“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:29)
I’m sure that she was curious when she saw him. Perhaps even a little frightened. She was by herself. One like her, mocked and scorned by the community around her always felt alone. She could only come to this well at mid-day when there would be no one else around. She made sure of that. The stares, smirks, and ugly whispers of the other women were so painful. She had heard the talk.
“Can you believe what she’s doing,” they whispered. “She’s living with ‘that man’ and they aren’t even married!”
“Well, I heard that she’s been married FIVE times” one exclaimed to the others who bent near to hear the gossip.
“Sinful!” “Sinful!” “Shame on her!” That was their verdict. No trial. No defense witnesses. Just guilty! Their words echoed in her ears as she approached the well that day. The accusations and cruel gossip ricocheted off the inner walls of her head. That’s how gossip works. And if you’re on the wrong end of it, it can suck the life right out of you. And life, real life, was what she wanted. Would she ever find it?
What was he doing there? She could tell by his skin tone. He’s not one of us. He’s a Jew. For centuries “her people” and “his people” were at odds. Mistakes made centuries ago were still being judged. Animosity filled the air when Jews came through Samaria. There was a “deep in the gut” hatred. Name calling. Nasty stuff! And, as if she didn’t have enough to deal with! Now, this man. A Jew! She expected more derision. Under her breath she’d sigh. “Dear Jehovah, will it ever stop?”
But he surprised her. He asked her for a drink of water from her well, the well dug by the patriarch, Jacob. I don’t think that Jesus was really that thirsty for water. What he thirsted for, longed for, was a conversation. He thirsted, longed for just the chance to give life to one who was lifeless. What was it that he would say to his disciples? “I have food to eat that you do not know about. My food is to do the will of him who sent me to accomplish his work”.
That’s what the man of grace does. He gives life to the lifeless, joy to the joyless, and hope to the hopeless. He provides healing to the gaping wounds that have remained open for generations. He gives life to the broken-hearted. And she, she needed to know him! And so, he spoke.
“If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water. Folks that drink from your well will always come back thirsty again. But the water from my well satisfies eternal thirst. You won’t be thirsty again.”
And to the one who was lifeless, joyless, and hopeless his words were heaven sent. “Please, sir,” she said, “give me this water!
“Go,” he said. “Go and get your husband and bring him back with you.”
Jesus knows her story. The man from heaven, God incarnate, sees everyone fully; you, me, the Samaritan woman. He knows our stories; all of them, from page one to page now. Jesus knows that this woman been married five times and now lives with one who is not her husband. But he’s not concerned with yesterday’s story line. To the one who will come to him, to drink from his well-spring of grace, the past is just that – the past. Jesus is in the full restoration business. He wants her life fully restored. He wants her husband’s life fully restored. He wants their life together fully restored. He wants your life fully restored. And he wants my life fully restored. You and I can have this living water, purified by the savior’s grace. The grace that fully restores. With Jesus, it’s all about grace!
“I can now see that you are a prophet,” she confesses. “But you and I worship differently. One day, when Messiah comes, he will speak truth and reveal all things.”
“Woman, I who speak to you am he.”
And in his revelation her jaw drops. The jug she’s carrying drops. Her past record drops; forgotten, forgiven. And she must tell them, the whole village. The village that shunned her, mocked her, dismissed her, considered her trash for the heap. In her new voice she would share him. In her joy and her exuberance, she would share Jesus with them.
“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
Many Samaritans in that village of Sychar came to believe simply because of what she told them. That was good enough. “The man of grace cares about me. I can have life, in full, by drinking from his fountain. You can too!” Many others went to the well to see this Messiah for themselves. To take his offer. They wanted this life-giving water he offered for free. They asked him to stay with them, in their town, if for just a few days. He did. Unheard of! A Jew staying with Samaritans! But you’d be surprised what barriers can come down when grace is freely extended. You’d be surprised how life can be restored. Unmerited and undeserved grace. With Jesus it’s free for the asking. With Jesus, it’s all about grace!