EXPLORING THE WORD
The Woman at the WellDenise M. Kohlmeyer
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"I have no husband," she replied honestly, looking away. Here was her shame fully exposed. Why bother to hide? She was already as low as she could go in her life. What did she have to lose? Everyone else had already rejected her, why not this stranger too?
"You are correct when you say you have no husband" He said. "The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
Her head jerked up and she stared at Him, stunned. How could He possibly know this about her? "Sir," she said, incredulously. "I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
Ah, Jerusalem, the holiest of cities, but definitely forbidden territory to her. Talk about shunning!
"Woman," He said, "believe Me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth."
"I know that Messiah is coming," she replied, her eyes lighting up. This conversation was getting exciting now! She knew something about this; she had heard about the Messiah, and His coming had given her some semblance — albeit small — of hope and comfort. She longed for the Messiah, even as a lowly Samaritan woman. "When He comes, He will explain everything to us." And, oh, what a day that will be! she thought.
Jesus looked intently at her. His eyes softened, His voice lowered, as if He had a secret to tell, "I, the One speaking to you — I am He."
For the third time in just a matter of minutes, she was stunned into silence. She tried to collect her thoughts, to let the reality of His words sink in. But she wasn't given the chance to reply to this astounding statement — even if she could have — for a dozen men, Jews too, chose that moment to appear, having come from town where they'd been scouring the market stalls for something to eat.
They approached the well and stood silently, taking in the incredible scene before them, their eyes darting from Jesus, who was still calmly sitting on the wall, to the Samaritan woman, whose hand still rested on her jug. An awkward silence ensued.
What in the world was their Master doing talking to this Samaritan, and a woman at that! They hadn't wanted to come to this region in the first place. They had wanted to take the normal way around it, but He had insisted. So they had followed. Just like they had everywhere else He had led them.
And He was glad that they had come just when they did, for His disciples needed to learn that they would have to go everywhere to take the Gospel to the lost, even into "contaminated" country.
As the disciples were trying to drink in the reality of the situation, suddenly, unannounced, the woman bolted back towards town, leaving her precious water jug. Still empty. She ran as fast as her long tunic would let her. Her heart beat wildly, her mind reeling with what she'd just heard. Could it be? Could it possibly be true that I had just been talking with the Messiah? she thought. Did I hear correctly? A man, a Jewish man, one who should hate me and hurl insults — and stones — at me, had just invited me — ME! — to drink of a living water that only He could supply. THE Messiah! The very One I've heard about. And He actually spoke to me! ME! A sinner!
And they came. By the droves! To see this "man" who had told the shunned woman all about her life. They wanted to hear it for themselves. Her testimony was too unbelievable. Besides, she was a sinner, and possibly crazy too!
But over two days' time, the townspeople were convinced for themselves, first by her testimony — and her dramatically-changed life — and then because of His own words, His life-giving words that welled up and spilled over to give them eternal life.
And they rejoiced that Jesus had come into their region, a region normally boycotted by the Jews! It meant the world to them. It meant Life for them!
Image Credit: Annibale Carracci; "The Samaritan Woman at the Well"; 1560-1609; Public Domain
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Jesus-Christ
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