The Thirsty Woman
There once was a woman who lived in a small village in Samaria. She was thirsty…longing to satisfy something so deep and overwhelming that she didn’t know where to go to find relief. Day after endless day she went to a special well, the one that her ancestral father, Jacob, had used many years before to quench his thirst.
She was a Samaritan or “half-breed” which meant she was considered unclean according to Jewish tradition. Not only was she condemned because of who her parents were, she was also a lowly female and a sinner that had been sexually involved with several men; constantly searching for something, anything to take away the unquenchable desire in her soul.
So daily, when no one was around, she walked the dusty path seeking to find a temporary fix, just like she had done with the many men she had known…men she had given her body to but not her heart. She had vowed to never give her wounded heart to anyone again.
Then on a very special day she met what she thought was one more ordinary man at the well. Perhaps she was thinking, “I wonder what this guy wants” and was surprised when all He requested was a drink from the well. I’m sure she questioned in her mind: Now why in the world would a Jewish man ask me, a sinful Samaritan woman for the time of day, much less for a drink of water? I already have three strikes against me. I’m a Samaritan and a woman with a past.
My question is far more complex. “Why would the Messiah ask anyone to give Him anything?” After all, this was the very One who took ordinary water and turned it into the finest of wines. Yet in His humanity, He was thirsty, just like all of us. As He identified with her in this way, her hardened heart was softened so that she could be forever changed by this divine encounter.
To help her feel comfortable in this awkward situation Jesus revealed a mystery. He told her that He could give her something far greater than the fine wine He had created at the wedding in Cana. He could give her living water that would forever quench her thirsting soul.
Being cautious, she distracted Him with questions. She wanted to know who He really was. After all, lots of men had made tempting offers to her in the past. They’d offered to love her and take care of her and she hoped they would quench her thirsty soul…but they never did. They made lots of wonderful promises that didn’t pan out, so she decided, If I couldn’t trust them then I can’t trust this man either. Surely He’s going to let me down just like everyone else.
So in her own way she asked Him: Just WHO are You anyway? Are You greater than our father, Jacob, that drew water out of this well? And is this mysterious water You’re offering greater than his? Jesus confidently replied, “Yes, My living water will not only quench your thirsting soul but it will also spring up eternal life within you.”
Still cautious, the woman responded with a challenge, If and only if you can meet my physical needs then I’ll try Your water. As only He could do, Jesus looked past her eyes and into her soul and went straight to the heart of her questions. He revealed that He knew everything about her, the good and the bad, and He still wanted to have a personal relationship with her.
Realizing that He was a spiritual man, the woman’s heart was pricked….or perhaps her curiosity was aroused so she responded with another question, What is the correct way to worship? Is it found in the enthusiastic style of my Samaritan ancestors or in Your legalistic Jewish method? Surprisingly, He said that neither was correct. He told her that God is more interested in the heart of worship than in the method of worship. He is seeking devoted worshipers who express their sincere, heartfelt adoration and reverence for Him in spirit and in truth.
With this answer she began to ponder, Perhaps this man really is different. Something about Him reminds me of the ancient prophesy about the Messiah that will come one day and change the world. He will declare all things to us, just as this man has. Then Jesus confirmed her suspicions and told her He was The One.
Like all of us, she now had a choice to make. Would she turn away, believing that He was like all the others who had made false promises to her in the past? Or would she break her vow and give Him her heart? Something stirred within her and she embraced her Savior. She drank of the Living Water and her driving thirst was finally quenched. She met her Lord that day and was forever changed. As a result, an overwhelming joy welled up within her and began to flow out to others.