By Brooke Holt
“’But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called the Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” John 4:23-26
The woman at the well is a popular story in the Bible for good reason. Jesus brought not only a whole new way of life but also a new kingdom of God. That way and kingdom would look nothing like the people expected. This conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well epitomizes these truths. Even Jesus’ own disciples were completely perplexed when they returned from town and found Jesus speaking to a Samaritan woman!
Why was this such a scandal? First, Jews and Samaritans did not speak to one another. In fact, people just assumed that Jewish people would walk many extra miles simply to avoid walking through Samaritan territory. But not Jesus!
In this day, men and women did not speak. Yet, here we see Jesus, a holy Jewish man, who was willing to speak to a Samaritan woman – and not just any woman – a woman of ill repute. She was at the well alone at noontime for a reason! This woman was not welcome among the other ladies in town. But she was welcomed by Jesus!
Different ethnicities, different religions, and different genders – so many reasons that would divide this woman and Jesus. Yet Jesus walked right into her territory and initiated a relationship. He didn’t just speak to her of ordinary things but things of the Lord and things of the Spirit. In fact, this conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well is the longest recorded conversation between Jesus and anyone in the Gospel of John. It also marks the first time in John’s Gospel that Jesus revealed his Messianic identity to someone. She must have been someone special!
Throughout my many years of ministry, I often have heard people express doubts that Jesus would have anything to do with someone like them. You probably have heard the words, too: “If the Lord knew what I have done, he would not want anything to do with me!” I love responding to these people with the story of the woman at the well! Jesus knew everything about this woman; he knew everything that should divide them; and he still chose her. He chose to initiate a relationship with her, to reveal his identity to her, and to call her to worship him.
The same holds true for you and for those to whom you are called to take this radical message of Jesus. The Lord does know everything, he sees everything, and he still calls you (and them) and invites you into a relationship and a new way of life. This is the grace of God offered in Jesus Christ! May you experience his love and grace as radically as this woman at the well!
Who can you share this story with today? Or perhaps you need to hear it. Take some time to marvel at God’s abundant grace poured out for you today then tell others what he has done. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
The Resurrected Life: Making All Things New - The Bible promises that those who are in Christ are "new creatures." But how does that transformation take place? This unique Easter-season small group Bible study provides a space in which we can discover what it truly means to live a new life. As we listen, we'll learn how the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything - for us. Begin the journey to new life today!
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