I smiled as I read the first half of John 4 yesterday, perhaps you will, too.
Jesus was trying to fly under the radar, so when the Pharisees caught wind of Him, He left the Judean countryside and headed back to Galilee.
He was traveling through Samaria when He sat down at a well around noon to rest.
The well was deserted, all except for the lone woman who came to draw water. Why was she filling her water jugs in the heat of the day? Why hadn’t she gone in the cool of the morning? Why didn’t she wait for the cool of the evening? Years ago Max Lucado pointed out that she was likely trying to avoid her gossiping, judgmental, shaming neighbors.
I don’t blame her.
But here’s one of the things I love about Jesus in this encounter:
He didn’t shame her.
He just matter-of-factly told her the truth about herself. And He asked her for a drink of water.
He let her be helpful; He let her be needed; He let her matter.
And then He told her a secret: “I am the Messiah.” Whenever I read the account, I always read His words in verse 26 as a whisper.
He gave her the honor of being the first person He straight up told that He is the Messiah.
Well, well, well, imagine that, a woman! The disciples couldn’t imagine it. When they returned from their lunch-buying mission, they were surprised to see Jesus talking with a woman. They sure wouldn’t.
The “godly” men at my [former] church sure wouldn’t, either. Heck no! And risk their “godly” standing?
But it didn’t matter what the disciples thought, it didn’t matter what they would or wouldn’t have done, or what they might have whispered amongst themselves. The only thing that mattered was what she dropped her water jugs and ran to town to tell:
She had met the Messiah!
She RAN to the very people she had been hoping to avoid. Because once you’ve had face time with Jesus, the opinions of people pale. They still hurt, sometimes, but they pale.
Lots of Samaritans believed that day, some because of her testimony and some because they were intrigued enough to go meet Him.
“Women must remain silent in the church,” Paul? So glad this woman didn’t remain silent in Samaria.