Psalm 22 begins with the desperate lament, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” … and that must have been how the Samaritan woman at the well felt, lived.
A half breed hated by the Jews and her own, John 4 introduces the reader to this Samaritan woman in the middle of the day, at the well of Sychar, gathering water. The other women gathered together, gathered their water in the morning, certainly to start their household chores, likely to enjoy the company, and of course to avoid the later-day heat. But this woman has come to gather her water, a tasking labor, in the heat of the day. Perhaps she’s just starting her day; perhaps she’s been busy with other things. More certainly she wants to avoid the other women. So she gathers her water alone, in the heat.
All the while, Jesus and the disciples are travelling through Samaria to Galilee. No other Jew would have gone this way; they would have doubled their travel time to skip by Samaria. Jesus, however, knew that this is the way He wanted to travel; Scripture says He “had” to go this way. He had an important meeting.
When the woman arrives at the well of Sychar, Jesus speaks to her. Now let me share with you something I learned : It was not customary for a Jew – let alone a rabbi – to speak to any woman in public, much less a Samaritan woman who is at the well at the wrong time of the day.
Jesus kindly says, “Give me a drink.” That he would ask a half-breed woman – a Samaritan! a woman! – to do anything for him is basically crazy.
I wonder if the Samaritan woman silently questioned, ‘What kind of rabbi is this? Doesn’t he know where he is? Who I am? Maybe he has lewd intentions…’
She asks him aloud, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”
And Jesus points her to Himself. She doesn’t know it yet – but as he tells her that if she knew who she was speaking to, she would have asked for Living Water, he is talking about Himself.
Just like in Psalm 22. The writer doesn’t know it yet, but he is actually giving detail about the way in which Christ would be treated – beaten, bruised, crucified – the writer of the Psalm has come to Christ without fully realizing it is Him.
Jesus, without introduction, with one request, with a simple sentence, begins to unravel who He is, begins to unravel this woman’s heart, begins to let her sip – see – savor – the Savior. Look to see how the story unfolds.
Scripture reads, “The woman said to him, “’Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.’”
Ok. So, friend, I think the setting of this unusual conversation it’s very interesting. There is a lot of Jewish history, many Old Testament stories that swirl around in this well and this man.
Jacob, a fiesty man from the time he was born, wrestled with the Lord, demanding he bless him. Humbled by the Lord, He renamed Jacob Israel and reinstated the Abrahamic covenant with him.
But you know what else I find truly significant? — Where Jacob came from.
In Genesis 25, we can read that Isaac prays for the love of his life, his wife, Rebekah, to conceive children. So far, she is barren. And then, by the gracious hand of the Lord, God opens her womb. After twenty years – I am sure a LOOOOONG twenty years – she conceives – and not just one baby, but two! If we stop here at this point in the story, we could already have great reason to praise the Lord and great reason to trust in the Lord that if this is our prayer – to bring to life a womb, to conceive and bear children – then the Lord can answer. And HE CAN.
The story goes on. The Lord tells Rebekah that in her womb – it must have been such a difficult pregnancy, bless her heart – that she has two warring men inside of her. And that they will war against each other from now throughout history. These are the infamous twins, Jacob and Esau. The younger will dominate the older. One will be blessed, the other, not so much. Gracious.
The Lord is to be praised, trusted, and He is our answer to prayers. And as He moves and acts, even on our behalf, which is exactly always how He works, on our behalf and on the behalf of His glory. And here we see this in the story of Isaac and Rebekah praying for a child to fill up her barren womb.
The Lord answers, graciously, abundantly, more than they could have asked for or imagined.
And he brings about redemption through the warring twins. Jacob continues the Abrahamic covenant. Jesus comes through the line of Jacob. Redemption Himself.
And here we are, back at the well, Jesus and the half-breed woman, wondering why in the world God has forsaken her and confused about what it means truly to worship Him.
And if we readers are quite honest, we can think of a few reasons. One. She doesn’t even understand Jewish religion. That seems like it could be enough to judge her. Two. She doesn’t have her life in order; she’s out in the heat of the day just starting her days work. Three. Through the conversation with Jesus, He reveals that she isn’t married, yep that’s true, and that’s bad enough, but on top of that, she’s got a string of awful marriages that have destructed into divorce and the man she’s with now isn’t even her husband. Some historians speculate that she may even be a prostitute.
And like a friend pointed out, this is three strikes against her. Three strikes, you’re out in today’s world.
But Jesus doesn’t know about the three strikes and you’re out method. He’s a God of mercies that are new every morning; He’s a forgiving God, a gracious God, a God slow to anger, quick to mercy.
And He, a Jewish rabbi; He, fully God and fully man, is speaking to this woman.
Scripture reads : Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Do you not just love this? Jesus doesn’t get hung up in history. or tradition. He cuts right to the chase. Eternal life. And precious little woman responds completely unpretentiously – basically she says, give it to me.
I mean, she knows she’s been looking for salvation in all the wrong places. Failed relationship after failed relationship; the Samaritan way of life is just not satisfying. This empty searching is soul-wearying. Defeated, in need. That’s her.
And that’s us, without Christ. Wondering where the heck He is! Wondering why He’s left us! Wondering what in the world is with this life? and WHY!?
And Jesus responds, “I AM.” – This answers the worship confusion. Worship Him. The Old Testament foretold. John the Baptist heralded. Jesus is HERE! The Messiah, the Savior, is HERE!
Right in front of this. immoral. Samaritan. woman. Seriously, this must be a true account. What person in their right mind would include this story if they wanted any good repute among anybody? Jesus – a Jewish carpenter and Rabbi who claims to be God, God’s Son, the Messiah, the Savior of the world who is changing water into wine and baptizing people – comes into Samaria and actually speaks to a Samaritan, not to mention a woman, not to mention she’s immoral – and then REVEALS WHO HE IS in a NEW WAY this side of heaven to HER. A rabbi would not have even said hello much less asked her for anything, even if he was dying of thirst. And this man – this Jesus – this precious Jesus who we worship and adore and fear and love – asks of her, speaks to her heart, and pursues her in the best way with His love.
There’s just so so so much here, girls. There’s Jesus here. for you. For whoever you are, wherever you are, however desperate, alone, lonely, immoral, you are.
Transformation – new life – Jesus awaits you.
This woman leaves her water jar and runs into the townspeople she was trying so hard to avoid and she says
I’VE FOUND MR. RIGHT! …. or “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
And they come. Perhaps incredulously, perhaps superficially interested. But in the end, “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
He is the Savior of the World. Let us believe in Him. Let us trust ourselves, our souls, with Him. He knows us, fear Him. He knows us, believe in Him. He knows us, be relieved! Someone knows us better, more deeply, than we know ourselves.
This relief is in Christ. Our weary, parched souls need Living Water. Our drab, dead souls need Everlasting Life. We need a remedy, we need redemption. We need Christ.
Like this woman – no matter and whoever you are – unpretentiously say to Him “I want that. Give that to me. You are Mr. Right. I need you.” Because all of that is true. And because it is your remedy, my remedy.
In this story of the woman at the well, we see that Jesus chooses the despised of the world to reveal that He is the Savior of the world. He has chosen you. His Word says that he loves you and he offers salvation to you.
John 3:16 proclaims, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Put your name in there. Like this – For God so loved Rachel that He gave His only Son, that as Rachel believes in Him Rachel should not perish but have eternal life.
The psalmist starts desperate. The Lord leads him to Christ without his recognition. And as the Lord leads, the psalmist comes to know the Lord in a new way. He is transformed. The Psalm ends, “Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.”
True for the psalmist – true for the line of Christ and the fulfilled Abrahamic Covenant – true for the unnamed woman at the well – true for you, and true for me. We, when we believe in His name and confess Him as Lord, will serve Him, proclaim Him, and see His righteousness in generations and generations to come.
Christ is our hope. our remedy. our Mr. Right. our Savior. Our Messiah. Living Water. Eternal Life. He is our all in all.
See and Savor the all Soul-Satisfying Savior of the world.