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The Woman at the well
One of my very favorite stories in the Bible is about the woman at the well in John chapter 4. It is so rich in meaningful, useful, inspiration. Every time I review it I find it to be even more of a blessing.
The story begins with Yeshua traveling with his disciples, ministering. While on His way to Galilee He chose to go through Samaria rather than around it which was the custom for Judaens of the time.
Personally I don’t think that it was a coincidence that Yeshua intersected with the woman coming to the well. I think that Yeshua was led by Holy Spirit to meet the woman there. I think that is the reason that the apostles went to find something to eat leaving Him alone and available to minister to the woman when she arrived.
The Samaritan woman came to Jacob’s well, which is still in existence, wanting some water. Upon meeting there, Yeshua said to her, “Give me to drink”. It’s noteworthy also that not only was the Messiah at the well alone, but the woman came to the well alone. Culturally, that is something that women did not do. They usually went to the well together. The fact that she was alone is an indicator that she was probably an outcast.
Another noteworthy consideration is that the woman at the well remains nameless. As such, it seems that the Samaritan woman represents a lot of us in a lot of ways. To me, it seems that this poor woman takes on many of our names.
Verse nine says, “How is it that you being a Jew asked to drink of me when I am a woman of Samaria?”
Yeshua breaks through barriers
In this exchange, Yeshua is penetrating differences that were culturally considered sacred. For one thing, he was a male talking to a female. For another, he was ethnically (not religiously) Jewish and talking to a Samaritan: And not only was he talking to a Samaritan but He was a Judaean man, talking to a Samaritan woman. Along with that, He was considered to be a Rabbi, or Teacher, theoretically making Him one who is most respected that was speaking with one of the most disrespected. Why was he breaching these barriers? Because He genuinely cared for her. He saw her the way God intended her to be rather than the state she was currently in.
Evangelizing by condemning the heart
I was visiting with someone recently who raved about a particular evangelist’s method of evangelizing. I have been aware of him for many years. I appreciate his heart and his effort: He is very, very sincere. However, I believe that he’s sincerely wrong. In his approach, through a series of questions, he twists a person’s perception about themselves to say that they are a “sinner at heart”.
The reality is that this is not always true. In fact, it is often not true. Some people certainly are rebels at heart. However many others know that sin is wrong but they are driven by DNA, demons, habit, or other influences to do things that they know they shouldn’t. And while they are driven by these influences, they do want to be set free but they don’t know how.
So, a lot of people sin, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they are a “sinner at heart”. In fact, the realization that they are sinning is often what creates such inner turmoil. Often times what is seen on the exterior is just as much the result of the turmoil and conflict as anything else.
It is the love and goodness of God that brings repentance
In the case of the woman at the well, it was not pointing out her sin and telling her that she was a sinner that altered her life; she already knew those things. Rather it was the love of God conjoined with the moving of the Holy Spirit that reached down and touched her soul in such a profound way.
It reminds me of an old song we used to sing many years ago: “It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around will warm up to it’s glowing”.
Today I encourage you to purpose to receive the genuine love of God into your heart. Once you experience it, you’ll want to pass it on just like the woman at the well did.
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