This Samaritan woman was an outcast in many circles. As a Samaritan who was basically a half-breed of Jewish and gentile from way back, she was neither accepted by Jews nor Gentiles. Her religion was a bit of a mix as well. In her community, she was not accepted because of her marital history–5 husbands and now living with a 6th man who was not her husband! I’m certain there were not many parties she could attend. In fact, it is probably why she gathered her water in the middle of the day! She must have been shunned by quite a few women in the village to have changed the time of getting her water to the hottest time of day.
She had no trouble living out in the open. Her sin was obvious to all. It was blatant at a time when most people snuck around with their sexual sin. But Jesus, who already knew about her sinful lifestyle, was not shocked or horrified. He knew her heart. He embraced her in ways most people didn’t. He did not look through her. He listened to her arguments and dealt with them. In the end, He told her that He was Messiah. The one Jews and half Jews were waiting for, to come and make things right.
There was something about His words that had a ring of truth. He looked at her when He spoke to her. He knew what was going on in her life. It was very disarming!
His words had a ring of truth. Of course, she was shocked that he knew of her lifestyle. He was a complete stranger. But in the end, it was this information that convinced her that Jesus was at least a prophet! As He discussed with her, she came to believe He was who He claimed to be.
It is difficult to understand how Jesus was able to embrace sinners. After all, He was holy.
It is difficult to understand how Jesus was able to embrace sinners. Many of us find it difficult to embrace other sinners, and we are sinful ourselves. How was Jesus able to embrace sinners? He was holy. He had never sinned. Maybe that is why He was able to. He didn’t have to deal with being hypocritical or pride or any of a number of motives that we do. He certainly had plenty of temptations along the way in all those areas. But He stayed steadfast and focused on His purpose. He came to redeem people from the power of sin. This woman was definitely under the power of sin…and she knew it.
The problem with many of the religious leaders was that they were also under the power of a different kind of sin–self-righteousness.
The problem with many of the religious leaders was that they were also under the power of a different kind of sin–self-righteousness. But they were totally unaware of it. They thought they were in good shape before a holy GOD. In truth, they were much worse off than people like this woman in Samaria. She knew she needed help and she was getting it.
Action step: What kinds of sin do you struggle with the most? Do you struggle most with hypocritical, self-righteous type sins that often leave you thinking you aren’t a sinner? Or do you struggle more with overt sins that are very obvious so there is no question that you are a sinner? Both put you in a position where you have sinned except that one makes it easier for you to get help. Forgiveness is much easier to find once you acknowledge that you have sinned. You may want to jot down your thoughts on this.
Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself,
as did his sons and his livestock.”
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.
The water that I will 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 will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
John 4:12-15 ESV