“So he came to a town in 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. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Will you give me a drink?'” —John 4:5-7
Let anyone with eyes to see, see, and everyone with ears to hear, let them hear.
This story has always fascinated me. There are a hundred ways to look at this passage. Even the title of this weekly article was derived from this passage. Jesus tells us that the Father is looking for worshipers who will worship “en pneumati kai aletheia,” in spirit and truth. As we seek to worship God, it is helpful to know how God wants to be worshiped. But that is a topic for another day.
Today I want to look at something else; Jesus saw potential in the woman at the well and invested in her. This is true, but I think it may even go deeper. Jesus saw her as a person of great worth to God. Culture saw her as an outsider for her gender, morality saw her as an outcast because of her behavior, Prejudice saw her as unacceptable because of her race, but Jesus saw her as valuable because of her Creator.
How many people do we pass every day, and fail to see their worth? How many people do we just miss; who are either invisible to us, or worse, judged and shunned because they are “beneath us.” From the drive-thru attendant at the fast food restaurant, to the checkout clerk at the grocery store, we have dozens of brief encounters with people of value every day. How can we be like Jesus in those interactions?
Well, what did Jesus do? First, He was mindful of his surroundings. He knew that in every place there is opportunity to bring healing and wholeness to a broken world. Second, He broke convention and exceeded expectation by engaging a person that He could have easily ignored. He acknowledged that she had value to Him, even if it was just as a means to get water (though we know He saw her true value as a person). Third, He shared life with her despite the cultural strikes she had against her.
What does this look like in our context? Well, that is your homework this week:
Identify the “wells” you visit this week. Maybe it’s the store, maybe it’s the sanctuary at Faith. Where do you come in contact with invisible humanity? Take note of the name-tags, or unfamiliar faces and engage that person. It may be the most important minute of that person’s day, or life. Listen to the Holy Spirit as he guides the conversation. The Spirit knows exactly what that person needs, and will drop hints to you if you are listening. Share the life that God has given you. You never know how chance encounters can affect the destinies of a person, a town, or a nation.