Sin is ugly.
Rarely does sin have only one consequence. More often, sin has a web of consequences.
In John 4, we can see a few of those consequences playing out in the life of the Samaritan woman. First, the Samaritan woman came to draw water at the sixth hour, that is, about noon (v6-7). Why would anyone come to draw water at noon? The context seems to point to the fact that no one else was there during that time, except for Jesus. It’s speculated that the Samaritan woman came to the well at this time intentionally. She wasn’t coming to the well because she knew Jesus would be there, but likely to avoid shame she would feel in the presence of other people.
There’s one consequence of sin—shame. Perhaps the shame she already feels is what led her to the well—all alone—at this hour. Sin also tends to separate us from other people. Whether we withdraw from community, or the community withdraws from us, sin can be found at the heart of this division. Can you imagine her surprise when Jesus, a Jew, spoke to her? I wonder if, as she approached the well and saw Him there, she thought, “Oh good, it’s only a Jew. He won’t speak to me, because Jews don’t associate with dirty Samaritans. And he doesn’t know who I am, nor does he know my reputation.”
To further illustrate this, as soon as Jesus speaks to her, her first response is “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (v9). Could this be her way of trying to dodge any conversation with Jesus? There’s another consequence of sin—fear, dodging people (further isolation). We can see the woman doing this again in verse 17, when Jesus tells her to go and get her husband. She replies “I have no husband.” Of course, Jesus knows everything, which He makes abundantly clear in the next verse (see v18).
Maybe she is still trying to hide who she is, another consequence of her sin. So, what does Jesus do? Does He, in the name of “love” not draw attention to her sin? No. He actually tells her, explicitly, her sin. “You have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband” (v18.)
What in the world is Jesus doing?? Doesn’t He know that you shouldn’t talk about someone’s sin like that? That’s no way to win converts, Jesus! You’ll only push her away!
In speaking of her sin, Jesus is not pushing her away or even adding any shame, but bringing the hidden shame to light. After speaking candidly about her sin and who she was, Jesus revealed Himself to her as the Messiah. The Messiah, the Christ, the anointed one, was sent to take away the sins of the world. In order for the Gospel of God to be good news, it must have power over sin. Jesus didn’t come to make us feel better about ourselves, but to save us—by His sacrifice—from our sin. He took my sin, my shame, and my punishment. By believing and trusting in Him, I am made right with God.
Don’t allow sin, yours, or someone else’s, to drive out the Gospel. God’s purpose is exactly the opposite—the Gospel drives out sin and shame!
In the middle of the day, all alone in sin and shame, the living water came crashing into the life and heart of the Samaritan woman. Her sin did not push Jesus away from her. The Samaritan woman, dead in sin, was a perfect candidate for the Gospel—and so are you. Praise to His glorious grace!