Thursday, May 21, 2020

I am a Samaritan Woman

A Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus said to her … – Slide 5

I live in Samaria, am a Samaritan woman. .  I wish I could tell you I was a  loved and respected member of my village  but I can't.  My life has not been easy. 

I am standing in my doorway looking  to see how many people are out and about.  As I expected, not many.  Why?  It is noon, the hottest time of the day and people are staying inside trying to stay as cool and comfortable as possible.  
Which I would love to do as well ,   but my water jugs are empty.  I am thirsty and I need water for cooking and washing.   It is my time to go to the well to get my daily supply.
I go at noon for the simple reason that no one else does.   If I go in the cool of the day, like all the other women do .. and yes, getting water is definitely a woman's job -  then I have to face the scorn and mocking of the other women, and the whispers behind my back.  They know who I am ... they call me a 'loose woman' , immoral,  whose husbands can't be trusted around me.  But they don't understand, if they had lived my life, they might not be so quick to judge. 
Oh, I admit, I didn't make the best decisions in my life - but what else was I to do?  One thing led to another ... and I attracted the wrong kind of men who used me, abused me, rejected me and abandoned me.  Finally, I just determined to make  the best of what life allowed me. 

So ... I'm off  to the well alone in the heat of the day.  
 When the well comes into sight in the distance,  I see to my surprise that there is someone there. I have never seen another woman at the well at noon, this is very strange.   
 I come closer and , see that it isn't a woman at all but a man!  What is a man doing at the well?  Especially at this time of day.   Then as I come even closer, to my shock I recognize  that not only is it a man , but a JEW !   
Jews will take the long way round just to avoid walking through Sameria -- we are so hated by them -- and now a Jewish man  is sitting on our well?  

I hesitate some distance from the well, not sure what I should do.  Should I just ignore him and get my water?   A little hard to do considering he is sitting on the well's edge, I can hardly pretend not to see him.  
But  as I hesitate, he speaks to me !  Asks me to give him a drink .. 
, I look at him  and my immediate  thoughts tumble our of my mouth in a rush of questions .. "You are a man... and you speak to me, a woman??  And you are a Jew is it you  speak to a Samaritan?? and you want ME to give YOU a drink?"   

I stand and look at him, not knowing how to take him.  What to think of him. 
 He is different from the men I usually associate with .. and not just because he is a Jew.   There is something that fascinates me, his eyes, his voice?   
There is nothing sexual in his demeanor .. I can't  put my finger on what is so very different about him. 
Responding to my questions he says "If you knew who I was you would ask ME for a drink and I would give you living water."   
Okay ,  now I am even more baffled...  This is a very strange conversation ... and not knowing how to respond I simply speak the obvious... "You have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep,  so where would you get this living water from? "  
 I begin to wonder if he is maybe  making himself a little more important than he should .. and I dare to chide him... "Are you greater than our father Jacob who dug this well and drank from it himself, and his sons and livestock?" 

He did not answer me directly but he says, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again but whoever drinks of the water I give him will never thirst again ... but it will bubble up into everlasting life!"

What strange words, I do not understand , yet something burns within me .. Who is this man?  Why are his words so strangely stirring? . A longing rises up within me and my words burst out of my mouth .. "Give me this water then, that I won't be thirsty and don't have to come here anymore to draw water!"   That would make my life so much easier !  

Again ,, he doesn't answer my request but he says .. "Go call your husband... " 
 My heart stands still ...  my husband?   ohhh ... suddenly I don't want to answer him; for some reason I want him to think well of me .. 
How should I answer ?   One thing I am known for is telling the truth -- but it isn't really so noble of me ... .. when you are at the bottom of society, there is nothing to gain by lying about anything - everyone is going to think the worst anyway .. so I just tell the truth -- it is simpler.   
But this man's question ... I must answer him so I admit ..  "i have no husband.. "  hoping he will leave it at that .. but no ...  he does not let me hide behind a partial answer. .  "You speak truth that you have no husband, but you have had 5 and the one you have now is not your husband."   

I am stunned ... How could he know ?   I have never seen him before, and since Jews do not associate with Samaritans it is impossible that he heard about me from someone else. 
I look into his face ... and suddenly, I know ...  "You, sir," , I say, "you are a  prophet."
and then he tells me about what true worship is and that it is going to change how and where we do now and will soon worship instead ... that true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth ... and God seeks those who worship him that way. . 

Now my reeling mind begins to put two and two together and  I wonder how great a man this truly is.  
 I don't want to offend him .. but I offer .....  "I know that when the Messiah comes He will tell us all things.. " 
To my great astonishment he answers me ... "I am He who speaks with you."

Time stands still around me, I am aware of nothing but the love I read in his face .... no man has ever looked at me like that... and never have I heard words like His. 
Then, at that exact  moment,  I am distracted by the sound of  footsteps and I see several men approach .. they are obviously coming to join the man at the will. ...  
What shall I do ?   Will these men be upset with me?  blame me for daring to speak to their friend or leader?   Me a woman, and a Samaritan speaking to a man ..  will I be in trouble? 
I look back at the man on the well ...  and see that He is looking at me with a gentle smile on His face.. Though he says not another word I suddenly  know what I need to do ... 
I forget my thirst, I forget my bucket .. I forget the burning sun ...I turn and run as fast as my legs will carry me  back into the village  ...  I approach the first group of men I see and breathlessly tell them that they need to come see a man that I met at the well.   I tell them that he might well be the Messiah, the Christ,  that has been expected for so long .. 
I am suddenly thankful that  I am known to tell the truth for I do not have to try to convince the men to believe me.  They are immediately interested and willingly follow me back to the well.  

Jesus,  as we now learn his name,  accepts our invitation -- actually we beg him- to come to our village.  We want to hear more of what He has to say.  He comes and stays for 2 days and what amazing two days they are !   

I will never be  the same again - our village will never be the same --  ... 
While I have  no idea of everything that will  yet happen, it is enough to know that I am free, forgiven and in love with Jesus ... 

You know what the neatest thing is?   Before when mothers would see me in the village they would point me out to their children and while I could not hear what the mothers whispered, I could easily guess ...and they would cross over to the other side of the street,  the children looking back  at me in horror from behind their mother's skirt.   But now ??   The mothers point me out to their children and tell them I am the woman who brought Jesus to the village!    You have no idea how that makes me feel ..  I can't stop smiling and I just want to hug everyone !!   

I never  guessed that a couple of thousand years later you would be reading my story ... I am so humbled ... but if my story can help you to know Jesus better, then I can't tell you how amazing that is !  and to Him be all the glory !!!  

What can we take personally from this story ? 

When we study any scripture passage the most important thing to glean from it is  that which reveals God's character ... the more we know Him the more our faith will grow, and nothing pleases God as much as  His children learning to trust Him !!  

So what do we see about God's character in this story? 

He is no respecter of persons ... 
 We see expressed the truth of  Acts 10:34   that says God is no respecter of persons.  To God EVERY human being has equal value before Him.   That is a little hard to grasp in our world-standard thinking, isn't it ?    How can the worst murderer of children have as much value as Billy Graham?  Or the drug dealer or a pimp  have as much value as Fanny Crosby?
Yet of all the people Jesus could have reached out to, He choose the lowest of the low, a Samaritan,  a woman , and an immoral one.   The one most looked down on.  And we see no condescending attitude, no judgement, no criticism, only gentle love.  
So --  God's character --  He sees the 'value' in each person , He sees not who they are but who they were created to be !   AMAZING ...  He looks not to their past, but to their future.   
Therefore we know, that God will never turn away from us if we come to Him, no matter who we are or what we have done .. what a comfort - what a security.  
see .. Luke 18:13, Matt. 19:14,  Mark 2:16 

He does not allow cross-criticism 
When the disciples came back to find Jesus talking to a woman,  we are told what the disciples were thinking ... how they were judging the woman and the situation they walked into... yet Jesus, of course knowing their thoughts,  did not even address them.  Because God will not listen to people bringing accusations or criticism against another .. .God does not care what others think of you, the only thing that matters is what HE thinks of you ...  Just as when Martha brought accusation against her sister, Jesus did not receive it ...   Nor can the 'accuser of the brethren'   bring accusation against us .. He has been defeated at the cross and has no right to come before God any more !  
see ...   Rom. 14:4 , Rev. 12:10 

Laws,  society norms, man's judgments do not rule Him 
By all standards of moral and religious law, Jesus should have avoided the Samaritan woman, but He welcomed her into His presence.  
Religious rituals, sacrifices, fasting etc.  do not impress God, He will  do according to His perfect will and His will is always ruled by love. 
   He judges according to the heart and draws near to people in whom He sees a 'space'  waiting for Him to fill - those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth, not with ritual or religious works. 
see Psalm 51:17, Deut. 10:12, Amos 5:21-24, Hosea 6:6, James 1:27   

He is Safe 
It must have felt so strange to the Samaritan woman to speak to someone who did not judge her, even though He knew everything about her ! Jesus never condemned her, criticized her or made her feel that He looked down on her or considered her having no value. 
This is such an important insight into the heart of God ... 

Jesus said that the self-righteous don't need Him, but the sinners do and He compared Himself to a physician ... Why ?   
When you go to a physician because you are sick you do not hold back or pretend you are well.  You tell him all your symptoms -- that you have violent headaches, you are dizzy,  you have joint pain,  your stomach is upset and you are nauseous all the time.   And what does the doctor say?  Does he say , "That is absolutely terrible of you, go away and don't come back until you are feeling better !"    Of course not ..He will say .. "Okay, we'll run some tests , get to the bottom of what is troubling you and I can assure you I will help you get better !" 
While we don't expect condemnation from our doctor,  we tend to expect it from God when we try to  hide from Him our failings and shame. 
God will not invade our 'privacy' .. so He waits for us to be honest with Him -- then He reaches out for us and lovingly says... "Here, I can help you get better .. I have the cure!!"   No condemnation, only a loving willingness to help and to heal. 
Jesus was nothing but kind and loving to the Samaritan woman  because that is who He is, that is His character and so we can be assured He will be the same to us! 

What God Looks for 
In the story we see that what Jesus saw in the Samaritan woman was her honest heart , her quick response to trust  Him and her eagerness to tell others about Him.  
She wasn't perfect,  she wasn't qualified to meet any standard we would hold up,  yet God choose her for something that any one of us can offer Him... 
We don't have to be rich, or wise or strong -- or educated or hold a respected position in a career or ministry, in fact we need have ANY of the things the world would look for ...  no,  God looks for those who are simply willing to show Him their hearts, and be eager to worship Him in spirit and truth. 
Can we not all come to Him alongside the Samaritan woman?   Of course ...   and like her,  God can use us to make a difference in our world.  

I thought of how the Covid 19 is a picture of how we bring Jesus into a dark world ... we are 'infected' , then we touch someone close to us , and they become infected .. .and they reach out and touch those near them .. and then those go out and infect others ...  1 becomes 2, 2 become 4, 4 become 8, 8 become 16, 16 become 32, 32 become 64 ... and soon there is a spiritual PANDEMIC !!   May a tsunami of the Holy Spirit wash over us and may we be like the Samaritan woman to tell those around us how great God is !!   and infect others by how we 'live' - simply bringing to God an honest heart and sharing what He has given us ... It will be enough!! 

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