Jesus meets the lucky Samaritan woman

During his life and ministry when he walked physically on earth over two thousand years ago, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ traveled to many places and preached the Gospel to many people. Even so, many people who desired to see and talk to Jesus in person could not do so. With determination, some were able to see or talk to him. Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish ruling council, for example, came to see Jesus secretly at night to ask some questions; and Zacchaeus, the tax collector, climbed a tree just to catch a glimpse of him.

One lucky woman, however, woke up one day and started her daily routine of going to the well to fetch water. The Samaritan woman, whose chance encounter with Jesus is recorded in John Chapter 4, was not thinking about Jesus when she woke up that day. She probably had no idea that Jesus and his disciples were in Samaria. Yet, she had a chance encounter with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that would change her life and the lives of many people in her town.

We do not know the name of the Samaritan woman, but I call her “The Lucky Samaritan Woman” for a number of reasons: (1) She met and talked to Jesus without any prior effort on her part; (2) Jesus begged her for a drink of water; (3) Jesus engaged her in the longest, one-on-one conversation between himself and anyone that is recorded in the Bible; (4) Jesus revealed to her, perhaps for the first time, that he was and is the Messiah called Christ; and (5) She became a believer and an evangelist for Christ when she went to the town, told the people about him, and led them to Christ which resulted in many of them becoming believers.

Jesus and his disciples were traveling from Judea to Galilee. They passed through Samaria, in the outskirts of a town called Sychar. Jesus was tired from the journey, and so he sat by the well dug by Jacob while the disciples went to the town to buy food. A Samaritan woman came to fetch water, and Jesus initiated a conversation by saying to her, “Give me a drink.” This request generated interesting and important conversation between Jesus and the woman. Here are some of the lessons we can learn from the conversation: (1) Sometimes, it is necessary for a person to beg; (2) we need to be persistent in our prayers; (3) Jesus gives living water; (4) God is spirit and we must worship him in spirit and in truth; and (5) Salvation is for all people.

The need to beg Jesus begged the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. Jesus, who turned water into wine (John 2:7-8); blessed five loaves of bread and two fish to feed over 5,000 people (Mark 6:41-44); and walked on water (Mark 6:48), begged for water to drink. Is any of us bigger than Jesus Christ? Is any of us too proud to beg when necessary? Are we so big or proud that we cannot apologize and beg for forgiveness when we offend another person? Jesus begged when it mattered. We, too, should learn to do the same.

Jesus must have been hungry from the long journey; yet, he did not ask the woman for food to satisfy his hunger. Instead, he asked for water. Have you thought about why? I think that Jesus asked for what the woman was capable of providing. The woman was there to fetch water, so Jesus knew she was capable of giving water. In all likelihood, the woman had no food with her so there was no point in Jesus asking her for food. Similarly, God loves us just as we are and uses us for things he knows we are capable of doing. If we are not capable at the time, he is capable of providing all the resources we need to perform the task.

We are not supermen or superwomen. Therefore, we should not demand from a person what he or she is incapable of giving or doing. All of us have our unique talents and limitations, so it is not healthy for us to make unreasonable comparisons. We should be careful how we compare our spouses to other men or women; our children to other children; or our friends to other people.

Persistence in our prayers The woman went to town and brought the people to see Jesus. The people persuaded Jesus to stay and Jesus stayed in the town for two days, even though he and his disciples were only passing through and had no plans to stay in Samaria. They stopped by the well to relax, refresh, and continue on their journey. However, the Samaritans prevailed upon Jesus to change his plans. Jesus himself says that we should ask and we shall receive, we should seek and we shall find, and that we should knock and the door shall be open unto us (Luke 11:9). The Samaritans did just that, and Jesus stayed. This shows that, no matter who we are or where we come from, if we are persistent in our prayers through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, God will answer our prayers. Don’t say you have been praying about an issue for a long time without an answer, and so you will stop praying about it. Until you get an answer, keep on praying and don’t give up!

Jesus gives living water Jesus promised to give the woman living water. The woman understood that to mean the normal water that would quench her physical thirst, but keep her from coming back to the well to fetch water. I do not blame her. Who wants to go to the well to fetch water if Jesus could give living water that will prevent a person from becoming thirsty? All of us need Jesus who can place in us a spring of water that wells up to eternal life.

The woman was having a conversation with the Messiah, the Savior of the World, but did not know it. The woman was lucky that Jesus revealed his identity to her. How many times have we encountered angles without knowing it? How many times have we encountered Jesus himself without knowing it? Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in….” (Matthew 25:35). That is why Paul advises us in Hebrews 13:2 that we should not forget to show hospitality to strangers because some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. The reverse should also be true: some people have abused or maltreated angels without knowing about it. If so, we may have brought curses upon ourselves or, at the very least, blocked some blessings from coming our way.

God is spirit and we must worship him in spirit and in truth Many people in ancient Israel believed that God was confined to the temples or synagogues, especially the Temple in Jerusalem. That was why they prayed with their face towards Jerusalem and made pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem to be closer to God. And that was why Daniel prayed with his windows open towards Jerusalem (Daniel 6:10). The idea that God was and is everywhere – even in Gentile lands – would have been unthinkable for many of them.

Fortunately, our generation should find it easier to understand the concept of God being omnipresent. Consider how the computer and Internet work. A person in the U.S. can log onto his or her computer and browse the same information on the Internet as millions of persons based in Ghana, China, England, Russia, and many other countries — all at the same time. Similarly, our information technology system is so advanced that many people located in various parts of the world can talk among themselves through teleconferencing, video conferencing etc.

For example, over thirty years ago when, as a young person researching to attend college in the U.S.– which landed me at Berea College in Kentucky — I came across the only copy of College Handbook that was available at the then Lincoln Library, which was located at Adum, Kumasi, on the street behind Kumasi Central Post Office. Because there was only one copy and many people eager to go to the U.S. wanted to read it, if you did not get a hold of it when the library opened, you may never get it that day. Today, one could place a copy of a College Handbook on the Internet and millions of students everywhere in the world may log onto their computers and read it at the same time. If man can design a system that makes one book available to millions of people everywhere in the world at the same time, then God, being spirit, can be available to people anytime, anywhere. Similarly, God can and does listen to millions of people praying in different countries and languages and provide answers to them at the same time.

Salvation is for all Do you really believe that the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman was a chance encounter? Or, do you really believe that the well was too deep for Jesus to reach and scoop some water to drink? Note that the woman did not specifically say yes or no to Jesus’ request; and there is no indication that she actually gave water to Jesus to drink. Instead, in the middle of the conversation, she left her water jar and went back to the town to tell the people about Jesus, so it does not appear that water was a big issue for Jesus at that time. In essence, the encounter was more than Jesus being thirsty and needing water to drink or a woman who had five previous husbands. It was a divine encounter – grace at work. Jesus, with his foreknowledge of the woman’s need of salvation and disappointing relationships with men, decided to show her mercy and bring salvation to her and the people in that town. Jesus brought salvation to a town through a foreigner with five ex-husbands who lived with a man to whom she was not married.

Today, Jesus meets the Lucky Samaritan Woman — again. You and I are the Lucky Samaritan Woman, but it is not luck; it is grace. By the grace of the Almighty God and no efforts on our part, Christ died for our sins. We need the living water that only Jesus can provide. We may not be out there fetching water from a well that makes us thirsty again, but we may be spending unreasonable amount of time and other resources chasing after things that do not build us up for the Kingdom of God. We may not have five ex-husbands or five ex-wives, but we may be grappling with at least five issues that draw us away from, rather than closer to, the Kingdom of God. Like the Samaritan woman, there is hope and salvation for all of us regardless of who we are or where we come from. This is Good News that we should accept and share with others.

Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.

Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.

PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. One facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 027-7423815. Another is located at Kantinkyiren, at the junction of Kantinkyiren and Konkori, off the Kumasi-Obuasi Road, branching left at Trede junction. Contact Kwadwo at 020-8768461 / 0246-989413

Source: Daniel Gyebi

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