Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Samaritan Woman

I have been doing a study in the gospel of John this summer, and am currently in chapter 4. Chapter 4 is about the Samaritan woman, a woman who is not only an outcast because she is a Samaritan, but also because she is a sinner in the eyes of her people. But yet, God had a plan and a design for her, and it was through her that Jesus was able to get to the hearts of many. As I read the scriptures about her conversation with Jesus, a few things stuck out at me. The first is found in verse 4.
“But He {Jesus} needed to go through Samaria.” John 4:4.
When Jesus left Judea He headed towards Galilee. The Jews of that day would have avoided Samaria because they were outcasts, they were Gentiles mixed with Jews and were not considered part of the Jewish family. But Jesus “needed” to go. He wanted to go, He knew that the woman was going to be there, and He was determined to have her. She had a divine appointment with Jesus and didn’t even know it.
Do we understand that Jesus had a determination to meet us as well? Do we realize that Jesus made a point to seek us out and to draw us to Him? Romans 8:29 tells us that “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren.” You had a date with Jesus before you were even aware of it. This woman was on her way to the well, and Jesus was on His way to her. We travel so many different roads to become saved, but each road was mapped out before us, and Jesus was walking towards us the whole way.
The next thing that stuck out at me after Jesus tells her about the living water in verses 9-14, is her response to Him. Jesus has drawn her into conversation, He has peeked her curiosity and she is hooked. But she still does not completely understand what this “living water” is, but knows that her life needs to change, and He may be the one to help her.
“Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” John 4:15
She wanted something more to her life than what she was currently experiencing. She was searching for love, for acceptance, for hope and for healing, she just didn’t know where to find it, and so she filled her days with superficial love, hoping to fill the void in her heart. The well that she was drawing out of made her thirst for more, the well that she was drawing out of only made her keep coming back. She also says that she no longer wanted to come to this particular well to draw from it. She wanted to change. Many commentators write that the reason she came to the well at noon was because she was a woman scorned by the Samaritans. She was an outcast with her people and the only time she could come to the well without shame was at noon time when no one else was there.
She wanted to stop living her life the way she was living, she wanted more than what was being offered to her through superficial love, she wanted to not feel shame any longer. So the words that Jesus spoke to her gave her hope that there was a chance, there was a possibility that she could be someone different, that she could have value and feel the emptiness no more. But something stopped her; perhaps her fear of what she might have to do to change caused her to question the Lord further. But it was His words that wooed her and drew her closer to Him.
“Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband’, for you have had five husbands and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”John 4:16-18
Right to the heart, Jesus wasted no time to reveal to her the secrets of her heart. He did not come to this well to meet her and condemn her for her sinful ways, but to show her a love that would surpass all other loves. He did not come to tell her she had to change or else, He came to show her that she could change and have a love that would last an eternity. Jesus reveals to her that He is the God who sees, and despite all her sins and failures, He loves her and wants to be a part of her life.
How many times does the Lord look at our hearts and show us that it does not matter who we are now, because He sees in us the end and to Him there is no greater beauty. He looks at us the same way He looked at this woman, not with condemnation but with love and admiration. Because of His words to her, and the conversation that would follow, this one woman would believe in Him and bring the whole town to Him.
It is through her simple faith in Jesus Christ that many of the town would believe that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah, and through her testimony a foundation would be laid that the apostles would then build upon in the book of Acts. It only takes simple faith to move the hearts of others; Jesus proves that He is able to do the sowing if we are willing to do the reaping.
It also struck me that this woman was the first evangelist mentioned in the gospel of John. A woman, who in those days would have been considered less valuable than the prize cow, would be the first one to bring others to Christ. She had faith in Jesus, and the lesson to be learned from all this is that it only takes a little faith to reap a harvest of many. It does not matter who you are, what you have done, or where you live, it only matters that we have faith in Who He is and have the faith to testify of Him to the world. Through the faith of one woman, many believed. Imagine what an impact we could make if we to only believed. Simple faith moved a whole city; imagine what our simple faith could move. Amen and Amen.