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Extreme Makovers of the Bible; the Samaritan Woman
by Melanie Sita
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Some of the first encounters with Jesus ministry seemed least likely. Within the first few chapters of each of the four Gospels, a leper, a Roman Centurion, a paralytic and a ‘sinful’ woman, were among the few whose experience with the Messiah revealed an unfamiliar, yet extraordinary God. For “though He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”(John 1:10-13)

But to those who truly DID receive Him, who truly grasped the wonderful mystery of God, through the person of Christ, the encounter would leave them profoundly changed. One such ‘extreme makeover’ is found in the 4th chapter of the gospel of John: On his way to Galilee, Jesus stops in a small town in Samaria. “Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.”

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (John 4:6-8)

The sixth hour is better known as noon. Many bible teachers would agree that noon seemed a strange time to fetch water. Carrying a large and heavy jar in the midday sun would likely be avoided by most, since they would probably have completed this wearisome task in the earlier or later part of the day. Maybe this woman didn’t want to be bothered. Perhaps in the past, there’d been a day when she enjoyed the regular ‘water time’. , five marriages had possibly left her feeling rather condemned. Now, she’d rather just avoid the stares and whispers. We do get a sense that life has not been easy for this lady. Five failed marriages tend to leave one very untrusting, if not completely dead inside. There may have been great hopes at first to live ‘happily ever after,’ chasing the desire to be loved and cherished. She’s seen ‘the writing on the wall’, and the stark reality of a loveless life, she no longer sees the point in committing to marriage. Weary and hot, the heaviness of the jar may have been her deepest thought as she struggled through the motions of this dreaded task. Used to being virtually invisible, Jesus may have startled her when he spoke.

“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” The bible said that Jews did not associate with Samaritans, so can you imagine her shock? A Jewish man has not only spoken to her, but he seemed to have respect and recognition of her value as a human being.

Now we don’t know what has happened to this woman, but given a little knowledge of the culture, her many divorces may have not been her own choosing. While it’s possible that she may have left – disillusioned or disappointed, it is in all likelihood that her husbands pursued them. They were easily obtained in that point in history. Perhaps with each new relationship, her span of loyalty and submissiveness grew shorter, distrust came sooner. Tenderness dissolved more rapidly to hostility with each instance, til now…marriage just seems too permanent and serious an institution for something she knows just won’t last.

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 1:10)

Staring in the face of this strange man, she’s almost rude. She’s been hurt enough out of life, she’s earned the right. “And just who are you?” she essentially asks the Son of God “Are you greater than Jacob and our other ancestors?”

Jesus proceeds to tell this woman that the water He offers is living water that will satisfy the thirsty, never to need water again.

“Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” I can almost see her half-hearted smile, just as Jesus throws her this zinger… “Go, call your husband and come back.” The smile fades.

Hmm… “I have no husband,” she tells Him.

He then surprises her further, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Uh oh…he knows! All she wants is to get off the subject of her own life. “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” I know how she felt. I did the same thing. When someone shared with me about Jesus and how he offered forgiveness to me, how he could change my life…I’d want to discuss what I knew about religion.

I can almost hear her thoughts “If only I could find someone to be happy with, I pursue faith and religion a little more. If I could only get my life together, sure, I’ll come to your church.”

The woman wants to discuss the religion she knows…though what she does know, she hasn’t embraced…she’s never felt very comfortable…actually she feels like they’d condemn her lifestyle…and they’d be right. Now, with all these marriages behind her, she’s perfectly aware of her sin. She could explain each relationship and why they hadn’t worked out, but hearing the cold, hard facts; “you’ve had five husbands!” the excuses suddenly grew strangely small.

She searched his face for the usual condescending piety, but found none. Instead he continues indulging her conversation even though he apparently knows her ‘secret.’ “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jeruselem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Strangely comfortable, suddenly this ‘talk’ seems no longer religious, but relative. She’s truly interested and suddenly remembers something she’d been taught.

“We’re waiting for the Messiah! He’ll tell us everything!

“I am HE” Suddenly we realize that this entire thing has been prearranged by a loving Father who passionately pursues His children. He knew this woman, he knew how to reach in and touch the deep places of her heart. How very practical…how relative to real life.

“I am He” the one who offers living water, with the power to put things back, to restore, to cleanse, to forgive. What a bold, beautiful statement! Can you imagine her response? We get to see her response. The woman left her jar and ran to town. God had given her new confidence. He’d spoken to her with awareness of her value. She’d been uncovered, laid bare, yet now she was unashamed, restored…innocent! Immediately, she lost all her co-dependency on relationships, her low self-esteem, self-analyzing…even her practical need…for water! (she left the jar)

Now she couldn’t keep that knowledge to herself. If this was true, the long awaited Messiah had come and he’d revealed Himself to a…a…Samaritan woman? Pretty unbelievable, but her convictions must have been passionate because the town people followed…and believed.

And now… just as that Samaritan woman, the most unlikely vessel, announced to her neighbors, I tell you the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Savior of the World has come. He’s Jesus Christ, the Lord!

If you know that you are that Samaritan woman, God has an appointment with you today. He’s known you before you ever came to be and He’s been pursuing you passionately. He knows all you’ve done, how you’ve lived and the choices you’ve made. Yet, he says “I love you.” He’s offering living water that satisfies. Will you allow Him to give you an extreme makeover? You can receive forgiveness and a brand new heart.


Written by: Melanie Sita
The author may be contacted at http://www.nakedandunashamed.org melanie@nakedandunashamed.org.

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