18 March 2013

Encountering Jesus: When He asks for a drink...

Like I said last week, I first taught this ladies' Bible study on this passage four and one-half years ago. It is a very involved passage... and so this is week 2 of I haven't decided how many weeks yet working my way through these verses... again.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 
“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” 
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 
“I have no husband,” she replied. 
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. 
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.” (John 4.7-26)

I left off last week with the Samaritan woman arriving at the well, and remembering that many biblical brides met their Bridegroom at a well.

I also imagine she came to the well at a time she knew probably no one would be there. Considering her history and lifestyle, she was probably one of "those women" about whom many spoke in her village, but also one often ignored. Stares, whispers, glances and quick turns to go the other direction might have been a regular part of her daily encounters with her neighbors. She was not what you'd call a reputable woman - the kind of woman I'd want my 15 year old daughter hanging out with and aspiring to be some day. She was probably lonely - but preferred the loneliness to the outright ostracism she received when out and about in town. Thus coming to the well in the afternoon, she might never have expected to meet anyone there, much less a man, much less a Jewish teacher, much less a Jewish teacher who actually spoke to her, who actually initiated a conversation with her - a far fallen woman.

What did Jesus say? "Give me to drink." I love this glimpse into the humanity of Jesus. God doesn't need man, me, to do anything. He is perfectly capable of of speaking all of creation into existence - He clearly doesn't need a human to do anything for Him. Yet when He clothed Himself in humanity, He did. He constrained His all-sufficient divinity within flesh that required mere mortals to care for Him... as a baby... as a child... as a man. He needed a drink of water, He asked for it and this fallen woman was given the opportunity to serve God. "...How many of us have the idea that Jesus should satisfy our thirst, meet all of our needs when the truth is that we should be searching to satisfy Him. We should now be pouring our lives out for Him..." This quote from Oswald Chambers (not exact, for I'm translating back from what I had already translated once into French for the study) is quite convicting. I know I most often come to Jesus and my primary goal is that He meet my needs. It is more rare that I enter His presence with the purpose of presenting myself as a living sacrifice...

The Samaritan woman surprises me with her response: "How is it that you, a Jew, ask me for a drink..." In the French, it is phrased a little stronger. It is more like "How dare you..." That gave me a whole new perspective on this conversation - that perhaps this woman was defensive, not really easy to talk to, perhaps preoccupied, prideful, sarcastic and/or bitter. She might not have been exactly my ideal candidate for a witnessing venture. Yet Jesus persisted, finding bridges that piqued her interest, drawing her into the conversation. He was not put off (or perhaps was able to see behind) by what very well could have been a closed, brusque and quite intimidating exterior.

There's so much amazing beauty, so far, in this Bible story: 
  • a Savior unafraid to walk where others refused to go...
  • ...and willing to talk with those others chose to ignore or avoid, 
  • a lonely woman trapped in sin but still longing for hope and encouragement, 
  • the divine embracing the limitations of His humanity,
  • the All-powerful asking for help from the powerless, and
  • the God-man's gentle but persistent determination to save even those who appear unwilling. 
Jesus followers are encouraged... exhorted... CALLED... to be like Him. The woman in this story does eventually become a follower of the Savior. Will we see how she becomes like Him?

-edited post from the archives;

this week's gratitude list
(#'s 3642 - 3666)

a Savior unafraid to walk where others refused to go...

...and willing to talk with those others chose to ignore or avoid

the very human longing for hope and encouragement

the divine embracing the limitations of His humanitythe All-powerful asking the powerless to help Him

the God-man's gentle but persistent determination to save even those who appear unwilling.

four school days until Easter vacation

tolerating the heat amazingly well

more things off the to do check list

afternoons at the pool

Wednesday mornings with a sweet friend

in depth Bible study

watching teens eat spaghetti with their hands and smiling with spaghetti sauce all over their faces (We're really giving this group of kids high school diplomas in a few weeks?)

watching early elementary kids practicing the play they wrote

M&M tossing her head to show off her new hair cut

Jonathan's first mostly all by himself batch of coffee cake muffins

Nadia and her buddy making the most delicious focaccia bread

sleeping in

sleeping in with the air conditioning still on

downloading The Hobbit

enjoying yet another new episode of The Mentalist

a bridal shower I wish I had been able to attend

fun Facebook conversations about doughnuts

teenagers on scavenger hunts

Elsie Mae's started reading: I Wonder Why Crocodiles Float Like Logs... it's all about camouflage and I love listening to her say that word! 

Ten most recent posts in this series:
Click here for all of the titles and their corresponding links in the Encountering Jesus series

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