An assignment to read the bible story, the Woman At the Well led me to write this piece.
| A very wise friend and minister I know recently gave me a bible story to spend some time with. I have to admit at first I thought she was nuts, why would I want to spend any great length of time on one story, especially on the story of the woman at the well found in John 4:1-30? Well as I focused on that story, I began to slowly understand why.
Here is a woman who has made mistakes in life. I myself have made mistakes too great to count. Here is a woman who is looked down on by society and tries to hide from the respectable cross section of the population. I myself have at times been guilty of this too. Here is a woman who thinks and believes the world is against her. This too I understand and have been guilty of doing. I began to realize there were a lot of similarities between this woman and myself, but as the story went on, and the more time I spent with it I realized slowly we had more in common than I could ever comprehend.
This woman had made so many mistakes in her life that society as a whole believed she was nothing more than damaged goods. And yet Jesus, the Messiah she believed whole-heartedly, one day would come, was able to look past all of the scars to see her heart. To Him this woman, whom He met at the well, was salvageable she wasn’t damaged goods, she was an instrument, valuable to spreading the truth of the gospel, and His coming.
Now I know this must sound strange, a woman five times married and five times divorced, living with a man not her husband, being used to spread the Good Word, who would have thought it possible? And yet here she was having a conversation at a well in Samaria with Jesus who offered her living water as opposed to the water drawn from the well, which she offered to Him, but I can assure you this was not unusual or strange. In fact Jesus knew her every transgression before she even told him.
“He said, “Go call your husband and then come back.”
“I have no husband,” she said.
“That’s nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there sure enough.” John 4:16-18
From here the woman gets it this nice Jewish man was a prophet. That seemed to explain it all to her. She never considered that she was sitting there speaking to the Messiah until he told her she was. What is most surprising is that the woman whom society has deemed a failure with no future has a future in the eyes of Jesus. The string of failures she has been through and seen in her life is about to end because Jesus is not looking at her past, but rather at her future and the desire her heart has to know and love Him. What a concept.
Oddly enough this is often the place where we meet Jesus, in the midst of our failures where the world around us says our mistakes are not redeemable when really with Jesus in our hearts and a desire to live a new life for Him, they are redeemable. When this woman was looking for love through her five husbands, she was really looking for the love of God she just didn’t know it. The husbands could not fill that desire for her. And though she knew through religion of the coming of the Messiah, it is her failures and faults which allowed her to be in the right place to meet the real thing. And what did He do for her that day at the well before sending her off to tell the villagers about Him?
He didn’t offer up a lecture or a critique of her life, He didn’t even tell her she had to change, He simply offered her some insight and told her quite plainly she did not have to wait any longer for her Messiah. Now you may be wondering how this helped spread the gospel, and I did too the first 20 or 30 times I read the story, but then I realized the answer was in the last two verses:
“The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, “Come and see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?” And they went out to see for themselves." John 4:28-30
She was no longer afraid to share who she was with the world, Jesus had enabled her to not be ashamed of her past but to be an ambassador of His love and truth to others. Jesus has an amazing insight to be able to see our deepest longings, just as He did with the woman at the well, and through our longings He finds us, the real honest and true us.
So next time you are looking at yourself and wondering if you are damaged goods because of your past, why not try spending a little time at the well, I have heard the water there is quite refreshing! God Bless!
All Scripture passages are taken from THE MESSAGE BIBLE