In John 4 Jesus was facing tremendous opposition from the Pharisees. He had just left Jerusalem and traveled north to Galilee. In order to get to Galilee, the shortest route took Him through Samaria. The Samaritans were a mixed race, part Jew and part Gentile. Jews wanted nothing to do with Samaritans because they could not prove their genealogy. The Jews had become prejudice. This prejudice was so strong that some Pharisees prayed that the Samaritans would not be raised in the resurrection! In John 8:48 it tells us that when Jesus’ enemies wanted to call Him an insulting name, they called him a Samaritan.
We are not born with prejudice; it is learned. Jesus was going to give us a big lesson about prejudice in the story of the woman at the well.
Jesus was weary from traveling and found himself sitting by Jacob’s well waiting for the disciples to get back from town with food. Jesus was alone and did not have a ladle or bucket in which to get a drink. When a woman from Samaria appeared at the well to draw water, Jesus immediately asked her to draw Him a drink. He did not inquire about her lineage, wealth, or even the history of her life. He simply asked for a cup of water. Her reply to Him was, “’How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ She replied, ‘Where do I get that living water?”’ Jesus answered, “’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 4:3-15)
This account in God’s Word is not about physical thirst or a physical body needing water; it is about Jesus being the spiritual water we need, crave, and which sustains all who know Jesus as their Savior.
Water is no respecter of persons. In order for us to live, water becomes the very essence of existence. Let’s spend a few moments thinking about what water does. It washes away dirt, grime, and even detoxifies. It cleans the air, the earth and the body. Through its nourishment it keeps all of nature and our bodies in perfect balance and functioning properly. Without water we could not exist.
When Jesus was talking to the lady at the well, He told her He was the living water and that this living water, if accepted, would wash away the dirt, grime, and sin in her life. If I could put it another way, it was going to detoxify her. She no longer would have to come to the well at certain times and alone. People mocking and staring would no longer be a part of her life. Jesus saw her, and he saw her heart!!! It did not matter the color of her skin, where she had been born, or where she lived, or what she had done in her life. What mattered is without her accepting the living water (Jesus Himself), she would always be thirsty. Thirst calls us to the well, but asking for a bucket or ladle in which to drink holds the key to never thirsting again. Jesus tells her, “Whosoever continues to drink of this material water (or anything the world has to offer) will thirst again. But whosoever takes one drink of the water I give will never thirst again.” (John 4:13-14) That required a bucket or ladle to draw a drink. It required asking.
If we know the Lord Jesus Christ, then prejudice should never be a part of our lives! It was never a part of Jesus’ life, and His example is to be who we are as well. Sheila Walsh put it this way: “Can you imagine how the world would be transformed if we all chose to live with gracious, generous hearts? Can you imagine the peace we would encounter if we set aside our petty differences and narrow-minded prejudices and embraced one another as we have been embraced by Christ? This kind of living would transform everything it came in contact with.”
What does the Lord require of you? “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
“Father God, help us to see others through Your eyes. To care as You care and love as You have loved us.” Amen.