Woman at the Well
John 4:1-26

“Now he had to go through Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.”
John 4:4-6, NIV

Recently, a good friend informed me that he wanted to spend more time in the Bible in 2022. Unfortunately, he did not know where to start. Intimidated by the size, not to mention the depth of both Testaments, he wanted advice on where to begin. Having once been in the same situation, I told him that it was best to start with the Gospel of John. Different in structure than the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, I told him that John’s perspective was a bit more personal and nuanced. In reading John, I encouraged him to focus on identifying the human traits of Jesus.

From the beginning of the Gospel, we see Jesus as the Word of God. Fleshed in human form, He was clothed as we are clothed, both physically and emotionally. We see this clearly in His interaction with His mother at the wedding in Cana in Galilee (John 2:4), His anger at the selling of goods in the temple courts (John 2:13-16), His empathy and compassion toward the Pharisee Nicodemus (John 3: 1-21) and in today’s lesson, that we must not overlook Him being tired on His journey from Judea to Galilee, only to announce He was thirsty.

Imagine the woman at the well as she encountered Jesus in Samaria. It was clear life for her was messy. Jesus saw it. Five husbands and the man she was now with was not her husband. Jesus could see she was lost and thirsting for something deeper. Acceptance, meaning and belonging are what she longed for and yet, she kept coming up empty. No matter how hard she tried, the world as she knew it couldn’t quench her thirst.

I do not know about you, but we are no different than this woman. Our lives can get pretty messy, both physically and emotionally. Often overwhelmed, it is easy to lose sight of what is right in front of us. Blinded, we become distracted and chase after things that will never satisfy. Empty and alone, we realize we want more. Only Jesus can offer us what will truly quench our thirst. All we have to do is believe and receive.

The woman said, “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
John 4:25-26, NIV
The Rev. Martin J. Bastian
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