Just like so many of us, she contemplates the holy and divine with her simple and tangible mind. It is often so difficult for us to think about the things which can’t be seen or touched with our hands. In the passage it is clear that she is trying desperately to wrap her mind around what He is offering her. She asks Him if He is greater than Jacob, the father of the Samaritans, and founder of the well.
Jesus continues by explaining to the Samaritan woman why the water she draws from the well is not good enough, but the water He can give her will quench her thirst forever, so that she only has need to drink it once. Not only will the water quench her thirst forever, but it will become a living spring inside her that will always be full, and will give her eternal life! The Samaritan woman listens intently to the Lord’s message about the living water. By this time she is convinced that she wants nothing more to do with this well water. She knows inside her heart that she not only wants to drink of the living water that Jesus has mentioned, but she needs to drink of it!
“Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
I feel you sister! She was so desperate and broken; she didn’t want to need water again. She didn’t want to have to come at noon and hide from the rest of the city. She didn’t want the hurt, the shame, any longer. She wanted life. She wanted eternity. Jesus finally reveals the piece of the puzzle that is the purpose for His journey. He asks her to go get her husband so they could come together to Him and drink of the living water. Jesus did this for one reason: He knew her heart, her life, her sins, and He needed her to bring everything to Him so He could heal her of those sins and forgive her and give her eternal life in Him.
The Samaritan woman answered Jesus, “I have no husband.” Perhaps she knew when she said it that He already knew that. It was not hard to believe that He would have already known her situation, since many people in the town knew her and what she was doing. Perhaps she thought that she was now not qualified to drink of the living water, that somehow this was all a cruel joke played on her for the sake of someone else’s fun. That now Jesus would find her just as dirty as everyone else had seen her.
Jesus calls her bluff. “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’”. Jesus tells her that He knows about the five husbands she’s had, and about the man who is not her husband, but is in her bed at home waiting for her to return. He tells her about everything she has ever done, all the sin, the lies, the burdens that she carries around with her, the reason she is at the well at high noon in the first place. This entire conversation was leading up to the purpose for which He had come through Samaria on this trip, He was holding nothing back. This woman was not the only purpose He had at that village. There were others inside who needed to hear His message, but He chose to reveal Himself to this woman who carried the burden of sexual immorality and adultery weighing heavy on her shoulders, and bring healing to her before He entered the village.
The Samaritan woman didn’t want to go back to the home where she knew she was doing wrong. She didn’t want to return to the lifestyle that she had adopted as a normal part of her life for years. This meeting with Jesus was not taken lightly at all. This was the day which she would share with many generations to come, the day that changed her life forever. She had a meeting with the Lord, the Son of God, and He gave her a new life and living water that sprung up inside her and filled her so full that she didn’t have room in her heart for the old woman that had come out to draw water that day. The man was so wise, and she knew she needed to learn so much from Him. She began asking questions, seeking wisdom, regarding worship and the truth about the prophets, and she asked Him about the Messiah that was promised. When their conversation ended she heard Him reveal His true identity to her, “I who speak to you am he.” Of course by that time He didn’t need to say it aloud, after her conversation with Him, and His teachings, her heart knew that He was the one promised by the prophets to come and teach the world all they needed to learn.
The woman left Jesus at the well, excited to have met the Messiah. Can you imagine? Of all the people in the world to have revealed His true identity, Jesus chose this woman, whom no one would speak to or look at. Quickly forgetting that she had gone out to the well to draw water, she leaves her water jar and runs into the town, shouting at the people around her to come and see the Messiah: the one who told her everything she had ever done. She had gone out of the town that day, head hung low, ashamed of all she was and all she had done and had been doing that very day, yet she returned to the town, head turned up toward the heavens, shouting for joy over the meeting where all her lies and sins were revealed to her and she was shouting about those things as if they no longer made her who she was, she was no longer ashamed of these things that had made her go out alone to draw water in the heat of the day!
My favorite part of this story is written in verse 39 of John chapter 4:
“Many…believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…” (ESV)
This was not just a chance meeting at a well, this was a purposeful meeting with a woman in need, and Jesus came to her, because she would not go to anyone else. Because she had allowed her sin to bury her inside her home, hidden away from the rest of the town, Jesus had to use an impractical and unprecedented means of reaching out to her, by going to where she was and meeting her there in order to restore her and bring her the good news.
At the end of this story, in verse 42, after Jesus was welcomed into the town and stayed with the Samaritans for two days, there were many more who became believers and they said to the Samaritan woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
It is my prayer that you hear the testimony that is poured into this story, because it is my story, but that you don’t stop once this story has ended. My prayer is that you will invite Jesus to stay with you for a while, and that after spending some time with Him, you will be able to say that you have heard for yourself and know that Jesus is indeed the Savior of the world. I hope that if you don’t know Jesus as your own Savior, that you will take the opportunity that is before you to ask Him and accept Him into your heart and into your life, to be your own personal Savior. God bless you as you read, and I can’t wait to hear some of the testimonies that will be told because I have told mine.