Scripture: John 4:16-26
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “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!” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 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 seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
Our passage today is the third installment of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. So far, Jesus has made the specific choice to travel through Samaria even when most Jews avoided the region, and he’s thoroughly confused the Samaritan woman with all of his talk about living water and never going thirsty again. Now, Jesus is finally revealing himself as the Messiah to her, and through that, opening up an invitation for all people to worship the one, true God.
Jesus begins his self-revelation by sharing prophetic insights about the Samaritan woman. He exposes her for what her community already knows she is – an adulteress. Certainly, the personal knowledge Jesus has would have been completely shocking. Her response is indicative of that, for in her mind he can only be a prophet with such foreknowledge. For me, the lines following this exposing of the woman’s sin are the most important of the whole passage. This Samaritan woman is marked by shame in the community. She is subjugated to fetching water for her household in the middle of the day when no one else is around. And now, this stranger and prophet knows her sin. However, what Jesus does with this knowledge of her sin is what truly blows me away. He doesn’t further shame her by telling her that she is unworthy of worshipping God. Instead, he uses her shame and sin as an opportunity to reveal his own identity as well as the secrets of true and authentic spiritual worship. Jesus refuses to exclude her from the community. He uses her sin to bring her closer to him – closer to God.
Friends, we are that Samaritan woman. We, too, have shame and sin. The good news that is Christ is this: Those things don’t separate God from us. They draw God’s attention toward us so that he can offer us his love and forgiveness. Jesus came for the lost and the broken and the sinful. Praise God we don’t have to be perfect to experience his loving presence.
Beautiful Savior, thank you for loving me in all seasons of my life. Help me to show that same love to others. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
Jesus turns our shame into joy.