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Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John—although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks 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.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 4:1-28, 39-42
Have you ever felt like God can’t use you?
Or maybe you think he can use you – someday –
when you understand more about Him –
or know more of His Word?
When I met my husband back in 1985, he knew everything about the Bible. At least He did in my eyes because I knew almost nothing. I knew about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit but I was a student of what everyone told me about them. I had not discovered with clarity what they said about themselves in the Word. My husband had. From childhood, he carried a bible to church and he could flip from Old Testament to New Testament with ease. He could also find Habakkuk as quickly as he could find Jude and I felt so dumb because if it weren’t for the Table of Contents – I would have never made it out of Genesis!
As the years went on, I grew in my understanding of God’s Word. he more time I spent in it the more familiar I became, but in my head, I was still inferior. I saw what my husband knew and compared it to what I didn’t know and ended up feeling unusable. This crippled my witness. I wouldn’t talk to people about God because I really believed everyone knew more about Him than me. I was confident God couldn’t use me for anything and whenever I came to understand some major spiritual truth, I had to run it by 4 or 5 people before I even considered that I “might” be on the right track.
In over thirty years of walking with Christ, I have read and heard the story of the Samaritan Woman dozens of times. In retrospect – the only part that really stood out to me was the part where Jesus calls her out for having multiple husbands. However, after digging deeper I realized that little glimpse into her history is NOT the focus of this story.
- THIS is a story of Jesus building relationship with broken, inadequate people so He can use them to bring more broken, inadequate people to Himself.
- THIS is a story of Him entrusting spiritual truths to people who were caught up in earthly circumstances.
- THIS is a story of how Jesus used someone like me to do something BIG for Him.
Let’s take a history break for a second; The Jews had been waiting for thousands of years for a king that God had promised to send. A king who would defeat evil and bring goodness back to the world. The word they used to describe this king was; Messiah.
Jesus was Messiah.
Interestingly enough, Jesus rarely revealed this truth. There were times when He did make it known, it but it was often in a roundabout way. Yet – with the Woman at the Well – Jesus doesn’t hold back and He is far from vague. After she speaks about looking forward to the day Messiah will come – Jesus answers: “I am He.”
Jesus reveals with complete clarity that He is, definitively,
the long-awaited Messiah…
To. A. Samaritan. Woman.
Let your mind process that for a minute.
Swish it around in your head and percolate on it a bit, because this is HUGE!
First, she was a woman. Jewish men didn’t speak to women in public. Second, she was a Samaritan. Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. Finally, she wasn’t living a moral life. Remember, she had many husbands and was currently living with a man she wasn’t married to. But Jesus chooses to reveal this incredible news to HER! Thousands of years the Jews have waited for Messiah and Jesus undeniably reveals his identity to a Samaritan Woman!
Isn’t that awesome!?
How overwhelmed she must have felt. How overcome with joy and humility. Her response MUST have been one of utter amazement and worship, right? Wrong. She responds by running! She dons her Nikes, abandons her water jar and she takes off like it’s the start of the Disney Princess Marathon!(Ok, well maybe there were no Nikes but you get the picture.)
Granted, her intimate conversation with Jesus was just interrupted by twelve more men but seriously, she had just started out her day getting water. Instead, she has a deep spiritual conversation with a man, a JEWISH man and He KNOWS her! He knows Intimate details about her life and her loves and she is probably running from sheer f r e a k o u t! She has witnessed something truly spectacular and as a witness, she has to invite those she loves and cares about to come experience it too! “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be Messiah?”
Wait, did she say “could”?
Weren’t they face to face? Wasn’t she watching his lips move? Didn’t she hear Jesus with her very own ears say; “I am He.” yet she asks her people – “Could this be?”.
I’d like to think I would have behaved differently but I’m pretty sure I’ve been in her Nikes. Nah, I’m confident I have. Doubting, feeling inferior, needing the confirmation of my tribe to help me know if I’m on the right track. Yep, I’m right there with ya sister! But here is the best part; the “light at the end of the tunnel”, The “drum-roll please”, the “finish line”…
“Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him because of the woman’s witness: ‘He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!’.”
The Message John 4:39
She may have been unsure about what Jesus had revealed to her but she was sure about sharing her experience and because she did “MANY Samaritans committed themselves to Him – because of HER witness.”
See, this is where Jesus gets me every time! He uses broken people, who don’t listen, who can’t find Jude or Habakkuk without a Table of Contents and who don’t believe everything he says. He has a use for us! Whatever we bring to Him, He uses. For our good and His glory, He uses it. We are His perfectly imperfect Plan A.
YOU are His perfectly imperfect Plan A.
So get your Nikes on and run to tell your people “Come and see!”. You don’t have to know it all Princess, but don’t ever be afraid to share how He’s changed you. Hold the door open wide so that others can see what He’s done and watch what He does with your little act of bravery. Watch how He makes an outcast into a witness and moves an entire community into a relationship with the King of Kings!
God, YOU are so AWESOME! So incredibly deep and detailed! So intuitive and invested. Sometimes the mystery of your Word just knocks our socks off and leaves us with our mouths hanging open in amazement! But Father, in our awe we also are driven to our knees at the vast plan you have executed throughout all history. And we are humbled that you choose to use us to accomplish your plans and execute your purpose. Open our mouths so we can share boldly with others about how you have changed our lives, how you have saved us from our sins and how desperately you want every single person on this planet to come to repentance. Let us be a witness that leads others to commit their lives to you. Through the blood of Jesus and so let it be.
Today’s post was written by Nora Elkins.
Nora is married 31 years to her first love, Scott. They have raised four children into adulthood and are now enjoying the reward of professional grandparenting. Nora can be found living the real-life version of “Fuller House” in her four generation household – where her 96-year-old dad is the favorite playmate of her precious grandkids. She is a “maker” at heart and loves creating personalized gifts – whether it’s for her shop on Etsy or special orders from friends. She also enjoys coloring in her bible and documenting her faith through journaling and bible study. You can find her serving at our Longwood campus where she practices the spiritual gift of warm hugs and happy smiles and if you’re lucky you may even catch her dancing to the music in the parking lot before service.