5He arrived at a city in Samaria called Sychar. Sychar was near the piece of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s Well was there. Jesus sat down by the well because he was tired from traveling. The time was about noon. John 4:5-6 GWT
This brief passage in Scripture is full of relatables, can I say that? I have to admit, Friend, that there are a lot of passages (okay, chapters) that I have great difficulty relating to, much less understanding. But these two verses open up a pandora’s box for me right from the start. Come walk with me …
Jesus is choosing to park and pause in an area that is basically detested by the Jews. The Samaritans were the ethnic mixture of Jews and Syrians of their day and their religious practices were largely compromised. Their lifestyle and ethnicity made them undesirable to the Jews.
Knowing that He was passing through — intentionally — this part of town, Jesus chose to refresh Himself where it was considered the pit of Israel. The town in which He decided to rest, Sychar, means ‘end.’ Hold that thought …
The ‘end’ of what?
Enter the woman for whom we all champion. We’ve all walked in her sandals. Exhausted from looking for satisfaction in all the wrong people and places and activities. Fatigued from hiding our shame and guilt of consequences that have befallen us resulting from our poor decisions. Worn out from being rejected, forgotten and abandoned and dreading to have to be recycled yet another time. Living with no sense of worth or identity.
7A Samaritan woman went to get some water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” 8 (His disciples had gone into the city to buy some food.) The Samaritan woman asked him, “How can a Jewish man like you ask a Samaritan woman like me for a drink of water?” (Jews, of course, don’t associate with Samaritans.). John 4:7-8 GWT
Who in their right mind would open the door to an embarrassing and unsightly museum of horrors that wreaks with the stench of harsh words and chaotic thoughts — to a Holy God?
The interruption in this woman’s day, no doubt, shook her world. While we can only speculate what was running through her mind as she was unexpectedly greeted by this kind spoken Jewish man, we can probably safely say that she maintained her distance — not just her physical distance — but her inner distance.
When you and I are met with an event or circumstance that causes us to stop in our tracks and to raise high the guardrails of our heart, there’s cause for examination.
Guilt and shame have that devastating effect on us, especially landing somewhere between the head and heart. Just can’t shake it — like gum stuck on the bottom of our shoes. No matter how hard we try to scrape it off and make it go away, the traces are still visible and the sticky residue remains as a nagging reminder of where we’ve been. And whether it’s all visible to the naked eye, we can see it all as if the replay button is stuck. Our fear is that others can see it as well.
9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” 10 Jesus replied, “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 4:9-10 NLT
Cultural influences of the day can build walls thicker than our minds can imagine. But Jesus wasn’t one to ‘go with the flow’ of society norm. Jesus was every bit counterculture in His dealings with people. He crossed every line of the prim and proper and reached through barriers that were unacceptable. He hugged the leper, embraced the poor, championed the seeker of God.
Things were not much different in His days here on earth. People still fought for justice, the homeless were without a roof and often overlooked, women struggled with infertility and religion and politics were always the headlines. Sounds like today’s edition of the news.
But when Jesus steps up to invite you to conversation with Him — that’s a game changer in the middle of mundane.
“If you only knew.”
Those four words bring an abrupt halt — the end — to this woman’s life as she knew it. For years she had been escaping her hurt and pain of broken relationships and numbed it all by moving on to the next one.
Jesus continues to engage by telling her that what He offers her is still available. He doesn’t say she missed out or that her past has nullified any chance for change. He speaks to her in the present tense, providing the opportunity to change everything moving forward — at that moment.
11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you don’t have anything to use to get water, and the well is deep. So where are you going to get this living water? John 4:11 GWT
And like many of us, her skepticism about His ability to make good on His Promises keeps her at a distance. Sometimes the things we’ve done seem so deep that even God can’t turn them around or make anything good come out from them. We see only the sleepless nights and endless days of spiraling condemnation.
Friend, GOD does not come to call you out to put you to shame or to bring up the sins from your past. If you will take Him at His Word and trust Him with all that, knowing that He came to set you free from the past He will make all things new moving forward. But you have to believe that He can do this for you. And it starts with believing that He is Who He says He is.
Jesus told her, “I am he, and I am speaking to you now.” John 4:26 GWT
I will admit to you here that I once felt that all my messes were way too much for GOD to ‘erase’ and forget. As a reaction to hurt, I hurt others. I had reasoned in my head that I was justified to retaliate against those who had caused me so much pain and agony. It would be years before I realized all that energy was wasted and only added to my brokenness. Jesus stepped into my space and met me at my own well of broken dreams.
The end of your former record with GOD will open up the beginning of things you never thought were possible. I don’t know what your situation may be or what your are currently facing — but GOD does and has been waiting for this moment. Whatever consequences to your actions, He will be there in the midst with you — you can bank on that. He may not instantly remove all the yuck in your immediate space, but He will help you get clean. It is in that process you and He will have a chance to develop a relationship. You will come to know and learn how much He loves you.
For here is the way God loved the world—he gave his only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life. John 3:16 The Passion Translation
If you’re hiding in your own town of Sychar, take hope in the One Who makes all things new. No judgement. No regrets. All because of love. Nothing to lose. Hope and life to gain.
I encourage you, Friend, to pause right where you are to reckon with the GOD of Living Water. He sees you, understands you and calls you to come. Will you take that step towards Him?
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary