In John 4 we read about Jesus encountering a Samaritan woman, a woman who had absolutely zero value in the eyes of the world. Not only because she was a woman, but also because she was a Samaritan, a race that the Jewish people considered to be a half-breed. The third strike against her is that she had also had five husbands and was currently living with a man to which she was not married (John 4:17-18).
When I look at this woman from a worldly perspective, I can’t help but wonder what could Jesus possibly want with her? Why would a Jewish rabbi willingly go against all cultural, social, and religious norms, risking his reputation, to strike up a conversation with a woman that scripture doesn’t even name?
I think the answer is really very simple: He’s Jesus.
At its core, this story is a perfect picture of the gospel.
Jesus knew this woman’s past. She herself tells the townspeople after leaving Jesus, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:29)
Yet despite her poor life choices, Jesus sees her and offers His living water, which is the gift of the Holy Spirit, along with forgiveness, redemption and a new life. These are the very same gifts He willingly offers us today.
Friends, the water of our world is shallow and we are all guilty of wasting too much of our lives wading in it. What that woman believed was a chance encounter at Jacob’s well turned into a life-altering experience for her. I love how John describes the end of the story:
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.” – John 4:39-42
The testimony of an outcast helped pave the way for the salvation of many. I challenge you to consider the power of your own testimony. How can you encourage someone else to step out of the shallow water of this world and into the living water of Jesus that provides eternal refreshment and strength to our souls?
As we prepare to gather as a church family on Sunday, July 2, listen to this songs and reflect on the truths found in John 4.