Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Woman of Samaria

 She came to the well at midday, perhaps to avoid the gossipy women who usually gathered there each morning. Her life had not been easy. She already had five different husbands and was now living with a man who she never married. Whatever the reasons were for these failed relationships, she must have suffered a great deal of hardship. She may have longed for a different life but thought it was just too late or difficult to change. However, her life did transform that day. When a stranger, a man named Jesus saw her at the well and asked “Give me to drink?”

By the rules of hospitality, she should have responded to this thirsty traveler and let him drink from her water pot. But He was a Jew!  She was surprised and perhaps speechless at first. Why would a Jewish man speak to a Samaritan who was considered to be his enemy? Jews always avoided Samaritans because they were a mixed race, unclean and beneath them. The Samaritans in return disliked the Jews who treated them with disdain and rejected their common Israelite ancestry.  To disregard this adversarial connection was ‘Asur” or forbidden.

More significantly, why would this outsider dare speak to her? Jewish custom discouraged men from speaking with women who were not accompanied by their husbands or fathers. One saying of the Jewish law went like this “Let no one talk with a woman in the street, no, not with his own wife.” Yet, Jesus saw the value in her that she likely did not see in herself. He disregarded tradition and prejudices. He knew her only as a daughter of God and wanted her to know His true identity too.

Jesus then said to her, “if thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and he would given thee living water. “ The woman reminded Him that He had no cord or bucket to draw water from the deep well and perhaps sarcastically added, “Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us this well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?”

Jesus answered, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thrist again; But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
His words intrigued her because each day required the hard task of carrying heavy water to and from the well. She was no longer young.  Her body like her spirit must have been somewhat worn out. The very thought of an ever flowing supply of water pleased her.  As she contemplated this and continued to stand in the presence of our Lord, a change came over her. She began to recognize His eternal truths and to receive a glimpse of what this living water might be. With a great longing in her heart to know more about it she said “give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”

 Jesus seized this opportunity to teach and told her to go get her husband. She informed Him that she had no husband. Knowing this already, He said “For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband.” I wonder if his statement stung her or if she felt his love and concern? Regardless, she received his words with humility. His ultimate knowledge about her life convinced her that he was a prophet.

Christ went on to teach her more. Perhaps she did not understand everything He said or needed a polite way to end the conversation by finally saying, oh well “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ; when he is come, he will tell us all things.” Jesus then unequivocally pronounced, “I that speak unto thee am he.”He said it and she believed it. The Messiah had come! Not just to the Jews but he had come for everyone. And to her, an outcast woman, who others believed to be of little worth.

One can only speculate as to why the Messiah would choose to reveal himself to someone like her.  I believe that he looked upon her heart that day and knew she hungered for truth. Her life to this point had been hopeless and he was the fulfillment of her very hope. 

Hurriedly, she left her waterpot and went into the village to tell everyone about the man, “which told me all things that ever I did, is not this the Christ?” Because of her testimony many believed and heard for themselves, exclaiming “this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. “
I believe this story is exceptionally important to women because it shows the value that Jesus Christ placed on women and their discipleship. The length and depth of the conversation is significant and the beginning of the revolutionary way He involved women in His ministry. 
More importantly this story invites each of us to partake of the living waters by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior. Like the Samaritan woman, we too can have this precious opportunity. We may feel undeserving or inadequate, but the Savior knows who we truly are. Also like her, we must be willing to change our lives and except Christ’s admonitions with humility. We can discover His authenticity through scripture study and personal prayer, knowing for ourselves that He is indeed the Messiah! This is my prayer for each of you. Whoever you are reading this.
May God Bless and Keep you. And may you drink of his eternal truths this day.
Patty  The story of the Samaritan woman in John 4

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this. What a beautiful story.