“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.’” – Jn 4:7-10
Jesus had decided to leave Judea and was on His way back to Galilee when He stopped in the town of Sychar. Stopping at the well, He engaged a Samaritan woman in what would be one of the most remembered portions of Scripture for centuries to come. In this section, we read Jesus draw reference, once again, to His divinity, for He offers a description of what was once used by God to describe Himself as the “living water” (Jeremiah 2:13; 17:13). He tells her that, had she known the gift of God and who she was speaking with, she would have asked and He would give her “living water” that would become a “spring of water welling up to eternal life” ending the thirst [spiritual thirst] (v. 10-13). Spiritually speaking, this is essential for edification and touches on some of the deeper parts of theology, but I want to consider a portion that is easy to pass in this story.
Samaritans and the Jewish people were at ends for a number of reasons and a brief look in the New Testament shows that this was not an obscure problem, but common enough to draw reference to it several times. Even the woman speaks out to Jesus about this fact, for she asks, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” Our Scripture gives us a hand and adds that “Jews do not associate with Samaritans”; this should not be a matter of dispute. Nevertheless, there was Jesus speaking with one and asking her for a drink; much more than this, He was teaching her.
Matthew was a tax collector when Jesus called him. Soon, they were in Matthew’s home eating and were joined by many other tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:9-13). Seeing this, the Pharisees asked His disciples why He was eating with them – the people of a contemptible sort. They were saying that His company should be kept with the righteous and the testament to His character and truthfulness was bound to the very people He associated with, but this was not a deterrent for Him and He responds by saying that “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
His interaction with the Samaritan woman must have been pretty surprising. Even He offered a shocking parable about the man who was robbed and left for dead, passed by both a Priest and Levite, teaching that it was instead the Samaritan who helped him. They were detestable and, yet, Jesus was speaking with one. So too were the tax collectors and other sinners who gathered at Matthew’s home and, still, Jesus was with them. He reached out to them, taught them, and loved them. He offered them hope and drew them close to Him.
What depths do you consider yourself sunken into that even He would not come to you for your rescue and salvation? No, there is no depth too far for Him to reach. There is no heart wounded too much for Him to heal, nor are there tears enough that He cannot wipe away. What does He do? In our weeping, He strokes our hearts and whispers to us that He loves us and wants us and will never forsake us, for He purchased us at a great price. Jesus came for the specific purpose of saving hopelessly despicable people like us, so that even we could be reconciled to the Father; this was a matter of great pleasure. Rejoice and call out to the One who saves fallen people! Give and surrender your life to the glorious Savior, Jesus, who carried the weight of the world’s sins on the cross for our very redemption.
Glory to the Father through our Lord Jesus. Amen.