By Mike Kemper
Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Dyer
The shortest distance between Jerusalem and Galilee was to travel through Samaria. However, in order not to be defiled, many Jews preferred detouring, going the long way to avoid the Samaritans. By the time Jesus came this way there was a strong hatred between Jews and Samaritans. Evidently Jesus felt He must confront this hostility in taking this route.
At Jacob’s well, the disciples are away. Jesus meets “a woman of Sychar” and He asks her for a drink of water. A simple request, but the woman is completely surprised that a Jewish man would even speak to her, much less ask the favor of a drink of water.
There is a hint of sarcasm in her response. But, Jesus’ purpose was not to “win an argument.” He obviously wanted to “win this woman.”
When Jesus says, “if you knew the gift of God” again, He caught her curiosity, suggesting that He could give this gift that would be greater than plain water. The woman heard Jesus refer to water, but missed the part about “living water” in saying “you don’t even have a bucket.”
Her curiosity grows, yet still not comprehending. With the reference to “Jacob” perhaps she is trying to elevate the importance of the Samaritans in the eyes of the Jews. She is still missing the point.
Jesus, staying focused, notes that those who drink of the water from the well will get thirsty again. But, those “who drink from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again.” Her response in asking for this water was purely selfish.
Often in sharing a gospel witness with the desire to win others to faith in Jesus, we are hesitant to be confrontational, not wanting to offend. But we see here that Jesus doesn’t avoid confrontation.
Moving from small talk to personal, He says, “Go call your husband, and come here.” The sinful woman is engaged, yet she still tries to “straddle the fence,” stating quickly that “I have no husband.” Her statement was technically true. Jesus knew He could not help this woman unless she admitted her need.
Jesus shocked her when He told her that He knew she had had five husbands, and the one she was living with now was not her husband. The woman never dreamed she would be talking to a stranger that day and having her sinful life exposed. She is now very uncomfortable and her deflection efforts are not working. She says that she knows “that the Messiah is coming. He will tell us all things.” Jesus tells her “I who speak to you am he.”
When the disciples return, the woman is so excited that she forgets her water jar, showing that she is no longer concerned about physical water. Instead she wants others to know about the “living water” that she has discovered. Can you imagine her excitement as she invites others to “come and see a man who told me all things that I ever did? Could this be the Christ?” Her testimony convinced many to come and see for themselves.
Everybody needs Jesus. The gospel of Jesus has the power to change lives. Those of us who have encountered Jesus, been confronted about our need, believed and received Jesus as our Savior have every reason to be excited enough to tell others “our personal story” of coming to Christ! My story, and your story about Jesus is just too good not to share! Christ expects us to tell others the Good News!