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John’s gospel post 28: Jesus knows

October 10, 2013

“I’ve been here since long ago buried in my tears
Feels like I’ve walked alone for a thousand years

So many people they don’t give a damn
They look away when they see what I am
I’ve been like half a man but I could be whole
Won’t you befriend this solitary soul” – Spock’s Beard – Solitary Soul (from the album “Snow”)

John 4:8 – 18

So again Jesus is going for the personal approach. The audience of one. He breaks the silence. “Please can I have a drink.”

May seem a reasonable question to us but the woman was taken aback. “Why are you a Jew talking to me – a Samaritan woman?”

It seems there were 2 reasons there why she did not expect this stranger to speak to her. Both being a Samaritan and a woman would surely put her in his bad books. But even the simple request Jesus makes cuts across all that.

She protests. 

Jesus responds, again making big claims about himself in the process. “If you knew God and if you knew me, you would be asking me for water”.

Living water – that bit goes over her head.

It’s a bit like that “you must be born again moment” in chapter 3, where Nicodemus responds at least slightly mockingly. She similarly responds “You haven’t even got a bucket! How are you planning to get down that deep? Just tell me where I can buy this living water”. At least she is intrigued.

But. Living water. She’s on to something. “Are you greater than Jacob – our great ancestor who built this well?”

Jesus points to the well. “Drink this water and tomorrow you’ll have to come back for more. But drink the water I’m offering and you don’t need any more. What I give you quenches your thirst and gives you eternal life.”

The woman seems to miss the eternal life bit and latches on to the “never thirsty” concept. Maybe again she is mocking or maybe she is seeing and hearing something more. “Give me this water. Then I won’t be thirsty and I won’t even have to come out here in the heat”.

One less chore.

“Go and get your husband”. It’s all been good natured to this point. It’s an awkward moment now. “I don’t have a husband”.

Perhaps the woman expected Jesus to be awkward and blurt an apology. But his words are electric.

“I know”. How does he know? Who’s he been speaking to? No one. He’s here alone.

“I know. I know about all your husbands. I know about your live in boy friend now”.

This complete stranger knows. He knows it all, Stuff that she carries around like baggage. Stuff that may have caused her to be rejected in the town. Maybe this was the reason she came to the well when no one was around. All those faithful married women who looked down their noses at her.

She was used to rejection but here was someone who seemed to be cutting across all that but he knows! More rejection on the way?

But actually Jesus does not back off. He intentionally travels to an area where his neighbours would not go. He talks to an enemy. A woman. A woman with a bad reputation in town.

When was the last time you went out of your way to speak to someone like that? When did I actually think “Hey the love of God that is in me can see past what everyone else sees.”

Someone the world rejects. Maybe even that the religious people reject. But Jesus steps into their world. And as Christians we are called to be his hands and feet,

What line will you cross today? Who will you speak to?


From → Christianity

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  1. Not to thirst again | daily meditation

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