From Judea to Galilee:
The Road through Samaria
John’s gospel recounts the journey that Jesus took as he traveled from Judea to Galilee. In this passage of scripture we are told that instead of travelling around Samaria, Jesus, needed go through Samaria. The Jews were not friendly with the Samaritans, not only were they not friendly, but had little to do with them. Lest we forget our Lord was a mortal man, human in every way as we are. Both God and man, the man Jesus became tired and sat down on Jacob’s well to rest. His disciples had gone into town to buy food and being about noon I’m certain Jesus was hot, tired and hungry. While he rested a certain Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well. Jesus seeing her there asked for a drink of water. She was astonished at his request for she said; “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” She was looking at his request from a purely human point of view but Jesus had another reason for making this request one that would impact her life and many others forever.
Jesus replied, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” By now she must have thought, living water, what is this he is talking about and what did he mean when he said, living water?
However Jesus is trying to show her that he is that living water and the only one who can fill the deep need in her life but then immediately she asks him a stirring question. “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water”? At first glance you may think she has completely misunderstood but if you look deeper you will see that she lived such a life of sin and shame that she can hardly believe that this man would be different from all the others. Perhaps he too only wanted something from her and by now maybe this was all her sin stained heart could conceive of but she was to discover that nothing could be farther from the truth. Perhaps her tone was one of sarcasm while in her heart she was wondering, who is this man and why is he so interested in me?
It’s so hard for a person whose life has been troubled and riddled with sin and pain to believe that there is a God who really cares. So often the people who need us the most go unnoticed. We may pass by them each day while we carry on our normal duties and never see the [shadow people] those among us who remain nameless and without hope. They often slip away into eternity unnoticed and unloved, but this day, Jesus walked through Samaria and a life was changed and not just one life, but a whole city. Now that’s evangelism for she left her water pot and ran into the city crying, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” Jesus laid bare her whole life, not to accuse her, but to show her that there is a God who cares and that He was speaking to her that day. She knew that one day the Messiah would come for she said to Jesus, “I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things” to which Jesus replied, “I that speak unto thee am he.” What a glorious refrain, for the everlasting God took time to speak to a woman who thought she had no worth. The joy that touched her soul that day must have caused the hosts of heaven to sing, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God.
Many people have asked this very question of Jesus not realizing that by the simple act of asking, God has already begun the work of grace in them. The agony in their souls is the longing, desperate cry waiting to be answered. She says, “The well is deep and you have nothing to draw with”, but what she was really saying was “My sins are many, can you see them? Can you help me, and can you draw deep enough to see I’m dying inside”?
Our Lord did see and he did draw deep enough. His love is always stronger than the chains that hold us if we will only allow him to draw us out of darkness and into his marvelous light. There are millions today who would ask us this very question when we knock on their doors or preach in the streets or under the tents. Can you see me, sick with sin, addicted, lost and dying? Can you draw deep enough because I don’t understand how to come? This is the call, to which, as ministers and all believers, we must answer. God give us the grace and the love to see, to hear, and to draw from those who are deep wells of suffering, their pain, and by seeing those among us who are often standing in the shadows help us to sit down on the well and talk for a while.