Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Woman at The Well: A Woman of Scripture

[Yesterday we kicked off the (Gentile) Women of Scripture series, you can find Ruth here]

In John 4 Jesus is traveling with His disciples and comes to rest at a well, the disciples go off to find some food while Jesus rests. And as He rests this woman, this Samaritan woman comes to draw some water. Jesus turns to her, and despite all the many cultural reasons why a Jewish man would never address a Samaritan woman He asks her for a drink, He asks her to serve Him. To say she is blown away is the understatement of the year.

When we first hear God's call, when we first realize He wants us to serve Him our response very often is, "Do You know who You are talking to? I mean, really Jesus, You must not know or there is just no way You'd be talking to me!" But He says to us that it is we who don't understand. If we really understood at that point who He was, we wouldn't question why He is calling us. When He calls it can seem odd to us, after all why would God be talking to me?! But still He calls, He sees us going about our business, going back to the same temporal well to fill our needs each day, trying desperately to feel whole, and when He offers that living water, when He offers Himself to us we're amazed because we'd never imagined anything could fill us so that the luster of the world seems to fade. We try to make our lives "better," more complete by our own strength, but this emptiness we feel, this emptiness we try to distract ourselves from can only be filled by God. When He offers this living water, this thing that can make us thirst again we get excited, we cry out just as the woman did, "Lord, give me this water!"

But then He tells us to go get our husband - we have no husband but have been laying down with man after man, temporary fix after temporary fix, sin after sin. I imagine the woman's heart sunk a little as He told her to get her husband, I imagine her shame as she told Him she had no husband. Perhaps she thought, "Oh no, He won't take me now. He won't give me that living water, He won't fill this need now. I've messed up and now He will revoke His offer." Instead of withdrawing, however, He probes further.

The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. (John 4:17-18)

You see we cannot hide anything from God. We can't hide our actions, our thoughts, or even our desires from Him. He sees it all and in spite of this He is still calling. Do you remember? Can you imagine it? The way her heart must of rejoiced! He knew everything about her and still He called her! He calls us to bring forth our "husbands," the idols in our lives to present what we having trying to fill our lives with. I think there are two reasons for this. First, we bring these things forth and must admit to ourselves and to God that we have had idols in our lives, and in bringing them into the light we are able to see that the Glory of God is so much greater than anything. We have the opportunity to rejoice as He shows us the fallacy in our lives. He calls us to bring forth that man, that job, that drug, that TV show, that CD, whatever it is we are using to distract ourselves from Him He tells us, "Bring it here! Set it next to me! I'm going to show you my greatness, so go and get this thing, this powerless thing that has been crafted by man's hand. Go and get it, and I will show you nothing can stand, nothing can over power the beauty of My Glory. Go, get it, I know it's there, bring it forth and release it!"

Can you imagine the excitement as He declared to her that He was the Messiah? As He confirmed her suspicions? Can you hear the joy in her voice as she rushed to tell everyone the Messiah had come? And for some it is like that, someone in their life receives the call and it causes them to wonder, perhaps they even accept that what this person says is the truth as many of the people in John 4:39 did. But those people weren't content with just hearing it from the woman, they needed to hear it from God's own lips, they needed to experience God for themselves. And so it is with us, we cannot ride the back of another, we must go down to that well and meet Jesus for ourselves, we must hear Him ourselves, we must because everything else is a sad substitute to really knowing Him. We must hear His call from His own lips. And when we go down to that well, then we will believe not just because this woman's life has been turned inside out, but because our own lives have been turned upside down. And so it is with the Church. We are called to tell the world about our wonderful Savior, but ultimately we can only point the way. They may believe what they say, but they can only believe because God has enabled them to. We love Him because He loved us first.

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