In John 4, we see a woman at a well at noon time. Why isn’t she there early in the day gathering water to complete her daily chores? Or maybe late in the evening to prepare the end of day meal? But no, she is there in the heat of the day when everyone else is busy with other things. She probably sneaks up slowly, cautiously looking over her shoulder, making sure she is unnoticed by the crowds. Carefully and quietly she fills her pot, ready to make a break for it at any moment.
Hidden. In Plain Sight.
Or at least that is how she feels. Five husbands. And now she is shamefully living with man number six. Why can’t I get it together? she asks herself. Her eyes look up from her self-loathing thoughts and they meet those of a man. Gentle. Caring.
The dialogue begins. He is a Jew, she is a Samaritan, yet he asks for water. He speaks of a Living Water that if she drinks of it, she would never thirst again. But then, he exposes her. It’s as if he has been reading her mind the whole time, or maybe he DOES actually know. How could he?
Yet in her exposure, she feels. Accepted. Loved. Empowered. Could he really be the Messiah? MESSIAH? The hope of all nations?
She runs into the town of her shame and proclaims what has happened. This man! He knew everything about me. Come and see. And she took a chance with a group of people seeing her and all of her junk. She put all her cards on the table, but suddenly didn’t feel shame.
Messiah saw her. He knew her. And now she had a responsibility to invite everyone to meet him as she had just done.
She didn’t hide. She didn’t pretend her past away. She owned it. But that wasn’t the end.
John 4:39-42 says, “Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, ‘He told me everything I ever did!’ When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.’”
Say what? They experienced Jesus for themselves as a result of this woman’s faithfulness to share her new found discovery of the Messiah!
What an example, straight out of scripture. We are all a woman at the well. But we have a choice when we meet Jesus face to face. Do we make excuses, hide in fear, or run away? Or do we own our mess, lay it at his feet, repent of our old life, embrace his grace, and run to everyone we know and tell them about this Messiah who just changed our lives?
Yeah, I’m going with the second choice. How about you?
(If you are new to this whole Jesus following thing, check out The Path to Freedom.)