Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
John 4:28-30 (NIV)
Have you ever found yourself on the edge?
Life sometimes has a way of dropping us at this uncomfortable location. It’s the place we arrive at when we are pushed to our limits emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually, or relationally. I’ve been here, and I am sure you have too. Disappointments can bring us to the edge of giving up, stresses and strains can bring us to the edge of meltdown, and in certain seasons we can feel as if we live on the dangerous edge of a breakdown. These ‘edges’, (whatever they are), are never the destinations we dream up for ourselves, and nor do they feature in our list of aspirations.
The gospel of John, chapter 4, tells the story of a Samaritan woman who lived on the edge. Her days existed there. The unfavourable circumstances of her life had left her alone, rejected, unloved, outcast by her community, and relegated to the fringe of society. Her ‘edge’ was a hard place that created isolating patterns in her life, one being she would collect water from the community well at the hottest hour of the day, perhaps in the hope of avoiding people in general. It is here she unexpectedly met Jesus.
Jesus, journeying from Judea to Galilee with his disciples, decided to take a rest at Samaria. This was an outrageously uncommon decision for Jews, as they never associated with Samaritans, and would have most definitely chosen to take a different route for that specific journey. Jesus, however, met this ‘woman at the well’ because He lived on an edge of a different kind. An edge that broke the cultural and religious rules of the day so that He could reach people… all people… especially people like this woman living on the edge. Jesus willingly chose to take an uncommon detour on the way to Galilee, discomforting the disciples, as well as sending them into a town they had only ever known to avoid in order to awkwardly buy lunch. He did all this to reach this woman and have what became His largest one-on-one conversation recorded in scripture.
Jesus conversed with this woman about the secret details of her life, where she assumed He was a prophet, only to discover He was way more than just a prophet. He was the prophesied and awaited Messiah Himself. This lonely and lost woman encountered more than just some fresh company on this appointed day; she encountered LIFE Himself. She encountered God in flesh. Her moment of lonely water collecting turned into the moment she met heaven on earth, and received an offer she couldn’t refuse - Living Water. Incredible! Her soul would never be thirsty again. Moved and impacted, she left her water jar and ran to the people in her town – the same people she woke that day planning to avoid – asking them to "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! Could he be the Messiah?” The town then, incredibly, made their way towards Him. I love this part – Jesus didn't have to move anywhere; this woman’s testimony drew her town to see Jesus for themselves. This woman’s testimony turned her entire town toward Jesus. She took them all to the well that yesterday had been her place of rejection, but because of Jesus, today had transformed into her place of redemption. The scriptures tell us that many ended up believing that day, and Jesus changed His schedule to stay a few more days in Samaria. The people of the city declared to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves. Now we know that He is indeed the Savior of the world.”
What an incredible story!
Over and over again scriptures show us how Jesus reached out to people on the edge. It’s clear people on the edge got the attention of Jesus. His first recorded miracle was one where He turned water into wine to reach a family on the edge of cultural disgrace when their wedding had run out of wine. We also read of a man who lived on the edge of a pool waiting for healing, Jesus stepped out again on His own kind of edge and healed this lame man on the Sabbath day. He saved a woman on the edge of being stoned for her sin, and healed people on various other kinds of edges, over and over again. Today, just the same, Jesus wants to come to our edge, (whatever that might be), and offer us the same as He did this woman – Living Water. We have the same opportunity as she did, to simply receive it. I painted the woman at the well to remind us of the miracle that is waiting for us at our edge, on our bad days, on our lonely days, and in the hard moments. Daily we are to take hold of the gift of eternal living water that heaven offers to us – to drink daily of its life, and live in its abundance. This world can often leave our soul thirsty; how blessed are we that Jesus gave us the remedy: LIVING WATER. So go ahead, drink up!
“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
To read the full story of the woman at the well, read John 4: 1-42 in The Bible.
The print of the Samaritan woman titled ‘LIVING WATER' is available at The Art Shop.