Mercy at the Well

Read John 4:3–29.

It was mid-day, when the sun was highest in the sky. That meant it was hot, but it also meant there would be no one else at Jacob’s well, doing the hard work of collecting water. That’s what the Samaritan woman wanted—to avoid the stares and whispers of others in the village. Only, when she arrived, she discovered she was not alone after all. A Jewish man was sitting by the well.

Then something strange happened. This Jewish stranger spoke to her: “Give me a drink,” He said (John 4:7). Now, Jews and Samaritans did not normally associate with each other, not with the hundreds of years of bad blood that existed between the two groups. What’s more—outside of his wife, mother, or sister, a Jewish man would not normally speak with a woman in public. This small request for water was breaking all kinds of social norms. But this Jewish stranger was Jesus, and He had never been terribly concerned with social norms.

As their conversation stumbled forward, Jesus revealed to the woman that He knew all about her life. She had been married five times and was now living with a man who was not her husband (John 4:18). But it didn’t matter to Jesus what she had done or what had been done to her. It didn’t matter that He was a man and she was a woman. It didn’t even matter that she was a Samaritan. Jesus loved her all the same. He offered her the “living water” of eternal life (John 4:10, 13–14).

Jesus makes the same offer to men and women today. It doesn’t matter where you grew up or what’s in your past. What matters is Jesus. He invites you into a relationship with Him. He holds out a cup of living water and a fresh start. And if you’re wondering what sort of transformation can take place when Jesus gets hold of your life, just look to the Samaritan woman. She went from living an isolated life, determined to avoid the eyes of accusation, to shouting for the whole village to come and meet Jesus (John 4:28–29, 39–42). Because of the living water Jesus gave her, her entire town was transformed. 

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