Reading: John 4: 5-30 & 39-42
Verse 14: Whoever drinks this water I give him will never thirst.
In today’s story, Jesus reaches out to a woman that no other Jew would reach out to. He speaks to a Samaritan woman who is coming to draw water from Jacob’s well. Water is essential to life. Women came to the well each day to draw water, to socialize a bit, to care for their families. Jesus probably senses there is a reason she comes to the well alone, in the heat of the day. Perhaps her life and her choices have made her into a person that is not often spoken to by her own people as well.
Even though this is the longest recorded conversation with Jesus in the Bible, He is not out for some polite conversation. For Jesus, there is a point, there is a reason to speak to this outsider. Jesus sees a lost and broken soul in need of God’s love and grace. In Romans 5:8, we recall that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. In today’s passage, Jesus is living this idea out. He is allowing the prejudice to die as He reaches out to the Samaritans. In their conversation, Jesus offers her the ‘living water’ and she shows interest. There is a spiritual hunger in this woman. Jesus draws her further in by speaking truth about her life, but He does not allow this to be a barrier either. There is no judgment, just openness and truth. He acknowledges who she is and offers her love and grace anyway. This too is our story with God. No matter the road we’ve gone down and whatever choices we have made, Jesus’ message to us is the same: come, sit, talk with me, drink of this living water.
The story and invitation does not end here. Our lesson is not over. Yes, we see in Jesus’ example the call to reach out to those who are lost, to those who are outsiders. After all, we are ‘there’ every once in a while ourselves. And, yes, we too have felt the grace and love of Jesus making us new again. But let us not look past the woman’s response. She found healing and went and told others. She brought others to Jesus so that they too could experience the living water. She set aside any fears and doubts about being an outsider in her own village and invited all to come and know Jesus. This too is our call. May we each set aside any barriers and boldly share our Jesus, the source of living water, with all we cross paths with today. May we each extend Jesus’ welcome to all.