I love this one. In John 4:5-42 Jesus is resting at Jacob’s well when a woman of Samaria comes to draw water. He immediately begins a conversation by asking her for a drink; rather shocking with you consider that she was a Samaritan, a member of a mongrel race considered unclean by Jews, and that she was a woman, a second class citizen in a male dominated society. Jewish men did not normally strike up conversations with women.
She acknowledges this prejudice by asking why He’s even talking to her. His response is amazing on so many levels. In essence He says, if you knew who you were talking to, you’d “ask of him and he would have given you living water.” He goes on to explain this living water was “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” He was declaring that He was the source of everlasting life, and here’s the kicker, He was declaring it to a fallen Samaritan women.
A few verses down we realize just how fallen. She’s had five husbands and the man she’s currently living with wasn’t even her husband. That’s probably why she came to the well around the 6th hour or noon, in the heat of the day, when no one else would be there, because she was probably even an outcast among her own people. But Jesus knew all this, and revealed His knowledge to her. And she was amazed. And so am I because even with this prior knowledge He doesn’t say, “boy, you really blew it. You’ve really made a mess of your life.” Rather He said, “if you’d asked, I’d have given.”
And that’s just what he says to us. No matter how much we’ve messed up our life, no matter how low on society’s totem poll we are, no matter how insignificant we feel, no matter how “unclean” our lives have become, God loves us, and says, “if you ask I will give you eternal life.” Wow!
Sometimes I don’t understand why God bothers with us. We are so flawed, so weak, so much like the “dog who returns to his own vomit” yet He’s there, saying to each of us, “ask me, and I’ll give you because I love you, no matter who you are or what you’ve done.”
The end of the story is also wonderful. Jesus uses this woman, this fallen unclean Samaritan, to go and tell her community about Him and lead others to Him, thus showing there is a place for even the lowliest in God’s kingdom and in His plan.
Oh what a God we serve! What a loving, tender, good God! And it’s His very goodness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4b).
Until next week,