Recently, I listened to a sermon on John chapter 4. We all have heard the Bible story about the woman at the well, right? It's easy to overlook little passages of Scripture, but these verses have given me a glimpse of God's grace to His children. Let's uncover what this chapter holds and find hope for our failures.
John 4, the Samaritan woman was living in her sin of adultery. Because she was well-known for her sin of having many "husbands," she carried deep shame and was shunned by the people of her town. In order to avoid judging glares and clicking tongues, the woman came to the well to draw water at noon, when no one else would be there.
On this particular day, Jesus, weary after a long journey from Galilee and Judea sat on the very well from which she drew her water. He told the woman, "Give me a drink." His command confused her. Why would a Jew be speaking to her? It was not in custom for a Jew to be speaking to a Samaritan, much less a Samaritan woman. But Jesus didn't let the customs of the people conform how He interacted with others and with whom He shared the Truth.
As He spoke with the woman, Jesus told the woman to retrieve her husband and return. Her heart skipped a beat and shame struck her, as she was reminded of the truth of her past. She vaguely replied to Jesus, "I have no husband." And, just when she though she could get away with it, Jesus gently enlightened her to the fact that He already knew the truth.
"The sin that is most destructive in your life right now is the one you are most defensive about." - Tim Keller
Jesus was fully aware of her sin, yet He pursued her with His gracious and passionate love. He did not shy away from the lifestyle and the ignorance of repentance which enslaved her. As she stood, exposed to Him, forgiveness and mercy poured into her heart. In that place of honesty with Jesus, grace and acceptance were revealed. The woman discovered the freedom that comes from confession and Truth.
That day at the well, she met her Messiah. It was then the woman understood the deeper meaning behind the living water that Jesus explained to her in verses 13 and 14...
"Whoever drinks of the water I give you, will never thirst." - John 4:14
No longer did her lifestyle of sin satisfy her. Now, grace and love gave her the strength to no longer be enslaved to sin, and through His righteousness, stand empowered.
But the story didn't end there! What did she do with this good news? She shared it. The woman ran into the city and told everyone about Jesus. Remembering her past sinful life, imagine the people's looks and responses when that "sinful dirty woman" came running to them and said, "Come, see the Man..." The freedom and acceptance she experienced in Jesus stirred a fire within to tell others about Him. Through her testimony and honesty, she was the bright light of Jesus in that town.
We are all the woman at the well.
Jesus individually and passionately pursues us in the same way. We all sin in different ways, but ultimately, every sinner needs the same Savior. We all need His touch of grace and love. If you're feeling buried deep in sin or too hidden in shame, remember right now what Jesus did for the woman at the well. He can do that for you. Jesus is your Messiah. No sinful lifestyle or lie can have a tighter hold on you than Jesus. Seek Jesus, lay down your burdens, find forgiveness, and realize the cross was enough for you and me.
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:32