There wasn’t supposed to be anyone there. That’s why she had braved the noonday heat to come draw water. Most of the women went in the morning, during the cool of the day. Not her. Who needed the upturned noses and sidelong looks? So she’d had five husbands. So the man she was with now wasn’t her husband. Didn’t mean she was any worse than the rest of them. She’d done what she’d had to do.
She approached the well in spite of the stranger’s presence. One man sitting alone was less intimidating than a flock of gossiping women. He’d probably just ignore her anyway. His clothes and appearance marked him as a Jewish teacher, and Jewish men didn’t speak to women in public. Especially Samaritan women.
But he spoke to her, his words polite and respectful as he asked for a drink. It caught her off guard. Maybe he hadn’t noticed the obvious.
“You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman,” she said. “Why are you asking me for a drink?”
He smiled. “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me and I would give you living water” (John 4:10).
If she had only known. At that moment she didn’t recognize it wasn’t just any man sitting by the well. Not a mark, not another potential lover, but God made flesh. He was the one who could quench her thirst for love, who could wash her clean, who could drench her life in meaning and significance. She didn’t see it at first. She did eventually, but first Jesus had to sluice off the sludge she had been swimming in. When her eyes were opened to the truth she dropped the water jug and hit the road, her thirst overcome by the urgency of telling the world that the Messiah was here. And had spoken to her.
“If you only knew the gift God has for you.” What am I missing because I don’t recognize the magnitude of God’s gift?
Living by grace instead of guilt?
Power to change instead of cycles of failure?
Enjoying life instead of surviving it?
Finding mission instead of mundane?
What would God give us if we only knew to ask?
This is what I must remember. Jesus didn’t just come to give me eternal life. He came to save me today, where I live. He brings me from defeat to victory, from sorrow to joy. He takes the ashes of my failures and clothes me with gladness, satisfies my thirsty heart with living water. If I fail to appreciate the greatness of the gift, it may be because I have forgotten the significance of the Savior.
What I need is what the woman at the well needed: a fresh encounter with Jesus. When I know the one I’m speaking to—his love, his acceptance, and his grace—it changes everything. It frees me to turn from the wells I’ve dug for myself, fall at his feet, and ask him for living water.
Jesus is waiting. What will you ask him for today?
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