A DRINK OF WATER (John 4: 1-42).
It was hot that day and I had to go and get water from Jacob’s well outside of town. The other women went when it was cooler. I could not go with them because I had slept with some of their husbands. I was married five times and now I was living with a sixth man. When I came to the well, there was a stranger waiting for me. He looked tired and dusty from his journey. Immediately, He asked me for a drink. His apparel indicated that He was a Jew and that surprised me because we Samaritans did not get along with Jews. I tried to tell the stranger that it was not proper for me to give Him a drink. Then He surprised me even more by telling me that if I would ask Him, He would give me a drink and I would no longer have to draw water from the well. I was puzzled and reminded Him how He could draw such water without anything to draw with. He was empty handed. His answer was even more mysterious. The water would not come from the well but from Him. After I would receive it from Him, I too would be a well for others. And I would no longer be thirsty.
The stranger was so convincing that I begged Him to give me that water and I would no longer have to come to this well. To receive the water, He ordered me to get my husband. When I told Him that I was not married, He reminded me that I had five husbands and this one I was living with was not mine. I was stunned. How did He know about me? He had to be some soothsayer. To divert His attention from me, I pointed to our mountain where we worshipped. The stranger’s response was completely beyond my grasp. He told me that God no longer had to be worshipped on the mountain or in Jerusalem. God was Spirit and could commune with my spirit, but I had to be truthful or honest about wanting God to run my life. What He said made no sense, but it described me. Others and not I were in charge of my life. The stranger stopped talking to me because His companions were rejoining Him and they were rather astounded that He was talking to me.
I dropped my water buckets and ran back to town as fast as I could. I announced unashamed to come and see a man that told me everything I had done. Could He be that Prophet who was to come? I could not tell whether it was my confession or curiosity for the stranger that could look into my heart that made the people follow me quickly back to the well. The stranger was pleased that I had brought more than the men I had slept with. His followers appeared dazed at so many Samaritans. It must have been a shock to them that we were friendly and hospitable. Perhaps, they were in a greater bewilderment when the stranger began to interact with our people as if they were one happy family. There was some mysterious presence surrounding this man. When He began to share why He had come to us, we all began to feel lifted and healthier. Our leaders insisted that He would stay with us and He was anxious to do so and did for two days.
Miraculous deeds and wise teachings had preceded the stranger and some of our people knew who He was. He had told me who He was but gave me no name. Now, we realized that it was Jesus also known as the Messiah or Savior to His followers. He was telling us that God’s children included us in His new kingdom. We had the same privileges and rights as Jews did. He began to show us how we could come to God without mountains and temples. God could live in our hearts and His Spirit could join ours. All we had to do was believe in Jesus that He was sent by God to show us the way the truth affected us and offered us a life beyond this one. God was with us directly, without priests or intermediaries.
The greatest news was that people with my background could change and become members of Jesus’ kingdom. God was not interested in punishing us but in saving us from our own imprisonment. I was living in a restricted society and now I felt freed from my sins. I realized what the stranger meant when He could give me a drink that would quench my thirst. It happened when I confessed my sins that I no longer desired to be subjected to them and my thirst for sinning ended. I became a blessing to myself and to many people in my town. I had no thought that my encounter with a stranger would have such an impact on so many. When Jesus and His companions left our town, He took my story with Him as an example and it began to travel into the future. I did hear rumors about the nameless Samaritan woman that had refused to give a drink to the man Moses had predicted would come. We Samaritans believed that Jesus was that Man and what a difference He made for us. It shall be my hope that you too become one of His followers.