The Woman at the Well
Take a moment to mentally travel to Sychar, Samaria, a province of the Roman Empire in the first century AD. Here we will witness a life-changing encounter between two people, a Man and a woman.
The Man was a rising prophet, a rabbi (Jewish scholar or teacher). Large crowds followed Him wherever He went. He was famous throughout many provinces and regions because in His presence people were healed from every disease, sometimes just by touching His cloak. His name? Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus had left Judea and was heading back to Galilee. On the journey, He went through Samaria with His disciples. They had just gone into the town of Sychar to buy food. Jesus was alone and travel weary, so He sat down by a well.
As He rested, a woman walked toward the well, carrying a clay jar. Powder-fine dust coated her feet and sandals as she walked beneath the heat of the noonday sun. She had given up the custom of gathering with the women of the village to draw water in the cooler hours of the day. Her offenses haunted her with guilt and shame, and the villagers knew about her past as well as her current situation. Their whispers and disapproving looks had caused her to take the longer route or choose a less convenient time of day to draw water from Jacob’s well.
It was crystal clear that the ache within her soul felt heavier than any physical burden she might carry. She felt trapped. From her earliest memory, she had longed to feel safe and cared for, significant in someone’s eyes. Looking back on her past, she saw a series of relationships with men that had taken a toll, breaking her heart with each painful failure. The relationship she was now in was yet another mistake.
A few unwanted tears rose in her eyes, threatening to betray the thoughts she desperately wanted to hide. Is this all there is to life? Is this life I am trapped in all I was meant for? Sighing and willing the tears not to fall, she drew near the well. Little did she know that she was about to have a life-changing encounter.
At that well, God Himself was waiting for her, the God who saw her deepest needs.
Have you ever felt like this woman? Longing for safety, meaning, significance, love and fulfillment? Haven't we all? If you are aching and your heart is troubled, I want you to know that Jesus is looking at you. He sees you. He truly does. He knows your deepest needs. Open your heart to Him. You will not be disappointed.
Can you name some common sources we may turn to in place of God as we look for meaning, significance and fulfillment? To whom or what do you turn?