Third Week of Lent

March 15, 2020 |

I have always loved John’s passage of the Samaritan woman. There is a beautiful dialogue between Jesus and the woman who comes to gather water at the hottest time of the day. She expects to find no one at the well. She wants no one at the well, since that makes her life easier. She has endured enough comments and gossiping from others over her failed relationships. She has perhaps been used by others to make themselves feel morally superior to her. As a result, this woman finds some relief in hiding from others as much as possible. But she is very thirsty. Her life has been dried out from broken hopes and dreams that took place from one failed relationship after another.

Yet, God is in the midst of His people. He comes at the most unexpected times and the most unexpected places. He sits at a well, tired, hot and thirsty from a long journey. But He is also thirsting for this woman’s salvation and freedom. Jesus is gentle with her but also probing. He does not accuse or shame her, which would only cause her to hide even more. He simply speaks what is true as a way of helping her examine her life. This woman has not encountered anyone like Christ. She feels safe talking with Him, but at the same time, she keeps her distant calling Him “a Jew.” As they talk, Jesus offers her life giving waters, which she so badly needs. The distance between them lessens as she calls Him “Sir.” Then the conversion takes places after Jesus talks about her previous husbands. She runs to the people she has been hiding from and announces Gospel, good news. She has someone who told her everything she has done. She no longer calls Jesus “a Jew” or “Sir.” He is the Messiah! The waters promised by Jesus are flooding her soul and heart, making her a new creation and giving her a life she has not experienced in a very long time!

At first glance, this passage does not record any miracles occurring. But as you reflect on this event, many powerful deeds are present. She is no longer the same woman who came to the well at the hottest time of the day. She was willing to listen to Christ and face her own emptiness and failed searches for contentment. Her soul is opened to Him and receives the promise of life giving waters, the Holy Spirit. The fear and hiding are gone as she proclaims the good news of Christ. She leads others to Him, who begs Him to stay with them. But did you notice the other miracle? She left behind her water jar before going to the town to announce the presence of the Messiah. That is similar to what happened to Bartimaeus. When he went to Jesus to be healed of his blindness, he left behind his only possession, his cloak. That protected him from the heat of the sun and a cold night. He longer needed that security and protection since he was in the company of Jesus. The woman leaves behind her water jar because she no longer needs it. She has found the true waters of life, the Christ.  She relies on Him and no one else, including herself, to satisfy her thirst.

God is in the midst of His people offering life giving water especially when their lives are parched. He is in the midst of His people when they search in many places and in many ways for anything or anyone that would quench their thirst and fill their emptiness, even if it leads to sin. As with the Samaritan woman, He leads them on an inner journey to look deeply into their lives and admit how lacking they are, even after all their efforts, to satisfy a deep thirst. He offers a gift, if they are willing to accept it, of life giving waters, the Holy Spirit, who will make them come alive, as He did for the woman at the well.

During this this third week of Lent, take time to be with Christ, who is always in your midst. Ask His help to recognize the areas of life that have become dry and parched. Christ offers the gift of life giving waters to quench that thirst. Are people willing, like the woman at the well, to listen to His words, to leave behind jars of all sorts and sizes and rely only upon the Lord and so find the gift of true life He offers?

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold
I freely give
the living water; thirsty one, stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus and I drank of that
life-giving stream.
My thirst is quenched, my soul
revived and now I live in Him.

Horatio Bonar-1846

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