by Julie Bruce
The story about the Woman at the Well is one of my favorites. Imagine with me for a moment….
It’s in the middle of the day…the hottest part of the day…and a lone woman lifts a clay jar and sets it on her shoulder and heads for the well to draw water. The time of day is important because usually the women came in the early morning, when it was cooler. Also, all the women in a village would go to the well together; laughing, telling stories, catching up with each other, gaining advice and wisdom from older women. But not this woman. She was the outcast in the village and she avoided the other women. Perhaps they turned their nose up at her or maybe they called her names. Her life was different than theirs and she didn’t fit in. But her life is about to change!
Not too far off a group of men were on their way to Galilee and their leader says, “I must go through Samaria.” The twelve men with him all suddenly stop and look at each other. “Master, through Samaria? Are you sure?”
You see, the Jews had nothing to do with the Samaritans. Long-standing religious differences created racial divides to the degree that the Jews would consider themselves unclean if they associated with a Samaritan. The disciples could not understand why Jesus wanted to go through Samaria. But look again at the verse in John 4:4. It wasn’t that it was a quicker route or one easier to travel. He had to go. Why? Because he had a divine appointment with the outcast woman on her way to the well to draw water and he was going to give her living water that never runs dry.
Is your life feeling a little dry? Thirsty? Maybe your life is being talked about to the degree that you want to avoid other people. For just a few moments, can I take your hand and lead you to the well that never runs dry?
Maybe you have already given your life to Christ, but you’re still feeling dry and thirsty. If so, can you honestly say you love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all our mind (Luke 10:27)? The Bible also says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34). When we treasure something (or someone), we spend time with it, we show it off, we talk about it, we post pictures on Facebook, we tweet about it, our face lights up when the person walks in the room. How much time are you spending with God? Just enough to grant you fire insurance to save you from the pit of hell? Where are your priorities? What do you spend the majority of your time doing? This will give you a good indication of where your treasure and your heart is. If you are already a Christian, and still feeling dry then perhaps you need to come back to the well and recommit your life to Christ and begin growing an intimate relationship with Him.
If you have not ever had that moment of discovering Christ’s love for you, then let’s look back at the woman at the well and see the unfailing love of Christ.
As the woman approaches the well, Jesus had already sent his disciples into town to buy food and he says to the woman, “Give Me a drink.” Remember the animosity between Jews and Samaritans? His request must have startled her and she replied, “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” In his human body, Jesus probably was thirsty after walking from Judea to Samaria. However, his reply was “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.”
Can you see the confusion on her face? She looked at his hands, on the ground, the ledge of the well and said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket and the well is deep. So where do you get this ‘living water’?
Am I the only one that notices she doesn’t get hung up on the idea of “living water” and she is only concerned that he doesn’t have a bucket? Regardless, Jesus used the reason she had come to the well to draw her towards belief in Him. In verse 13-14, Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”
She still doesn’t get it. In her mind she must have thought, “Wow…if I never get thirsty again, I will never have to come to this well again and lug this heavy pot of water back home. I will never have to come here in the heat of the day to avoid the other women.” Listen to her reply in verse 15. “Sir, give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water.”
Jesus then goes to the deepest shame in her life. He says to her: “Go call your husband, and come back here.”
“I don’t have a husband,” she answered.
“You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus said. “For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
So here is a man, a Jew, whom she never met before and he knows about her past husbands and that she is living with a man to whom she is not married. Isn’t this the reason she came to the well in the heat of the day? To avoid these accusations? The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened to the five husbands, but maybe after be married five times she felt like, “What’s the point? I’ll just live with a man.” In our world today, there isn’t much thought given to men and women living together outside of marriage, but in Bible times, it was not acceptable.
So again, imagine her astonishment and her hurt that her messy life is so well known that a stranger just stopping at the well for a drink of water knows all her business. She tries to change the subject and surmises that he must be a prophet to know so much about her. She says: “Sir, I see that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
How often are we like this woman and want to change the conversation when our faults are being sat out for display? Jesus addresses this religious debate but also uses it to get to the point. Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
She must have still been confused or else just didn’t like his answer because she answered him saying, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”
He gets to the whole reason he was here….to introduce her to himself. He says, “I am He, the One speaking to you.”
Her response was to drop her water pot and run back to the village and say, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?” As a result the entire town came to meet Jesus…and because of her story, this unnamed woman is still brining people to Jesus today.
You see, Jesus cared for this one Samaritan woman enough to go to the “taboo” Samaria and meet her at the well. He introduced her to himself so that she could, would, and does have living water which is eternal life that we have once we place our faith and trust in Him. Where can Jesus meet you at today so He can offer you living water, and will you accept?
Yes, this is one of my favorite stories in all the Bible…because even knowing ALL the sins of this woman, Jesus still sought her out…and even knowing all my sins he sought me out. He still went to the cross. He still spent three days in a borrowed tomb. He still rose from the grave. He still conquered death, sin, and the grave. And he loved the woman at the well enough that he would have done it even if she had been the only sinner on earth. Just as he would have if I were the only sinner on earth. And just as he would have if you were the only sinner on earth. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord…is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” My sweet friend, the good news is that you (no matter your sins) are included in that word “all.”
Come to the well. Jesus is waiting for you. Are you ready to drink from His living water? If so, the prayer below is guide. There are no magic words to use just three basic steps:
- Admit that you are sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” None of us are exempt. None of us could ever live a perfect life or do anything to “earn” our way into heaven and eternal life. The good news is that Jesus has already done the work for us through his life, death, and resurrection. The only thing we have to do is…
- Believe. We must believe that Jesus is the sinless, only son of God who was born of a virgin and as such, he is both fully 100% God and 100% man. As a man he was tempted just as you and I are, but he never sinned. Because he was sinless he was the sacrifice that shed His blood in our place when he was beaten and nailed to a cross. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Wages…its what we earn. Our sins have earned us death. But, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) He willingly laid down His life in our place, taking our wages upon Himself, so that we could have eternal life….even knowing all our sins. All you have to do to accept his free (unearned, unmerited) gift is to reach out and take it by….
- Confessing. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession is simply acknowledging what God already knows to be true.
If you are ready, you can pray this prayer, or one similar on your own.
Lord, I admit that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that you are the only son of God who came to earth as both God and man, lived a sinless life and offered your life as payment for my sins and that you died, was buried, and rose on the 3rd day and are now seated on the throne in Heaven. Please forgive me of my sins and come into my life as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for meeting me and giving me living water that never runs dry. Thank you for loving me and showing all the things I have done and introducing yourself to me. Help me to grow in you and learn to serve you.
If you prayed that prayer, your next step is to find a local evangelical church to join and talk with the pastor about being baptized.