A woman from Samaria came to draw water.
So here sits Jesus, resting near a well, while his disciples go to get lunch… but Jesus is waiting for more than food. Enters a woman from Samaria, stage left. She’s come to draw some water, but Jesus knows the Father sent her and there’s more than water she needs.
And so begins their spirit dance:
And Jesus says to her, “Give me a drink.”
Woah… wait. Not only is he talking to a woman, but he’s talking to a Samaritan as well?! Unheard of. Crazy. Who is this guy?!
“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
Nonplussed by her reaction, Jesus answers,
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
Intrigued and brazen (or maybe just put at ease) she questions – even argues- his reply,
“Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”
But Jesus is never off-put by genuine questions. And he’s never in a hurry. So he settles back to spend some time:
“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.”
Well, now this is too good to be true… and she’s all in:
“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
But * take note * Jesus doesn’t shout, “Glory, Hallelujah. Let’s sign her up.” Instead, he sits patiently … waiting, probing, calling to a thirsty heart.
“Go, call your husband and come back.”
The woman doesn’t have a husband, and Jesus knows it. Yet these aren’t wasted words, they are his plea, “Please trust me with your truth.”
And she does, sort of … At least she doesn’t lie.
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
Ouch. Truth can hurt. But Jesus is not picking up stones to throw, and he’s not walking away. (I wonder how many men have?) Instead, he affirms her attempt at honesty, as he reveals more of the truth and nothing but her sad, messy truth. It’s not pretty.
…the bloodied cross never is.
Yet like a trained actress smoothing over fumbled lines, this woman of the well slides past her shame without skipping a beat:
“Sir, 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.”
Confronted – the woman starts talking religion;
Confident – the master starts talking relationship.
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 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.”
Jesus is casting pearls her way. Pearls to a woman whose name we never know. Pearls to a woman whom he obvious doesn’t consider a Samaritan swine. Surely she must wonder afresh, “Who is this guy? He’s told me everything I’ve ever done. I am everything he should walk away from. I am everything he should abhor, and yet he stays, he listens. He answers … ”
“I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”
Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
And here the conversation ends.
Here, the disciples in their impeccable “smooth move” timing, barge in on the scene (no doubt with distaste written on their faces), completely ruin the moment, and the woman from Samaria slips away, still wondering:
“…Could this be the Messiah?”
This woman comes to draw water.
but in truth… God is drawing her.
She spends quality one on one time with God, and yet somehow she leaves unsure, still wondering. How can that be?
… Yet isn’t that’s exactly the glory of this story:
Jesus waits for us at the well.
He sows Truth to till our fallow ground.
He looks for reaching hearts behind the Hard, and rushes in with love
but Jesus is never in a rush.
There was no altar call this day. No, turn or burn, no name it to claim it. There was not even a simple, “Come follow me.” This was Jesus, Master Farmer, digging deep with holy Truth and planting precious seeds that were never meant to sprout over night.
Apparently this woman isn’t ready for dropping all to follow him…Yet.
Apparently, that’s okay… ’cause Jesus let her go.
And apparently Seeds of Truth, sprinkled with living water are enough to begin changing lives …
“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:39-42)
When I look back on my story, Jesus didn’t rush with me either.
Like a wise farmer he tilled and planted, watered and waited.
He’s not put off by questions or festering sores, angry doubt or shaking fists.
He brings Truth, but he brings it gently. Because, in the business of broken hearts
Jesus is never in a rush.
He shows us our bloodied cross, but He doesn’t leave us naked and alone.
He cleans out our wishing wells
… and fills them with living water.
(And I would bet my bottom dollar of all the Truth I know, that this woman of Samaria was on Jesus list to visit after He rose… betcha, betcha, betcha.)
Jesus, sometimes I forget. Forget your patience. Forget your purpose-filled care. Keep showing me deeper waters. My well so often needs cleaning out and digging deeper to keep it running true. Help me go deeper but Lord, please remind me, never to be in a rush with others. There’s no need. They don’t need a quick fix of water that doesn’t matter. They need you… living water… and you’re never in a rush.