Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 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 water.” “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 livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:9-13)
When we tell Jesus who He is, what He is able to do and whom He is able to do it with we are close to missing the river of eternal life.
Jesus places Himself in perceived need, for in doing so He allows someone else to reveal their actual ones. By being weak, He will show Himself strong. Tired as He was from the journey… can you relate? And in this moment of being weary, we will find wonder. Don’t ever think that the power of God is waiting to work when you are up to it. He’s waiting to work when you’re not.
Perplexed as to the unannounced and culturally inappropriate intrusion of Jesus, humanity responds with the limitations of our rules and the distancing history of our errors. You and I are different, the woman says. But that will not overcome the incarnation. For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest (Heb. 2:17).
Continuing a conversation for eternal purposes, despite the fact the other party sought apparently to conclude it, Jesus replies that ignorance of God’s gift was getting in the way of accepting it. The woman didn’t know who Jesus was. And that was damaging to her soul.
She continues – you don’t have what you need to help me. First, Jesus shouldn’t. Next, Jesus can’t.
Oh. He should. And can.
You’re not greater than man, she says. She’s wrecked her life with men but still views them as the answer. Father Jacob gave us the well, she says. Well then.
Ah, but I can give you the river, says Jesus. You won’t draw from. You’ll pour out. Jesus says, what if you didn’t come to the well, but became one? He said the same thing to His male disciples in their context – drop the nets. Fish for men’s souls. Go fishing with Jesus. Get water with Jesus. Get life from Jesus. Father Jacob? I know Father Jacob. And someone greater than him is here. Man digs into earth. I came from heaven. We don’t need to dig deeper into the dust. We need to look up, empty, to the divine.
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.”
Solve my problem.
Well, ok. But that isn’t the problem, is it?
Buckets and husbands don’t look related unless you are led by the Spirit.
“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.”
Turns out Jesus knows a little bit more than our initial conversation seemed to reveal.
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
We’ve moved from what are you doing here and who do you think you are all the way to you are a prophet because you operate in the supernatural. But more distance to a man – you are part of the wrong group that makes us fell less about ourselves due to our culture and geography. You are part of them. We’ve moved from why is Jesus paying attention to my life to I can’t be close to God because of what others say.
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time 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, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The Spirit is removing all the barriers between people and people and people and God. What you think of God – and others – isn’t accurate. It’s not the truth. And clearly, perhaps despite your best efforts to conceal it, I speak of truth.
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
I’m looking for a man. I haven’t found him yet. He won’t be a man I have to hide when asked about. He will be a man who is not a secret, but reveals them. I know I need truth. I know someone has it. I know that someone isn’t me, nor the men I’ve given myself to.
Well. What if instead of you giving yourself to a man, a man gave himself for you? What if instead of you removing your garments to find love, they cast lots for mine to show you are loved? What if men didn’t have to be your secret, but your secrets could be given to a man? What if the sin you are willing to lie about, I’m willing to die for?
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he”
I am the man you’ve been hoping for, deep in your heart.
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
She leaves her earthly purpose to speak of a heavenly one. This wasn’t about water anymore. This wasn’t about buckets or culture or men or women or who you are sleeping with. This was about life. It – no, a He – He was right here, right now, inviting me to change my life forever.
Jesus was tired from His journey. But love – love – meant He saw that she was tired from hers.
…Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
An immoral woman becomes an evangelist in a few minutes spent in the presence of Jesus from a single conversation about water supplies. We think we need so much. We just need Him to show up.
This is Jesus. He sat down for a drink, and stayed for days. He intruded. Then He let His time be intruded upon. And who doesn’t want to be intruded by forever?
A weekend with Jesus, and what do they say? Yes. He’s the One.
So many of us have spent years with Him. What does our town say?
Better a tired Jesus than a busy pastor. Better a tired Jesus than a busy you.
You know what you need in your life? Jesus to show up, just as He truly is, with you just as you truly are.
Streams of living water indeed.