Thought for the Week - 15th OctoberJennifer Offord
John 4: 1-24
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining
and baptizing more disciples than John
although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.
So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
Now he had to go through Samaria.
So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey,
sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her,
“Will you give me a drink?”
(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “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.”
“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 livestock?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them
a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
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.”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.
The fact is, you have had five husbands,
and the man you now have is not your husband.
What you have just said is quite true.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain,
but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming
when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know,
for salvation is from the Jews.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the
true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth,
for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
In these verses, we read how Christ says to the woman “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me and I would give you living water”. If we had spoken to this woman the day before, I think she would have been the last person in the world to have believed that the following day that God would meet with her as she was going to the well.
We know she was a Samaritan woman. She’d had difficulties in her life. She’d had heartache. We know that because of the culture she was living in, there would have been shame surrounding her, because she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. Some commentators have pointed out that the very fact she was collecting the water at noon is an indication she was avoiding people – people would have normally have collected their water after the sun had gone down, when it was cooler.
We need to remind ourselves that Christ can meet anyone, regardless of who they are and the circumstances they are in. She wasn’t important in her village, but God had another plan for this woman. She was the first person who Christ revealed to that He was the Messiah. This unimportant woman, whose name we don’t even know.
We know she had some religious views, in line with the views of the day. She had local adopted views about how religion ‘should be done’. In the midst of that, as God looked upon this woman, we read that Christ “must needs go through Samaria” (KJV). It was more normal at the time to have gone around Samaria because of the disputes between the Jewish people and Samaria. Christ had to go through Samaria because God had astounding plans for this woman! He had plans to change her inner being. He wanted to change that dearth, that unhappiness and dryness within her. God had tremendous plans for her.
We read “If you only knew the gift God has for you” – God had made an appointment to meet with her. He had a gift for her.
We too can think we’re unimportant. We might not be ‘named’ people within our area. But it is to people like us – like this woman – that God says “If you only knew the gift God has for you”. He sees the emptiness within us, the dryness, and says to us “ask me and I would give you living water”.
We can have our disputes, with others and within ourselves, but we need to remember Christ’s comes to us with these words “If you only knew the gift God has for you”. Sometimes we forget what He is planning for us, and that the purposes He has for us are for the good.
When Christ spoke to this woman and the need that was in her, He wasn’t pointing out her flaws to make her feel bad. He was facing her up to the fact that there was a deep need within her. That’s what Christ does when He draws near. He can see through our masks. He opens up the inner need within our being. He wants to do that because He has something planned for us that is better… “If you only knew the gift God has for you”.
The gift that Christ had for this woman was total inner healing, a total wholeness and a total finding of that river of life and that water. In a moment of time He can open up our inner needs; and in a moment of time He can heal us.
Whatever need is within you, Christ can meet that. He can change you, and can change you forever.
“If you only knew the gift God has for you, you would ask me and I would give you living water”.