The way was dusty, hot and arid. It was a long journey that demanded focus and caution. Not only was the climate hot but the people on the way were an audience that for the Jewish man were considered much more than taboo, unspeakable or uncomfortable. The way would push the envelope on what was considered culturally acceptable, but yet it is said that He must needs go through Samaria.
Not long in a city of Samaria, our Lord, showing his humanity, was wearied, and weakened from the walk through desert land. This walk was in heat, uncommon to most. The strength of the mid-day sun had shown itself to be an adversary to the journey. Here, In His wearied, hungry and thirsty condition our Lord demonstrates His constant, gracious, cross-cultural, transcending love and compassion for those who live daily in the greatest form of lack. But the lesson is not in the confrontation of this woman in lack but in her instant response to their meeting. She meets one who could supply, satisfy and strengthen her lack, her love and her life.
The purpose of the lesson is to review the encounter of Jesus and this Samaritan woman in John four so that we remember and respond to the love of Jesus in our life with the same intensity and joy of this woman.
Here at the well Jesus meets a woman who is much like the whole of man. She was hurting. She didn’t display a sign atop her forehead or a banner across her chest but her situation was sign enough.
We can all understand the hurt of this woman. She was first of all, socially ostracized. We can see this in her timing for drawing water, and, the well of her choosing may be some distance out of the city. It was not the custom of women in ancient times to draw water during the hottest part of the day. Reason would lead us to believe then that she was there, at the well, at this time because she knew no one else would be there. But why hide? Why try so desperately to cover yourself in spread of mid-day heat.
Could it be because secondly, she had situational conflict? This Samaritan woman while talking with Jesus reveals to us that her situation was bigger than a Jew talking with a Samaritan woman. It was bigger than a Rabbi talking with woman. She had a history that involved not one man, but five and her current man was not her husband. What’s the problem? She had an ache, crave, hanker, hunger, itch, lust, pine, yearn, and yen. Her thirst was like those who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened.
We relate all too well. We try to fill our voids, our lacks, our yearnings with every thing under the sun. The problem with that is that it is all vanity!
Jesus uses her physical thirst and efforts at the well to address a different kind of thirst. The idea of thirst was that it was the greatest kind of lack that a person could have, especially in a desert climate, but this thirst typified who this woman was. She had a void that was her frame work for living. She was living and reasoning and reacting based on a nature that was fuel by thirst. She had a lack, a longing that could not be filled by the way of the world.
Her trouble with understanding her condition was because she thirdly, was spiritually confused. The message from the lord was penetrating. It touched the very core of her being. Jesus was dealing with the void that had become her paradigm for living. He did this by offering her what He continues to offer men to this very hour, living water. He gave her the word of god. His message was revealing to her situation. His message was rebuking to her spirit. And his message was relevant to her soul.
The word impacted her life so greatly that she took the healing and became his herald. Additionally, we see the spiritual design of the God’s word taking root in her life. This before, socially ostracized, situational-ly conflicted, and spiritually confused woman has been changed. The word, by nature of its design has motivated this broken woman to becoming a bold warrior.
Watch her actions. Going into the place she once hid from, she carried one message, “come and see a man.” It was an illustration of the harvest principle at work before the eyes of the apostles. Jesus had sown into this woman’s life and it may be Phillip the evangelist who reaps from these efforts some time later. Notice the principle at work: number one; he sowed into the life of this Samaritan woman, and reaped a messenger to his cause. Number two; look at the glory of the harvest principle. One sows and another reaps. All of our efforts bring God glory!
So what’s our application? Sow the seed! Reap what has been sown! We do this by, cultivating relationships with any and everybody. We do this secondly by sowing goodness and relevant teaching in their lives. Finally we must take the joy of coming into confrontation with Jesus as motivation for telling those we used to hide from. Go tell the world about this man Jesus!