For those who call Sandpoint home, this is the week where the world begins to spin in a normal rotation. Routines are implemented, school is in session and the vacations are usually over with. Most people go back to slower traffic and a simpler pace. We know that God is not only found on a summer mission trip or family camp experience but also in the mundane of our daily lives.
When Jesus met the woman at the well in John 4, the mundane day turned into an encounter that would transform a region and heal a heart. The Samaritan Woman often gets a bad wrap for being a woman who had low morals or an indecent lifestyle. I would offer a different perspective on the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus encountered her, spoke to her, acknowledged her pain and revealed His grace. Jesus set her free, but not the way we perhaps have been taught to think.
We see several things happen in the exchange between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. First, they talked. This is a profound issue for that culture. Judaism had taken over the Hebrew culture as a twisted form of their heritage and religion. Judaism added over 400 laws to the Pentateuch and over 100 of those laws were directly oppressive to women. Women were not allowed to speak to any man in public. Women were not allowed to be taught spiritual truths as they were deemed too dumb to be worth teaching. Women could not testify in court or make any legal requests.
When Jesus spoke to her, he was breaking the rules of Judaism. This is part of her surprise at the start of their conversation. One thing to remember is that Jesus began teaching her spiritual truths about healing, another forbidden act under Judaism. Jesus then extends his love and grace when he discussed her relationships and trail of brokenness.
Jesus ministered to her knowing her history and acknowledged the hurt and rejection that she had experienced as a woman that couldn’t even file for a divorce or fight it. She had been divorced and thrown away five times and the man she was with was unwilling to make her a wife. Her response to Jesus is telling, because she didn’t respond with shame, regret or even reveal her deep brokenness. She acknowledged that He was from God and He then gave her the keys to true healing.
Jesus let her know that she could worship outside of the Judaism and Samaritan rituals. He assured that God would honor her heart and honesty amid her brokenness because true worship is in Spirit and truth. Jesus personally entrusted a broken woman from a shamed culture with the greatest truth to ever be heard in all of history. “The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (v. 25-26).
Not only did Jesus break the rules to reach this woman, he empowered her to be the first evangelist and minister of the Gospel in the world. God puts a priority on healing our brokenness and transforming us into powerful agents of change to reveal that He is the Messiah. Every evangelist will point to Jesus for people to encounter Him personally, and she played her God given role to perfection!
John 4:39-42, “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
Chris Bassett is the senior leader at Harvest Valley Worship Center, which can be found online at hvwc.com.