The Woman at the Well

Written by Debbie Ogrodnick

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Where water is plentiful we tend to take it for granted. Not so in the desert, where even plants hoard water with bristly defenses. Taunting visions of pools dance in the heat waves. A craving for water crowds out all other thoughts and one spoonful on a parched tongue is worth gold.

To a woman living in a dry land who spent part of each day hauling clay jugs to and from a well, water was the most powerful symbol imaginable. Little wonder that when Jesus offered her living water that would never run dry, the Samaritan woman paid attention.

Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:13).

Some of Jesus’ most memorable sayings came in the midst of very ordinary conversations.

Let’s look at this Samaritan woman. To a Jewish man, a woman was already considered a person of lesser value. The fact that she was a Samaritan pushed her worth down even further. Generations of bitterness raged between the Jews and the Samaritans. To make matters worse this particular Samaritan woman was likely not even respected by people in her own community since she had had five husbands and was not married to the man she was currently living with. Jesus would have violated several understandings of that day simply by speaking to this woman. Jesus not only spoke to her but he conversed with her at great length.

Jesus often challenged accepted cultural behaviors by attaching love, mercy and grace to his actions. He was full of compassion for those who were condemned by their own sin and knew it.

The woman at the well knew who she was. She stood in awe because even though Jesus told her everything about her, he didn’t condemn her. He treated her as a person of value, a person to whom he wanted to impart hope.

Unlike the woman at the well, I have one husband, yet she and I have one thing in common. Expectations. Expectations about ourselves, expectations about marriage, about people and about life.

There is no human being nor anything this world can offer that has the ability to meet my deepest needs. No financial wealth, no personal accomplishments or human relationships, no outward beauty and no high social status. It is only God, through Jesus Christ, with His living water that satisfies the innermost longings of my soul, in ALL situations and in all circumstances, completely and permanently.

Jesus loved the Samaritan woman. The same blood that He shed for the disciples, the religious leaders, the thieves on the cross, the Roman soldiers, his mother, his friends and his enemies was shed for the woman at the well.

How did Jesus see her? He saw her through eyes filled with love and compassion. He saw etched on her face the disappointments, the failures and the regrets. He saw the resignation of accepting things for what they were; hardly daring to hope that change was possible.

How did Jesus relate to her? He extended grace and mercy.

Max Lucado, in his book God Came Near says, “Silently the Divine Surgeon reached into his kit and pulled out the needle of faith and a thread of hope. In the shade of Jacob’s well he stitched her wounded soul back together. ‘There will come a day . . . ‘ he whispered.

It is the same today as it was then, 2,000 years ago. Some people followed Jesus courageously, others remained skeptical and still others reacted with hostility. Some just did not understand Jesus’ use of visual images. Some people still don’t understand.

The woman at the well understood and she believed. She went back to her people and excitedly shared what Jesus had told her; as a result many believed and their lives were changed forever … just like mine has been … just like yours can be.

Question: How has Jesus changed your life?

About the Author:  Debbie Ogrodnick

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