He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
(John 4:3-15, NKJV)
Suppose you were going about your daily business, not thinking about anything in particular. You go through the same routine – get up, get dressed, and get out the door to work. Yet, as you run through the same routine day after day, a part of you is empty … so empty that you keep trying to find or invent something new to shove into it, hoping that the hollow, aching feeling will finally go away, or at least dull down a little bit. To most people, you are just an Average Joe, but to yourself and those who know your story, your life is just a shell and a lie. And, somewhere deep inside you, you find you resign yourself to things always being this way.
The Gospel of John shares a story very much like this in the fourth chapter. Jesus, for some unknown reason, has led his disciples on a slight detour through the slums – He has taken them through Samaria. And, even worse, He has had them stop there for provisions. While they are off on their chores, a village woman comes to the town well to draw out her daily supply of water. We don't know what she was thinking, but we do learn a few things about her. Jesus, of course, knew them all along. She was His very purpose for this little side trip in the first place.
So along comes our villager and a strange man (a Jew at that) asks her for a drink. The conversation goes back and forth until the Truth begins to confront her. He can see into her soul and He sees the dry, longing to be free and loved. He sees she has searched for something to fill the void and is currently on her sixth man. She has sold her self-worth for a little companionship, but she ends up just feeling used over and over again. And then He offers her what she really needs – Living Water!
Of course, she doesn't grasp this at first (how many of us do?) and she plainly tells Him that he doesn't have so much as a ladle or a bucket. The Truth pierces the veil of her understanding further and tells her, in so many words, that He can quench that longing for love and acceptance she so desperately wants. She still doesn't completely understand, so the Truth further reveals that He knows her well and is still willing to make the same offer. In the end, she is so elated that she goes and finds her closest friends and tells them of her encounter. In the dialogue that follows, she speaks with hope of having been confronted by the Messiah, and somehow we know she will never be the same again.
In our lives, we often tend to wear various masks or use other devices to conceal who we really are or to convince somebody else to believe what we want them to believe. We go along our way, silently crying out inside, afraid that if somebody every got close enough to know us deeply, they would reject us in a New York minute. Our fear reinforces the cycle and we continue to hide from our family, our spouses, our friends, and anyone else who may cross our path. If we really believe in Christ as our Messiah, we don't have to live this way any longer.
The Truth has already confronted us and offers us the same Living Water that He spoke of to the Samaritan women almost 2,000 years ago. The Water has not gone stale and it is never in short supply. It is ours to draw out whenever we need it and drink deeply. As we travel along our Crooked Path, we do so confident that our Savior has placed that well spring of Living Water within us … and we don't need to hide from the Truth any more. He isn't going to condemn us or run away from us. And that, my friends, is a truly liberating thought.
- What are you hiding or who are you hiding from? And, while we're at it, why are you hiding in the first place?
- Do you fear that if people really got to know you they would reject you? Is your own self-image damaged, or have you seen your soul reflected in the pool of the Living Water?
- Are you ready (and willing) to take off your masks, tear down your walls, and live fully and freely knowing that you have been confronted by the Truth and not condemned by Him?
NKJV - Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.