You are joining in the middle of a series of posts with excerpts from my book, “Who Do You Think You Are?” focusing on Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the water well (John 4:1-30).
We also know that Jewish leaders of the day considered a woman incapable of a religious education. Jesus engaged her on a deep spiritual level of conversation almost immediately, challenging her understanding of religious teachings. She tried to keep the conversation at the surface, asking about the proper place for worship. Jesus let her ask, then gently guided her back to a level where He could engage her heart. He taught her that what was really important was not where you worship, but whether you worship in spirit and in truth. That was pretty deep for a conversation at a well.
Not only did Jewish leaders consider a woman incapable of a religious education, they saw her as UNWORTHY. Jesus deemed her capable AND worthy of learning … worthy enough to offer her salvation. He tells her that if she knew the gift of God and who it was asking her for a drink, she would have asked Him and He would have given her living water. Jesus invited her into God’s eternal plan.
Finally, women were not considered reliable witnesses in Israel. If Jesus had wanted to spread His Good News through a “respectable” method, He would have had such an encounter with a man. Instead, He chose a Samaritan woman who so changed by their interaction that the first thing she does is witness to her community. She runs and shouts throughout the village, “Come, and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (verse 29). The Samaritan woman goes from avoiding people in the morning to seeking them out in the afternoon! What happened to her? Do you think her view of herself was changed? What happened to the shame she surely must have felt earlier that same day?
On so many levels Jesus defied tradition and culture in this encounter. Before they met this woman felt alienated, used, and abused. But in this one brief conversation she is given a profound message about her true value—one she had likely never heard in all her years. Through their encounter she became both a member and a messenger of God’s Kingdom. Jesus changed her life! She was liberated, His redeemed image-bearer. She received and responded to His unconditional acceptance of her. This is how Jesus Christ wants to change you today.Stay tuned for the next post with more from "Who Do You Think You Are?"