"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Joy found at the well

The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman.
How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks
you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living

"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the
well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our
father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his
sons and his flocks and herds?"

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks
this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will
never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life."

The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this
water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

"I have no
husband," she replied.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say
you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you
now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.

~ John
4:9-19 ~

I have been studying the accounting of the woman at the well. I find her very fascinating, but more so, I find Jesus' response in the above passage very telling of his heart and his purpose.

Jesus has introduced the two main components of true salvation in this one short section of scripture, but I think we tend to gloss over, or even miss, the importance of what Jesus did here.

He has been speaking with the Samaritan woman and has told her of the Living Water that is available to her. He clearly tells her that only he is the source of this water and that with it she will have eternal life.

Like any of us, the Samaritan woman jumps at the opportunity to have this Living Water. She wants the promises of what it will give her, but she doesn't see what is required of her, she doesn't see what it will mean.

She only thinks of the moment, of securing for herself the need to never thirst again.

Jesus will require more of her.

In verse 16 he requires her to acknowledge before him the truth of her life. She asks for the Living Water, but before it is granted to her, Jesus requires of her that she bring her transgressions, her sins and darkest parts, into the light. Into his presence.

Jesus knows there is no place in her heart for Living Water when she is still holding on to the things of this world that afford her what she has always known.  This is the thing that has leaped out and grabbed me by the hand. Right here is where Jesus teaches us about repentance. He obviously wanted to give her eternal life. He knew that she would further his kingdom and that she would bring to him many people seeking his salvation. But he also wanted her to repent of the life that she was living.

She eagerly grasped for the living water, not even thinking about laying her life at his feet first.

How often do we do this same thing? We want the redemption and mercy that Jesus offers, but we don't want to look too closely at all the things that we need to give up or change. We look eagerly to the salvation, but turn our eyes away from the call to repent. We don't want to pull out all the ugliness inside of us and expose it to the Light. We don't want to go through the struggle of letting it go and allowing ourselves to be filled with that Living Water. Even when we know that where we are and where we are going are places we have no business being, we don't want to acknowledge it or turn from it.

Jesus doesn't sugarcoat the woman's sins.

He doesn't couch it in comfortable terms.

He doesn't try to find the most politically correct or gentle and non-confrontational way of bringing up her sins.
In his love he lays it out there in black and white. He asks her, point blank, about her sin. She has no choice but to acknowledge it.

In light of her reaction we should ask ourselves several questions

Do we turn back from complete obedience because we don't want to acknowledge those things to him?

Do we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking that if we don't acknowledge our sins Jesus will simply ignore them?

Are we willing to simply admit to Jesus that we are allowing things in our life to keep us from the relationship He desires to have with us?

It is at this point that I find the woman at the well to be unbelievely brave. When she admits her sins she doesn't justify them. She doesn't ask for pity. She simply admits.

I believe that Jesus found her to be brave as well. He rewarded her truthful admission, her trust in him, by confirming to her that he was the Messiah that she had been longing for.

Can you imagine that moment in her life?

Instant hope.
Welling Love.

In verses 28-29 we see her leave her water jar and run back to the town. At the moment she realized what had just happened, and who she was talking with, she was overwhelmed with the need to share Jesus with everyone she could find. She forgot everything else as she ran to tell her news.

Jesus offered her Living Water, called her to repentance and then affirmed to her that he was exactly who she was longing for. Her new life had just begun.

Her joy was such that she could do nothing but allow the need to share this amazing thing to direct her feet to where she knew she could testify to Jesus' power.

When was the last time we were at that level of joy in our relationship with Jesus?

When was the last time that we confessed that we need Jesus to continue to well up in us, that we have things in our lives that are holding us back from receiving all the mercy and forgiveness that he has for us?

When was the last time that we were so overwhelmed with joy for what Jesus has done for us, and for what he means to us, that we just couldn't hold back our need to profess him in our lives?

It doesn't matter if we have been walking with Christ our whole life or only a few weeks. For the sacrifice that he made and the gift that he gives us, we should purpose in our heart to continually seek his will, pray and repent of the things that will keep us from knowing the full measure of his grace and mercy, and then joyously and passionately proclaim his working in our lives.

In Acts 1:8 we are called to be Christ's witnesses. Witnesses testify to what they have seen with their own lives, what they have experienced personally, and what they know to be true. We have not been called to do the impossible. Like the woman at the well, we have only been called to testify to what we have seen and experienced Jesus doing in our own life.

How can we live our lives like the woman at the well?

Search your heart for the things that are keeping you from fully experiencing the joy of Christ's love. 

Repent of those things fully, humbly, and with complete honesty before Him. 

Joyously proclaim the amazing things that he has done and is doing in your life.

Then be amazed at what God does in the lives of the people that you tell your witness to.


Judi at THE FAITH GROUP said...

Amazing post. And it's so true. It's hard to accept the responsibility, but by doing so, our faith (and joy) grows.

Tara said...


Sun-Kissed Savages said...

This is so great. And, although I was brought up hearing "the story," and I've studied it as an adult, I never fully grasped it.

I'm struggling with grief right now, trying desperately to see the Big Picture, but I'm stuck in my temper tantrum, not wanting to let go of those that I love so dearly. I can see and feel the hurdles in my way, but my grasp on them doesn't loosen a bit.

Grief itself can be such a stumbling block, even to those of us who know better.

Oh, to have a Father that still holds us tightly even as we struggle and twist. How much easier it would all be if we simply did what was required and released it all. And then accept the abounding grace and love poured out.

I love your blog.

JottinMama said...

Girl, I feel like I just went to Bible Study :)

That was awesome - and I can't tell you how much I needed it and how much it spoke right to my heart. Really. I might even print it off so I can read over it the next few days. Whew!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Kate :)

Robin Norgren said...

I am reading this post and reminded again that we all are in some ways that woman at the well. You have touched on so many beautiful nuances of this account but first and foremost for me is Jesus' acceptance of her in the state she was in yet desiring to allow her to see so much more about herself. Thanks for the wonderful post.