Jesus encountered people.
This statement caught my heart and mind and has lingered there for quite a while. Scripture is a collection of broken people encountering Jesus, and when they do, they are never the same. The Lord has led me to share many of these people with you over the next few weeks. John 4:4-42, the Samaritan Woman:(I wrote this for a women’s retreat many years ago)
It’s noon the hottest part of the day and she thinks it’s probably safe to start her journey to the well. I can imagine this nameless woman looking both ways out her door before stepping out. She quietly walks out into the burning sun. As she does everyday, she makes the journey to the well alone…she’s not really alone. She walks everyday with the same baggage: shame, regrets, loneliness, unaccepted, unloved, resigned to this lifestyle for the rest of her life. Her mind replays it with every step. The weight of it all is almost more than she can bear. She rounds the curve on the hot, dusty trail and see’s a man sitting at the well. Not just any man but a Jewish man. She thinks about turning and heading back to town but she has to get water and very soon the sleepy town will awaken from their nap and she will have to face their stares and wagging tongues, she continues on. As she sits her jar down to start the process of filling it, He speaks to her, asking for a drink. She must have been dumb founded that He would even speak to her. 1St: she is a woman, 2nd: she is a Samaritan, and 3rd: she has a reputation. Let’s stop and remember that she hasn’t had a conversation with someone other than the man she lives with in a very long time. Isn’t it just like our Savior to have the longest one on one conversation recorded in scripture with a woman hungry for someone to talk to. How can You ask me for a drink, she asks. 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. I can see that you have nothing to draw with and where can you get living water? Jesus answers, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst again. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. Please give me this water so that I don’t have to keep coming here to draw water, she responds. She was only thinking of her physical needs. Jesus was speaking about her spiritual need. Jesus asks her about her past and she confesses it all to Him. All the baggage she carried to well that day was left at the foot of the cross because of the blood of Christ. She realizes what it means to take freely of the living water. She has met the Messiah. What this woman does next is amazing. She leaves her jar, the very reason she made this journey, and runs back to town…the same town that turns their back on her, whispers as she passes by, and can only stare at her day of day. She shares with them what Christ has done for her. They are amazed that this woman with a stained background is standing before them changed from the inside out. They, too, have to come see Jesus. Many believe because of her testimony and many more believe after meeting Him. Can I tell you the most important part of this scripture isn’t just that she received the living water. It is verse 4: Now He HAD to go through Samaria. Why is this important? Because Jews didn’t travel through Samaria, they went around. But our Lord and Savior had to go through…WHY?.. Because He knew there was a lost soul in Samaria, that her life would be changed forever and so would many in her town. When they encountered Jesus, they were never the same. Oh, how many times I think back to the time that He had to go through a small WV town and find me, lost and in need of a Savior. He met me right where I was and offered living water to my thirsty soul. I pray you too have accepted His gift of life. If not, He will meet you wherever you are and change you too from the inside out.
Thank You Jesus for loving us enough to encounter each of us.