Ashamed.

She felt ashamed when she ventured to the well in the midday heat. She felt so incredibly ashamed she refused to draw water in the morning or the evening when the weather was cool, because that’s when the other women gathered. She didn’t want to face them. Or anyone, really.

She walked down the dusty path, like she did a thousand times. To her surprise, she saw a Jewish man sitting at the well. Jews didn’t normally venture into Samaria.

“Give me a drink,” the man said.

Startled, she nearly dropped her clay jar. “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman from Samaria?”

He replied, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

Tilting her head to the side, she retorted, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?”

“Everyone who drinks from this well will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks from the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Never be thirsty again? Never have to face the embarrassment of this well again? This sounded too good to be true. She exclaimed, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water!”

“Go, call your husband, and come here,” the man told her.

Her heart plunged. She looked down as she mumbled, “I have no husband.”

“You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband;’ for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband.”

Her heart pounded. How did he, a foreigner, know this about her? He must be a prophet!

Feeling uncomfortable, she decided to divert his attention and ask him a political question: Where is the proper place of worship? Jerusalem or Samaria?
He told her the time was coming when people won’t worship here nor there, but in spirit and truth.

This confused her a little, but desiring not to seem entirely ignorant in matters of faith, the woman said, “I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us all things.”

The man looked deep into her eyes. “I who speak to you am he.”

Suddenly everything clicked. He knew her secret sins. He knew more about God than anyone she had ever met. He promised living water… This man is the Messiah!

She turned and ran into the village, leaving her water jar behind. She urged everyone to come meet the Messiah. “He told me all that I ever did!” And many Samaritans believed because of her testimony.

Based on John 4

Lessons From the Well-

I want to share an “Ah ha” moment with you.

So I was reading this story last week and paid close attention to the dialogue between Jesus and this woman. And I noticed something I had never noticed before. I want to share this “ah ha” with you :)

Above I wrote what I imagine the woman was thinking and feeling during this encounter, but now I want us to take a closer look at their words during the first half of their conversation…

Scenario: The Woman at the Well~

Jesus: Give me a drink.

Woman: How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?

Jesus: If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.

Woman: Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.

Jesus: Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

Woman: Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.

Jesus: Go, call your husband and come here.

Say what now, Jesus?

Call your husband, and then you can get the eternal life He gives? What’s up with that?? She just asked for Living Water… and Jesus bunny-trailed it.

When I was reading this the other day, I was so confused. A husband isn’t necessary for salvation, so why is Jesus asking for hers?

But then I thought of another story in the new testament where there was a simular conversation. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. (Hint: It’s commonly referred to as “The Rich Young Ruler.”)

Let’s see how that conversation went down (Luke 18:18-22):

Scenario: The Rich Young Ruler~

Ruler: Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

Jesus: Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not commit adultery. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.”

Ruler: All these I have kept from my youth.

Jesus: One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.

And then the ruler went away sad, because he had many possessions and didn’t want to get rid of them.

Say what, again?

Sell ALL your possessions and then follow Jesus? So what- are we supposed to own nothing? 

…No.

The ruler was clearly very prideful. Jesus had just stated that no one is good except for God, and yet the ruler still claimed that he had always followed the commandments. News flash dude: nobody’s perfect, not even you.

So here in this scenario, Jesus was confronting the man’s pride and greed, his main sins.

Flashing back to the woman at the well, Jesus was also confronting her sins.

Let’s keep listening in to the woman’s conversation with Jesus…

Woman: Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.

Jesus: Go, call your husband and come here.

Woman: I have no husband.

Jesus: You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.

Woman: Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.

(Here she did a bunny-trail to avoid talking about her sins. She switched the conversation over to religious politics.)

Jesus: Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

Woman: I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes he will tell us all things.

Jesus: I who speak to you am he.

Jesus is so cool, y’all!

Three things I want you to catch real quick:

  1. Jesus addressed her sin and made her address her sin before he told her about how to be saved.
  2. He humored her bunny-trail and responded to her point about the true place of worship.
  3. He brought everything back to the main point: He is Messiah.

Another thing (bear with me here): Jesus did not condemn her for living with someone who wasn’t her husband. In case you missed it, that’s how she was sinning.

Jesus addressed her sin. He pointed out to her what she was already well aware of (considering she went to the well “about the sixth hour” [noon] instead of in the morning or evening when it was cooler outside).

She was probably ashamed of her sin and didn’t want to face the other women. I hope the story I painted at the beginning of this post helped you see that.

This is key: Jesus did not come to condemn. He came to save.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17

So when it came to the woman at the well, Jesus didn’t point out her sin to make her feel bad. Or guilty. Or ashamed. He pointed it out because it is 100% necessary for us to see our sin and our need for a Savior before we can be saved.

Jesus did not come to condemn. He came to save.

He didn’t condemn her.

In fact, He kind of validated her. When she said “I have no husband,” Jesus agreed with her. “You are right,” he said. “What you have said is true.”

I think when we try to tell people about Jesus, we do one of two things: We ignore the sin, or we focus too much on the sin.

Jesus did neither. He addressed it, and them moved on to the heart of the issue: the woman herself and her relationship with him. 

The woman had a need, and Jesus fulfilled it. He met her where she was at (figuratively and literally- at the well) and showed her that He as the solution for her sin-problem.

And when Jesus addressed her sin, she didn’t run away like the rich young ruler.

She may have stayed to discuss religious-politics with Him, but hey, at least she stayed.

Which brings us to the question: how do we respond in response to our sin?
Do we run away from the problem, or run towards the Solution?

12 thoughts on “Lessons from the Well: Jesus didn’t come to condemn.

    1. Kara Beth Post author

      I had read it a gazillion times before too! I love how the Bible is so rich in content and can always show us new things about God and Jesus and ourselves :) Blessings Christa!

      Reply

  1. Emily

    Beautifully written! Thanks so much for breaking down this story like this. It’s a story I’ve heard many times in my life as well, and I’ve never thought about it quite like that.

    Reply

  2. Victoria

    Came over to check out your blog!!!! :) I LOVE your about me…Especially the part where you share your dreams. My friends have never called me “Mommy-Blogger”, but they’ve all called me “Mom” and I’ve even received a Mother’s Day gift from some of them a time or two! LOL!!!!

    Soo…Stick with it, girl! God does a lot of work through Mommas and I always get excited when I meet women who are brave enough to say THAT’S what they dream of doing and being!!!

    Way to make the most of the now too. I’m excited to poke around your site some more!
    Victoria recently posted…Me too, EmilyMy Profile

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