Red Letter Days: Jesus and the Woman at the Well
This month’s Red Letter Day has been written by Beccy Clay.
John 4: 1-30
I love this story of grace and compassion. It shows us so well how Jesus acted to those he met, and how he continues to act towards us. It demonstrates how grace and compassion must be our response to those we meet, directing them to Jesus, in whose eyes is only love.
Although we don’t know the name of the woman Jesus met at the well, her conversation with Jesus is explained at length here. Jesus knew her, not just her name, but her life, her situation. And he still stopped to talk. Jews were not meant to talk to Samaritans, men were not meant to talk to women in public without their husband present; even the disciples, when they returned, were surprised to see Jesus talking to the woman.
But Jesus doesn’t see provincial or national boundaries or other markers we use to divide us. He is not restricted by cultural expectations, law or regulation. This woman knew the law, she knew too that the Messiah was coming but I don’t suppose she expected to meet him that day.
This was her Red Letter Day.
Jesus and the woman met in their everyday. Jesus, human like we are, was tired and thirsty and stopped for a drink. It was in the everyday that Jesus met the woman at the well, who was also there to draw water. Jesus asked her for a drink though he had a life-changing invitation to make to her. ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water’(v10).
Do you know that God wants to meet you in your everyday and that he offers you living water, the kind that means you will never be thirsty again? He offers you a gift: springs of water welling up to eternal life (v14). With ease Jesus moves from everyday life to everlasting life. Do you know that there are others God will put in your path that need this invitation for Jesus to quench their thirst? Invitation and challenge, as our discipleship series is teaching us.
The woman at the well, eager to talk with Jesus, but with doubts, was at first only able to see the flaws in his plan; he had nothing to draw water with. But Jesus’ word of knowledge about her personal circumstances revealed who He was and enabled her to come close. His word exposed her sin, but he spoke with grace, and love. He invited her to be one of those who worship God in spirit and truth (v24).
She left her encounter with Jesus, keen to accept the living water he offered and eager to share it with others. The woman whose past and shame marked and defined her, who came alone as one of society’s outcasts to draw water, was freed from her public shame in an instant, and moved to share the invitation, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’ (v29). Many Samaritans met the Saviour and believed after this encounter! (v39-42). That is the message of Jesus!
He loves you enough to wait at the well to talk to you. His offer of living water is for all, without exception.
What an invitation! What a challenge!
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