1) Jesus went to Samaria. Jews didn’t just hang out or fraternize with Samaritans. Racial tensions between the two groups were like the Hutus and Tutsis in the Rwandan genocide.
2) Jesus met her Jacob’s well. Wells were social gathering places- it’s where the herders would water their animals and village women would gossip and catch up- think of your modern-day gym.
Enter stage left. A lone woman comes in the hottest heat of the desert day trying to avoid the chance of running into anyone. Jesus talks to her? He was waiting for her. Dumbfounded, she stutters back, Why are you, a Jew, talking to me, a Samaritan woman? (verse 9).
“You must be a prophet” (verse 19) she says uncomfortably as her inability to keep healthy relationships with men and her constant shame is revealed. Jesus doesn’t use his knowledge to bring her guilt or shame or lecture her on morality. He lets her know his offer of grace- to find true life in what He offers rather than the empty dry wells she had been pursuing (John 4:13-14) extends further than her shameful past.
His invitation to us today is the same: to know fullness of life. How often I rob myself of that fullness by believing the lies: I need to fix myself, do more, or try harder and never fail at being good before Jesus will welcome me. That drives me to draining guilt-ridden obedience rather than an overflowing fountain of life.
I can’t tell you how hard it is for me to realize this truth- that I come to the feet of Jesus with empty hands in desperate need of his grace. I don’t bring anything to the table, just like this Samaritan woman.
But the beauty is that he pours his love and grace into our open hands. Never stopping. Overflowing.
As you read John 4 today, listen to All Sons & Daughters “Brokenness Aside”
You take our brokenness aside and make it beautiful.