John’s gospel introduces us to the first detailed one to one conversation Jesus instigated, it’s obviously something of great importance. It’s a discussion taking place at a well where Jesus had sat down because he was thirsty, and a woman who had come to draw water. Jesus began talking to her, graciously asking for water and started a life changing conversation. If you have a Bible you’ll find it in John’s gospel chapter 5. From Jesus we learn what must happen for someone to come to faith, to be saved and have their sins forgiven.
Firstly, Jesus must draw near to begin a conversation. He wasn’t constrained by the bigotry of his day. John says that Jews have no dealings with Samaritans, but this conversation was between Jesus who was a Jew and a woman who was a Samaritan. When the disciples arrived on the scene they were also surprised to see him speaking with a woman, to them almost a lesser being, but to him a person of great worth. In starting a conversation Jesus showed respect and gave her dignity. He never turned his nose up at her, or reacted negatively to anything she said. There was no finger pointing. She for her part was willing to engage with him. Jesus draws near to each of us and treats us with dignity. He never forces himself upon us but respectfully waits for us to engage with him.
Secondly, Jesus made the first move. He didn’t hope, wait or pray that she would talk to him. He spoke to her and began the process of leading her to faith. Have you become aware of your conscience troubling you at times? Are you questioning the way you live, the things you’ve done? Are you wondering if there’s more to life than this? If so, I’d suggest that Jesus is wanting to have a conversation with you. The Samaritan lady was changed when she responded to Jesus. She questioned him and opened up to him. Can I respectfully suggest you do the same? Engage with Jesus. You’ll find him in the Bible. If you haven’t got one, get in touch and we’ll make sure you get one, with some advice on where to start reading.
Jesus ignored the standard Jewish/Samaritan argument of the time, which mountain should be used to worship God. He used her belief, which he treated with respect, to lead her forward in her understanding. In doing so he placed her Samaritan view alongside Judaism and pointed out a better way, the way that men would worship God in the future, in spirit and truth, when mountains become unimportant. People have their pet arguments today and they use them to keep God at a distance. It’s not possible to create a world in seven days; how can there be a loving God when there’s so much suffering. You know the type of argument I’m talking about. They’re important arguments and the Bible has the answers, but believe me, they’re not your immediate concern. Jesus wants your sins to be forgiven so any discussion starts there. That is your priority. You need to see yourself as a sinner in need of a Saviour.
Jesus was non-judgemental. Of all the people Jesus could have spoken to, he picked this one. A Samaritan, a woman, and we discover that she’s had five husbands and is living with a man outside marriage. This is the Man who speaks in favour of marriage and speaks out against divorce, but there is no hint of a judgemental attitude towards her, even though she was presumably a multi-divorcee. He wasn’t concerned about what she was but who she was. She was someone in need of salvation and forgiveness. You also are in need of salvation. Whatever sins you’ve committed, however bad, Jesus is not speaking to you as your judge but as your Saviour. He wants you to be free of the guilt and punishment of your sins, and to make sure it happened he died on a cross to pay their penalty.
I love the words Jesus spoke to her. In verse 21 we read, “Believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”(1) Do you see what I love about it? “You will worship the Father”. This woman was going to worship as God intended. The Samaritan woman with five ex-husbands had found salvation through Jesus Christ. So can you. Please engage with him, recognise his love and sacrifice for you and give your life to him. Confess your sins and become his follower. Join the billions of others who have already made the life changing decision to have Jesus as their Saviour.
- John 5:21