Sunday, July 26, 2015

The 'woman-at-the-well' moment | Manna for your Soul

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the list of things you need to do everyday?
Have you been blind-sided by misplaced priorities?

Well, the truth is we all have been at the 'caught like a deer in the headlights' spot in our lives. 

In the Bible, the book of John talks about an incident that changes the lives of not just one person but an entire town. 
John 4:1-42 starts with how Jesus stops at a public well outside of Samaria for a drink of water, meets a lady and the transformation within is as marvelous as it is profound. 

Dissecting the scripture, we need to understand that Jesus was on His way to Galilee.

Tired and exhausted in the mid-day heat, he decided to stop to rest. 
There He meets a woman who has come to draw some water for herself. Remember, this is when the sun is beating down and the well is a public well that was out of the town. People would not travel so far at this time of the day to get water. Atleast not the ones that were respectable. This woman probably didn't want to be seen among people and that's why she came to draw water at this well that was far out of town.
When Jesus asks her for a drink of water, she is startled. Because she is used to being ignored and reviled and was surprised any man would want to speak to a lady like her. 
Also because, Jews practiced racism and discriminated against Samarians who they regarded as a lower class of people. Sounds familiar?

His response perplexes her. 
She is almost mocking Him when she reminds Jesus that He doesn't have anything to draw water from the well. She thinks she has an advantage over Him because she has a can and He doesn't. 

When Jesus tells her that he can get her water that can quench her thirst forever. Her immediate response is - 'WOW! Give me this water so that I don't have to come to this well anymore'. She is positively excited at the prospect of never having to come out in the heat of the day. Not too unlike us either.

Jesus asks her to get her husband. She tells Him that she doesn't have one. Checkmate
And this is where we come to know that she has been juggling husbands. Bingo! That explains why she was hiding from other people.

But like a bear caught in a trap, she knows she has been exposed and immediately tries to deflect attention from herself. She turns into a theologian and flatters Jesus. Apparently, she is no stranger to sweat-talking people either.
Now ordinarily, calling a random person a saint or something like this would have been enough to shut that person up (it still works today) but no, Jesus saw right through that. 

He tells her to focus on the 'How' and not the 'Where' of worship. He takes her up on her devious question and scores a slam dunk. She is now desperately trying to squirm out of this conversation and tells Him “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”.
Oh yeah, well she walked right into that one, didn't she?!

We are all like this woman.
Like her, we prioritize everything else but God in our lives. 
We place God in the periphery of our lives, within reach, so that we can access Him only when we need Him and put Him back when our needs are met. 
We love to deflect uneasy scrutiny into our spiritual lives. 
We love to debate theology when it gets hot beneath the collar.
We love raving about that restaurant or that movie but how many times have you spoken about the wonderful things God has done in your life? 

The thing is Jesus didn't need water. He is the Man who resisted temptation after 40 days of fasting. He was here for a purpose. It was no accident that she was there at precisely the same time and day He was there too. 

If you have ever felt the divine peace and serenity that a church provides, multiply that by infinity and that is how wonderful 'spiritual water' can make you feel. 

If there is something in your life that doesn't seem to be happening at the speed you wish it happened, don't fret. God is softening the hearts of people, changing the minds of the powerful and basically rearranging lives and circumstances so that it happens. All you need to do is surrender yourself to Him - in spirit and soul. 

Now, we don't know what happened to the woman after that, but we can imagine her life was never the same after that. God chose her because she knew what a wretched person she had become. She was ripe for the change. Jesus didn't chastise her. He didn't ostracize her. He didn't mock her. He didn't avoid her. He didn't victimize her. 
He simply made her realize the folly of her ways. 


The Bible has never promised a life without challenges. Anyone who tells you that being a Christian will make your life like a toll-free 7 - lane expressway is selling you grade A crap. 
The Word of God can give you the tools and the grace that you will need to live a life that can help you overcome any challenge that life throws at you. A Christian's life is something like a nugget of gold. You'll need a furnace to refine it. Are you ready for the furnace?

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