March 7, 2023
Have you ever felt as though you were unloved, rejected, and that your presence was unwanted? Have you ever felt alone and as though you were merely existing and insignificant?
In the Gospel of John chapter 4, we read about a lonely woman who was an outcast in her time. Jesus and His disciples had been making their way from Judea to Galilee and stopped in a city called Samaria. Now, Jews typically went through great lengths to avoid the easier route through Samaria and would instead travel off the coast or through the mountains. The reason being that these two groups held deeply rooted hatred and tension towards one another.
During the captivity of the Israelites by the Assyrians, those left behind intermarried and their offspring became known as the Samaritans. Consequently, Samaritans were not accepted as Jews and the Jews did not want to have any dealings with them. Despite these racial and social barriers, Jesus chose to travel through Samaria for the sake of one person – a seemingly insignificant woman by a well.
When Jesus arrived in Samaria, He wearily sat down to rest beside the Well, weary after their long journey. At about the 6th hour (high noon), a woman came to draw water and Jesus made a simple request for a drink of the water. It was uncommon for a woman to draw water at this time of day as it was the hottest part of the day. Normally, this task would be completed in the morning or in the evening when temperatures were much cooler.
When the woman had realized Jesus was asking her for water, she questioned, defensively asking “How can you, being a Jew ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Instead of embracing Jesus in His pursuit; the walls went up. To this day, conversations, solutions excluding Christ are often welcomed; yet when we are offered living water that only comes from Jesus, walls go up. Unshaken by her demeanor, Jesus responded by letting her know that “whoever drinks this water will thirst again,” but what He has to offer is living water. If only she drank it, she would be satisfied and never thirst again. It would become “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
As the story progresses, we come to learn that this woman was living in sin and had been drinking from a well of relationships. In her shame, she went to draw water at a time when no other women would be around. The choices that this woman made resulted in rejection and separated her from those around her. This is what sin does; it builds walls that separates you from friends, family, and most importantly, it separates you from God.
This story illustrates one who thirsts and longs for something to quench the deepest desires within their souls and cover their shame. Time has proven that many have attempted to satisfy this thirst through many different ways, but it is never and will never be enough. Only Jesus can quench this thirst. Jesus knew everything about the Samaritan woman and everything that she had done, yet He was full of grace. And just as this one Samaritan woman mattered to God, you matter to God as well. “For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made!” (Psalm 139: 13-14).