This message is the first in a series I introduced in the previous post. https://janetdecaster.com/encountering-the-truth/
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.” – John 4:25-26
Life can be messy. Things sometimes turn out differently than we’ve hoped, planned, or prayed. In times of discouragement, we can think we’ve blown it so badly that our life is beyond repair. Or, perhaps that the loved one we are praying for has gone ‘too far’ to ever come (or come back) to faith? If you’ve ever felt that way (or know someone who’s there right now) read on as I share a few insights on one woman whose life was a real mess! But, her ‘mess’ became her message when she met Jesus Christ, the MESS-iah! One encounter with Jesus, and the truth he spoke, turned her life around. (see John 14:6) He’s an expert at cleaning up messy lives. You can find her full story in the Gospel of John (Holy Bible), at John 4: 1-42. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+4%3A1-42&version=NKJV
Her life was a mess, and deep down inside, she knew it. One broken relationship after another had left her feeling empty inside. Seeking yet another relationship with a man was all she knew to do to try to heal the hurt in her heart. And so the pattern continued. Secretly, she hoped the Messiah she’d learned about in her early religious training was coming soon. Maybe he’d come and help her clean up her messy life? But, meanwhile, she was just surviving. The invisible mask she wore was for self-protection. She’d plaster a smile on her face as she did her daily chores, but inside, she was broken-hearted. At least busyness kept the feelings of loneliness, guilt, shame, and rejection at bay.
It was just another ordinary day. Instead of going to the well in the cooler morning hours, like the other women in her town, she’d go at midday. Why? Perhaps so that she could avoid the gossip amongst the other Samaritan women due to her many divorces. It was easier this way.
As she approached the well to draw her daily water, she saw a stranger sitting beside it. ‘Oh no!’ she thought to herself. His dress and manner gave him away as a Jewish teacher, and she was a Samaritan. Jews and Samaritans didn’t mix well due to a historical prejudice between them. Besides that, rabbis certainly didn’t speak to Samaritan women alone! The Jews wouldn’t even share eating or drinking vessels with Samaritans, who were mixed-race and considered ‘unclean.’ They rarely came to Samaria. It was extraordinary to see this guy alone by her town’s well! But she needed water. Oddly, he addressed her and said to her, “Give me a drink.” (v.7) (He didn’t have a bucket with which to draw water from the well, and she did).
Then, a conversation ensued. To her surprise, he started talking about “living water” (v. 10), from which she could drink and “she’d never thirst.” and which would bring “everlasting life.” (v.14). This was weird and getting weirder, but she was intrigued. He seemed so different, not like the other men she’d known. He seemed to be so respectful! How odd! She felt an unusual peace and comfort in his presence, too.
As they continued speaking, this stranger suddenly seemed to ‘know* things about her life. SECRET things, of which she was ashamed. He somehow knew she had had five husbands and was now living with a man she wasn’t married to. (v. 18) Shocked and sensing something supernatural was happening, she said, “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet.” (v. 19) As they talked further, she learned that this stranger, who knew all about her messy life and accepted her despite it all, was the Messiah (the Christ), sent from God! (v.26) She was thrilled, to say the least! More than that, she was changed by the encounter with Jesus. The hopelessness left, peace filled her soul, and a new sense of purpose came into her life instantaneously.
Beside herself with joy, spiritually and emotionally freed from the shame of her sinful choices, she returned to her town and “said to the men, “Come see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (v.29) Heeding her words, they went and saw Jesus for themselves. “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.” (v. 40)
The woman had a life-changing power encounter with supernatural truth revealed to and through Jesus Christ that changed the course of her life. His grace and forgiveness flooded through her and healed her self-image. Instead of keeping it to herself, she shook off the invisible shackles of sin and shame, literally becoming the first woman Evangelist we learn of in the Gospels. The spiritual revival sparked by her testimony planted a new faith community amongst the Samaritans, a once rejected people because of this woman’s witness for Christ!
How about you?
Are you ready to begin (or renew) a conversation with Jesus? No mess is too complicated for Jesus to clean up, and no sin is too great for him to forgive! Just like the woman at the well, he’s waiting to chat with you (through prayer and via the Holy Spirit) and for your heart to receive his message of grace. If you quiet yourself and begin to listen, I’ll bet He could turn your mess into a message, too.
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Check out this short clip of a discussion from The Chosen © series to bring more ‘color’ to the story of The Samaritan Woman. Check out the series if you haven’t seen it. I love it!
*”knowing” of a holy, supernatural origin is a gift of the Holy Spirit called the ‘word of knowledge’ by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 12:7. For more on the gifts and guidance of the Holy Spirit, check out my book: “GOD SPEAKS: The Guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts & Today found at https://janetdecaster.com/books
**Source material (outside Scripture text) taken from commentary notes to John 4 found in “New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, Third Edition”, ©2018, Thomas Nelson Publishers and “The Hayford Bible Handbook”, ©1995, Thomas Nelson Publishers. Both were edited by the late Jack W. Hayford.