Friday, June 28, 2013

THE MAN AT THE WELL

The right relationship is important.  The Samaritan woman of John 4 knows this all too "well". This woman had gone through five husbands and was working on number six when she met Jesus.  No, Jesus did not marry her or anybody else.  However, by the time Jesus patiently worked through all that had to be worked through to reach her, she and and a whole town believed Jesus to be "the Savior of the world" (John 4:42). 

The woman's first falter was allowing cultural stereotypes and traditions (the non-association of Jews and Samaritans, especially Jewish male with Samaritan female) to get in the way of helping a fellow human being with a simple need (receiving some water for being tired).  John 4:9 says, 

  • "'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?'"

In the next instance I am sure I would have behaved and said the same kind of things she did that day.  Not counting the Lord's words - "Will you give me a drink?" - I would have associated Jesus' words -

  • "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." (John 4:10) 
- with the Psalmist, learned, noble, or those that speak the symbolic.  The "Jesus Speak" was not common speech.  He talked a lot about Himself in the third person and used descriptions of people, places, and things that made you raise an eyebrow or two.  Place yourself in her shoes.  However, to ponder the implication(s) of her simply giving Jesus the water when He asked is staggering.  Scripture says, "he would have given you living water."

As I read this encounter I noticed how the Samaritan woman kept submitting different kinds of "hurdles" or obstacles for herself or for Jesus to overcome.  In the first transaction the woman brings up cultural stigmas as a barrier.  In the second communication she brings up physical limitations, past history and authority issues all in one swoop.  Sounds like a tactic I am familiar with - "but what about...".  Here are her questions - 

  • " 'Sir, the woman said, 'you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.  Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?' " (John 4:11-12)

This is not only doubt, but it is not understanding with spiritual eyes/ears.  I would have been operating in the natural too, if I was there in that moment.  She had not acquired those spiritual eyes and ears yet.  Christ had not yet taken her sins upon Himself and paid the price for them.  Then Jesus speaks more of His spiritual speech to the Samaritan woman and of course it goes flying over her head as it would have mine if I were there.

  • "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again [I can see Jesus pointing at the well], but whoever drinks the water I give him [now Jesus points at Himself] will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14)

The woman still interprets the water that Jesus has for her as H2O.  Read her reply.

  • "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.' " (John 4:15)

Jesus proceeds to not only speak spiritually but perform a spiritual act by reading her mail (telling her about her past and present). This spiritual act by Jesus seemed to put worship on the brain of the Samaritan woman.  Immediately she noticed Jesus as a Prophet and inquired about worship - in particular the place of worship (John 4:19-20).

  • "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." (John 4:19-20) 
Jesus responded by saying,

  • "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. ....... Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:21-24)

Jesus explained where and when worship is accepted by God - anywhere and anytime.  The hill on which they were standing and Jerusalem to which both referred to were now out of the exclusive "worship picture" according to Jesus.  Now, whenever the Spirit leads and wherever He pricks your heart to worship - Just Do It (sound familiar).  Then I got the sense that Jesus' explanation impressed the woman and a messianic questionable thought (could he be the Messiah?) became a comment that was enough to bring the conversation to it's climax.  The Samaritan woman said,

     " 'I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us.' "

     "Then Jesus declared, 'I who speak to you am he.' " (John 4:25-26)

What amazing patience it took on the Lord's part to reveal these truths.  My "eyes" and "ears" would have been just as much, if not more, spiritually blind and deft.  Thank God, I believe the Lord would have been that gracious too.

It is all about relationship!  The Lord's salvation is more than enough to prompt me ("bubble up or well-up my waters") to share my testimony or salvation story with anyone.  But God did not and doesn't stop there, He has kept on blessing me.  This gives me the desire to thank and praise my Lord wherever I am and at any time.  It should do the same for all Christians too.

The thing is, as we keep abiding in Him, His resources are available to us and our "fruit" should display the "living water" within us and the kind of connectivity we have with The Vine (John 15:7-8).

"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:38)

As Christians allow those "streams of living water" to "flow from within" to those that need it, maybe whole towns like the Samaritan woman's town can become followers of The Man at the Well.