By Michael Youssef, Ph D. 08/15/20
Jesus modeled how to share the Good News with people from very different backgrounds. What was His method? Love. In this story of the woman at the well in John 4, we see Jesus put His agenda aside, spend time with the woman, and ask her questions—neither condemning nor condoning her sin but offering her the hope of a life surrendered to God. This is how Jesus calls us to carry out His Great Commission, too—with His love.
Orthodox Jews felt revulsion at the way Samaritans mixed Jewish beliefs and idolatry. So when Jesus set out to walk from Jerusalem to Galilee, His critics would have said He should not have taken the two-and-a-half day route through Samaria. Instead, most Jews would have taken a five-day detour in the scorching desert to avoid contact with Samaritans.
But, in John 4:4-26, Jesus traveled right into the heart of Samaria where He stopped and rested at a well, clearly not avoiding the Samaritans. Though tired from His journey, He waited for a particularly hated and degraded woman. She was degraded by her birth as a Samaritan, by her gender that was considered inferior in that day, and by her infamous immorality. Yet this is the person for whom Christ, the Son of God, waited.
Jesus said to this woman, “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” (John 4:10). And she challenged Him saying, “Well, you don’t have a bucket. The water is deep. Are you greater than our father Jacob who dug this well?” But Jesus lovingly replied, “You’re talking about stagnant water. You’re talking about dead water. I’m talking about living water—water that satisfies you for life.” In fact, the word the woman used for water meant stagnant water held in a cistern. Jesus’ word for water, however, meant a spring of bubbling, ever-refreshing, living water.
Jesus stayed at the well because He knew that the water of the world could never satisfy. Jesus stayed at the well because He knew that this woman of hurt, hatred, and hopelessness could only find satisfaction in Him. Jesus stayed at the well because He knew that only His living water could give her the real love she was seeking.
And because Jesus stayed at the well and made Himself approachable and available to demonstrate the Father’s love, this woman confessed her sin, repented, accepted His gift, and was changed forever. And then she went out and evangelized her whole town!
Prayer: Lord, Your love is astounding. Thank You for giving me Your living water. Help me to share the source of this water with those You put in my path and give me eyes to see them. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst” (John 4:13-14).