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The Woman at the Well… have you ever heard a pastor preach about this story at church? Have you ever read the story in the Bible? Well, it is a good one, and I would like to invite you to join me for this four-part article series as we dive into one of my favourite parables found in John 4 – The Woman at the Well.
In the briefest way possible, the parable is about a very unexpected and life-changing interaction a Samaritan woman, who has been cast out from her society, has with Jesus. If you haven’t read it, I would like to encourage you to do that before reading any further as it will be the context for the entirety of this series.
Throughout our time at The Well we will draw from the living water of God’s Word on the topics of sitting with Jesus, race, justice, sin, and the role of women in the Kingdom of God. We will lean into Jesus’ frank conversation with the Samaritan woman and unpack the ways He lovingly engages with her, acknowledges her shortcomings, yet sends her off feeling accepted, loved, and encouraged. I am so expectant for this time together!
Before we begin, I would like to invite you to take a moment to pause and posture your hearts before the Lord. When Jesus first interacted with the Samaritan woman, it was in the heat of the day and He was tired and weary – I can imagine many of us might feel the same way right now.
I challenge you to slow down, breathe, and wherever you are use this moment to selah – to take a break, to pause, to reflect and to sit in a moment of stillness and silence.
If you would like something to help create this environment in your heart, here is a song from my childhood that I associate with desperate yearning and quiet reflection. Listen to it and allow the lyrics to wash over you!
With that, let’s dive into the first topic for our series – the invitation to sit with Jesus. We will look at Jesus’ understanding around the need to sit (as He is fully man and God), His desire and pursuit to sit with us, and finally how sitting with Jesus satisfies Him more than we know.
Have you ever heard the phrase, God in a bod?
Well, if you haven’t, now you have. Jesus is God in a bod. He is fully God AND fully human and because of that we see the parable of the woman at the well starting with Jesus being described as tired and weary, which are very human experiences, aren’t they? But, when I think about Jesus as a divine being, that portrayal of Him doesn’t line up with what I imagine.
Anyone else forget about Jesus’ humanity sometimes?
Does being reminded about Jesus’ humanity build a desire in you to be that much closer to Him knowing that He is more relatable than we might think?
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet He did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15
Whatever you are going through, Jesus desires to sit in it with you. Right now, right where you are, will you let Him?
So where are you right now? What are you going through? How are you feeling?
For Jesus, He found himself sitting with the Samaritan woman at the well technically named Jacob but we could also call it the well of isolation, shame, and sadness for the woman.
If you had to label your current “well,” what would it be called? Perhaps Jesus is wanting to meet you today at a “well” named loneliness, hunger, or even contentment. “The well” could be a whole spectrum of emotions, truly whatever you are feeling is where Jesus wants to be sitting with you.
For the Samaritan woman, she was on her way to collect water, but little did she know she would encounter the Savior of the world who would forever change her life. The same could be the case for you. Maybe you are on your way to starting school, a new job, moving houses, or just in a new season in general and the Lord is waiting to encounter you there. In all seasons of life, Jesus desires to sit with you AND He is pursuing you in creating that space to be with you.
Did you know that Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well was merely a “pit stop” on His original 64 mile journey from Judea to Galilee? It was technically the main point of the journey, but… what if the “pit stop” was actually His main objective?
I’d like to think that Jesus walked the first 35 miles of His journey with the woman at the well in mind the entire time. I’d like to imagine that Jesus knew well in advance that He and His disciples would stop off in Sychar, Samaria to have this unique and life-changing encounter with the woman, and I don’t think that thought is far off because that is just who Jesus is!
But remember, Jesus is fully God and fully human, meaning that journey’s are physically exhausting. Jesus and His disciples would have been walking through the arid desert in scorching heat with aching feet and sore muscles, probably thirsty and hungry but Jesus’ mood could not deter Him from the joy that was set before Him in His awaiting the encounter with the woman. And soon, despite being exposed to the sun during the hottest part of the day, Jesus’ awaiting joy slowly took the shape of the woman walking toward Him.
And it was there, after Jesus’ long, tiring, yet well timed break His pursuit of the woman resulted in a life changing conversation that would not only change the women’s life, that of her whole town, but also satisfy Jesus’ hunger and thirst.
If you look back at the passage in John 4, does Jesus ever get a drink of water or even food from when He sent His disciples out to get food?
No, yet when the disciples urged Him to eat something Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about”. Jesus was clear that His food was to do the work God had sent Him to do (John 4:34), so meeting the woman’s spiritual needs met Jesus’ physical needs; friends, when we sit with Jesus, He’s the one who gets fed!
Jesus didn’t wait for the woman to notice Him, He struck up a conversation with her and even asked her for a drink of water! And then offered her living water which would satisfy her for eternity! Practically speaking, I’m sure the woman was thinking about what she’d do with all the spare time she’d suddenly have never thirsting again!
Yet, Jesus still went deeper. He didn’t just meet the fruit of her need but dealt with the root of it so that it would never appear again. She ran off full of joy, unable to keep silent about what she’d just experienced.
However, in all of this, Jesus never got the drink of water He asked for. He should have still been thirsty. And yet when the disciples returned and attempted to meet His need, Jesus said He was satisfied.
We are able to satisfy Jesus and be an acceptable offering to Him because His power becomes more perfect in our praise. From the time man walked in the garden with God until now, all God desires is for us to choose Him the way He chose us, and He says in Scripture that He no longer wants our sacrifices but our love and devotion (Hosea 6:6, Living Bible).
But how does this satisfy Him?
We are made in God’s image, therefore, everything we do reflects back on God and reveals His nature. When we are patient and forgiving, God’s own patience and forgiveness is magnified because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We feed the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with our bodies and lives, when we allow our every action to be a form of worship and sacrifice that says, “yes, you are alone are good, O Lord. Only you are holy and worthy to be praised.”
This is such a simple but complex posture for us to take because it requires us to examine the kind of food we are laying on God’s table. We only want to give Him the best right? But it takes a lot of time, prayer and hard work to give Jesus what He deserves.
As we come to a close, let’s enter into another selah and reflect on the offerings Jesus would have us give.
Again, if you would like a little guidance to this time, I would like to recommend one of my favourite songs by Upperroom – Move Your Heart . Just listen or watch the video below and let the lyrics wash over you.
An invitation to sit with Jesus is an invitation to sit with the King, even though we are paupers.
The Lord is consumed with us and wants us to be consumed with Him. I don’t know about you, but that fills me with joy and makes me want to shout and sing. Suddenly the weariness is bearable because Jesus saw us fit to bear it so that He could meet with us!
When I think about that song above and that question about what moves God, I think simply the answer is our time. He just wants our attention.
I believe that’s why the Lord led me to start off this series with a “selah,” because in the pause – the interlude, the rest – revelation comes. And with revelation comes breakthrough, and with breakthrough comes healing. And healing brings restoration. And restoration brings revelation. Rest, revelation, breakthrough, healing, restoration, rest. It is an endless cycle that moves me to tears.
And for that Jesus, we honor you and we ask you to help us to create more moments to sit with you in your presence – being fed at the same time as satisfying you.
Rhesa has always loved words; she was never one of those kids who wanted to be in the great outdoors but could always be found curled up with a book. As she got older, she started writing poetry and songs, and fell in love with words and the God who formed them. Rhesa is passionate about the Word of God and how it leads us into deeper revelation of Jesus. Her prayer is that as daughters of God, we would use the Word as a weapon against the lies of the Enemy, use it as a mirror to see His beauty nestled deep within us, and come into the authority and inheritance that is ours through Christ Jesus
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