Thursday, April 7, 2016
The woman of Samaria, conclusion
Yesterday we saw how a conversation led to changed lives. People who were physically and spiritually thirsty were satisfied. Have you ever stopped to think about Jesus, sitting in that hot town of Sychar? He had been traveling by foot, and His garments and body were covered in dust. I'm sure that His physical body was thirsty. But He had another thirst, as well. His divine nature was longing to share His identity as the Messiah, and His living water.
God is thirsty to share Himself with all of the people in the world.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life. (John 3:16, KJV)
The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slow-
ness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but
everyone to come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9, NIV)
(The emphasis is mine, above.)
Jesus is going to reveal Himself to men and women who desperately need to hear good news of reconciliation -- the Samaritans have been separated from the Jews for so long! But He chooses the woman at the well to be His missionary to them, so that they can be "true worshippers." (Verse 23) She is changed by her encounter with Him; she races to tell the people that she has met the Messiah, and that they must "come."
How did He change her? He met her where she was, and engaged in authentic conversation with her. He showed no discomfort or disgust at her secrets; He guided her to see herself for who she really was, and He listened to her. And He offered her living water.
During this era in Palestine, water was something that was often scarce, and was highly valued. Long, mostly dry summers can make flowing rivers dry up or become muddy. During the spring and fall rainy seasons, people would gather every bit of rainwater that they could, and store it up for when the weather was dry again. Cisterns dug out of rock stored large quantities of water, and drinking water was stored and carried about in goatskins and earthen jugs. We can imagine that it would be rationed, even hoarded by the thirsty people.
Jesus offers us, just as He offered the Samaritans, living water. It's not water that must be rationed or hoarded:
Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but those who drink the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the
water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to
eternal life." (John 4:13)
Do our own hearts feel dry? Jesus can see into the depths of our souls -- and He knows the thirsts that we experience in our hearts. Let's rejoice in the good news; the gospel tells us that living water is available for all, freely and abundantly flowing.
If there is a longing that we can't seem to fill; if there is a hunger, an emptiness that we can't satisfy; we will find nothing in this world that can satisfy like Jesus. He can provide the living water, and we will never thirst again, but we'll be satisfied with His loving care and His Spirit. Perhaps there are sins that we need to reveal to Him, and to ourselves; then He can cleanse us:
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love
for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far
has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:11-12)
What a joyful realization! He will see our sins but forgive us! And then He'll not remember them any more. He will fill us with His Spirit, and help us to keep our feet on the right path. That's a truly awesome love story from the well of Samaria!