When I was a young girl, the older women told us all kind of crazy things to maintain our integrity. “Don’t sit too close to a boy or you might get pregnant. Don’t kiss a boy or you might get pregnant. Don’t hold hands with a boy or you might get pregnant.” The message was clear: do not enter into a compromising situation that could destroy your reputation and ruin your character in the eyes of others. Being young and pregnant was not what good girls do.
Yet, I see Christ loving interact with a bad girl at the well. The Samaritan he encounters is a woman who knows how to fall in love but can’t stay there. She has destroyed her reputation in the city. Her reputation preceded her for miles and across thousands of generations.
But this scene is not about her because in it, Jesus revealed himself again as the all knowing speaker of truth. He 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 (John 4:17b-18).”
In other words: I know who you are. I know that people do not understand your plight in life. I know that men have rejected you, but I have come to change all of that. I can give you a new life.
Jesus addressed her concerns, “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 (10)…Everyone who drinks this [earthly] water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life (13).”
Jesus was offering something grand that she didn’t even know was available to someone like her. This woman traveled through life lost because she did not understand her true need and she was broken from unfulfilled expectations. She knew that the Messiah was coming, but because he had not yet come, she called in sideline replacements. Because her understanding of the Messiah was limited, she did not recognize him when he appeared directly to her. It is only after the plot thickens, that Jesus offers clarity and shines his light.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth (23-24).”
“The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah” (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I who speak to you am he (25-26).”
Jesus marks the end of her old life and the beginning of a new one with him.
How has Jesus changed the scenes in your life? Are you praying for him to change scenes and break destructive patterns in the life of your loved ones? What hope can we have that he will deliver?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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