Scandalous (The Samaritan Woman at the Well)

If the Samaritan woman at the well, rather than apostle John, had told of her encounter with Jesus, perhaps she would have said something like this:

Scandalous. The whole rendezvous was simply scandalous. There, by Jacob’s well. Of course, that’s not surprising considering my history, but so unlike a Jewish rabbi.  I mean, Jews won’t even walk through Samaria – much less stop – for fear of being defiled by us half-breeds. And men don’t make eye contact with strange women in public. But this man, Jesus, He did all of those things, and with a woman of…well, shall we say, a woman with a “reputation”? Who am I kidding? I even go to the well in the heat of the day, willing to draw and carry water all by myself, just to avoid the snickers and the stares. One might say that, until today, I was hiding in broad daylight. But not anymore! It went down like this….

As I neared the well…I saw him…sitting there. Curiously, He did not follow custom: withdrawing from the well, signaling that is was safe and appropriate for me to come to the well. But let’s be honest. I’ve lived most of my adult life outside of the boundaries of what is safe or appropriate. So, I continued to the well anyway. The tired-looking man looked me straight in my eyes and asked me for a drink! A drink? Really? I wasn’t born yesterday, so questioned Him as to the irregularity of his request…you know, the whole matter of Him, a Jewish man, asking me, a woman, a Samaritan woman, for a drink. And with that we launched into what might best be described as wrestling match,  or maybe rather a beautiful dance, in which Jesus fought for me. Honey, let me tell you, I know men. After all, I’ve had five husbands, and the man I was living with on that day I met Jesus at the well was not my husband. Oh, each of those men wanted a drink from me…to drink and drink and drink…draining me dry. But Jesus, He wanted to give me a drink, a drink of Living Water from the source of Life…Himself. 

I tried to run and hide with attempts to deflect Jesus’ loving pursuit. I threw up the dividing wall of nationalism. But Jesus climbed over the wall and offered me abundant life. I avoided His questions with half-truths “…I have no husband…” Jesus, in turn, lovingly, but firmly, countered with the truth of my multiple husbands and current state of adultery. He knew all about it…the things that compelled me to hide…but He pursued me, fought for me, anyway. I tried to entangle Him in a religious debate. And that’s when it happened. Jesus revealed Himself to me as the Messiah…the One who will make all things new. Love won me over.

I was so excited that I left my water pot and ran into the city to tell the men! Did you hear what I said? I left my water pot? What girl in her right mind leaves her water pot? I’ll tell you what kind of girl? One who has tasted Living Water. One who has been fought for with a relentless love. One who has been freed from her shameful past. One who KNOWS Jesus. Yes, I used to hide…in broad daylight...trapped in my own nightmare of shame and regret, literally drained of life. But not anymore. And because I drink from Jesus’ living water, rivers of living water flow through me to others!

You do realize what this makes me, don’t you? I’m the preacher…the first person to go and tell others the GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY for ALL people. Me. A woman. A Samaritan woman. A Samaritan woman with a reputation. Well, look at my reputation now! Because of me, the men of my city met Jesus for themselves and believed that the Savior of the world has come! Indeed, scandalous…gloriously, redemptively scandalous!