Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Boundary Breaker

Jesus crossed racial and social boundaries to talk to a Samaritan woman in John 4: 1 – 42. 
The first part of John chapter 4 tells the story of Jesus’s meeting with a Samaritan woman. Try to picture the scene in your mind. Jesus and his disciples were headed back to Galilee from Judea. They had to go through Samaria to get there. It was a long trip and Jesus was tired so he sat down beside a well and waited for his disciples to get back from town.
As he waited, a Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water. I have always wondered what this woman was thinking as she approached the well. Scripture tell us that she knew he was a Jewish man. In her day, Samaritans and Jews didn’t speak. I know if I approach an entrance or place where someone is sitting, someone I don’t know, I tend to have a quick conversation with myself. Perhaps that day I would have said something like “I wonder who that guy is. He looks tired and thirsty. Maybe I should just acknowledge his presence with a nod.” The Bible doesn’t tell us what was going through her mind. It doesn’t matter. Jesus crossed the barrier –broke down the wall –extended his hand first.
His request was a simple one. “Please give me some water.” Again, I have to go back to the woman. She was a Samaritan, she wasn’t suppose be talking to much less hanging out with a Jew. Here she was, face to face with Jesus. The Bible says she was surprised that Jesus even said anything to her. I wonder how she felt in that very moment. I wonder if she had ever felt so loved and so accepted by anyone as she did standing there at the well. This man, this stranger, this Jew was offering her a free gift of God. The free gift: living water, eternal life. He had her captivated. “Where? Where can I get this living water?” she desperately longed for water that would last. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but WHOEVER drinks this water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside the person, giving eternal life.”
Again I have to stop here. I have always wondered what was going through her mind. “He said
WHOEVER!” Have you ever thought about "who" whoever encompasses? The loveable, the unlovable, the hurting, the poor, the downcast, the murderer, the liar, the adulterer, the angry, the bitter, the unfaithful. She must have decided in her mind “I’m a whoever! And he said that a spring of water would gush up inside of me. I can only imagine how refreshing that will be. I want this water.  I have to ask him how I get it.”  The woman responds “Sir, please give me this water.”
Jesus looks at her and returns with “Go get your husband and come back here.” The woman could have said anything here.  She could have made an excuse but she didn’t with honesty she told Jesus “I don’t have a husband.” Looking at her with love filled eyes Jesus said “You’re right. You’ve had five husbands and the one you live with now is not your husband.” I don’t know about you, but if I were that woman my jaw would have just hit the ground. There was something different about this man at the well and she knew it. “I can see you’re a prophet.” Jesus’ response perhaps another jaw dropping moment for the woman “I am the Messiah.”
The Bible doesn’t tell us if there were words exchanged after this or not. What the Bible does say is that the woman left everything to go back to her town and tell the people of her encounter with Jesus. The woman wasn’t concerned about the water at the well. She probably forgot all about it. She had just had an encounter with the Messiah. A spring of water had gushed up inside of her and she had to tell everyone immediately. “Everyone listen! You have to come see the Messiah. He told me everything I had ever done. He wasn’t harsh at all.  He didn’t condemn me. His words were kind and caring and he gave me eternal life!”
Have you ever thought about how this woman must have felt? She knew the mistakes she had made in her past. After her personal encounter with Jesus that didn’t seem to matter anymore. She had been given living water for her very dry and thirsty soul.
Psalm 32: 1 – 2
Isaiah 55: 6 – 7
Matthew 11:28 – 30
Colossians 1: 13 - 14

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