Me and the Woman at the Well
For as long as I can remember I have been mesmerized by the stories of the Bible. I have relished in the tales of David versus Goliath, Daniel and the lion's den, Jonah and the whale, etc. However, my favorites were always that of the women. I relished in the love story of Ruth and the heriocs of Esther. I even fancied myself one of them. I realized as I grew up that these stories were in fact of real people. But that made their adventures and sacrifices even more meaningful.
So I'm sure you can imagine my dismay when I realized that I could relate the most to the woman at the well. No, I haven't been married five times and I'm not in a sinful relationship. But for some reason her story just resonates with me. Maybe it's becasue I'm divorced. Maybe it's becasue I forcus more on my flaws than my strengths. Isn't that sometimes just human nature? I have made mistakes in my life and sometimes the devil tries to use those mistakes to hold me down. Guilt is a powerful tool in the wrong hands. It can eat us up if we're not careful.
The Samaritan woman's story also holds a very dear place in my heart. A few years ago I had gone to a church camp meeting where I was given the gift of the Holy Spirit and also delivered from near constant migraines (that had plagued me for over a decade) and a subsequent dependacy on perscription pain meds. My life irrevocably changed overnight. I had never in my life felt so much peace and connection to God. Having the Holy Spirit made me see God (literally, but another story for another time) up close. Until this point when I prayed I had always tried to find Him and imagined Him on His thrown in Heaven. But since then when I pray I no longer have to look to Heaven because He's in me. That feeling, in the beginning, was so surreal on a monumental level. It still is.
John 4 was the first chapter in the bible that I opened to when I returned home from camp. The moment when I began to read and the overwhelming intimacy I felt with God was something I never could have dreamed I'd have. I finally understood why so many others actually enjoyed reading the Bible. Before this time, if I'm being honest, most of the time I read it out duty or when I needed encouragement. Now it was everything. It felt a part of me.
Opening to this chapter about this woman was not an accident. I believe with everything in me that God had a purpose. He used my time at camp to show me that I was never the girl no father wanted, that I have always been worhty of His love, that my life was no accident, that I was created for a purpose, and that I was saved by His grace.
In showing me the woman at the well, I believe that He was bringing His point home. This woman had made a lot of mistakes. She was still sinning. Yet He deemed her worthy of His love. He freely gave her grace. In fact the Bible is repleat with stories of men and women who were utter failures at times, but God used them dispite of and/or becasue of their flaws.
Over time the woman at the well has become a symbol of God's grace, mercy, and love to me. So I am truly okay with she and I being kindred spirits. Esther and Ruth are still women I strive to be more like, but Jesus doesn't love me any less on my 'John 4' days. And what a comfort that is.
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman
4 Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 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.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 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. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”