I mentioned at the beginning of the year (it seems like years not months ago), how I felt God was speaking to me, particularly through the story of the Samaritan women at the well. John 4:5-42.
I think it’s a story that has so much to teach us about our relationship with God. How much he loves us. How he reaches out to those on the margins. Everything is in this story, salvation, hope, even comedy, double meanings and misunderstandings. Jesus offers the woman living water (the common or garden phrase for ‘running water, as oppose to still or stagnant), and the woman reminds Jesus he has no bucket. Is Jesus greater than Jacob, the original giver of the well (take note of the ’our father Jacob’, tribal claims of water rights, still a sore point in that region). She can’t quote Exodus, since the Jews claim that as their text. When Jesus responds with the promise of a water that will mean she never thirsts again, she suddenly almost becomes submission (This is a massive promise in that region water is everything). I don’t expect she really knows what it is he is really offering, but she wants it.
Similarly as in his response to the rich young ruler, Jesus puts his finger on the point where her life is most in need of living water. The repartee starts again ‘Call your husband’. ‘Haven’t got one.’ ‘No-five down, one to go.’ Oops, change the subject please get the discussion away from me…’ Are you a prophet by any chance? We have this thing about which mountain we should worship on’ (Contextualise: ‘Oh you’re from that church, are you? Bit dodgy’? Always a good distraction).
Objection overruled and Jesus brings it back on track. ‘Spirit, not mountains not even Jerusalem, is what matters; and the one God is looking for Spirit filled-people right now.’ ’Oh very interesting-of course one day the Messiah is coming. He’ll explain all this complicated stuff. ’Phew. Read Let’s not get too far into this stuff. Pause. No way off the hook. The tired thirsty Jewish rabbi Jesus holds her gaze. Ego eimi,ho lalon soi: ‘I am, who am speaking to you.’ Messiah, and…’I am’? (‘’I who speak to you am he.’ Hairs on the back of your neck, moment.) End of repartee. Time for action, full disclosure and life changed. This encounter changes a life, changes a town. Jesus meets us at our point of need and changes us, and in changing us allows us to be involved in changing others.
God Bless, Dave