John 4:1-10

Today, a Samaritan woman encounters Jesus. Like many Bible
stories, we don’t learn the woman’s name. But the 42 verses in this
chapter introduce us to her life.

Jesus, tired out by his journey, sits by a well near the Samaritan city of Sychar (vv. 5-6). Jacob, ancestor of the Jewish people, dug this well long ago. However, Jewish travel guides never advised clients to visit here since the hatred between the Jewish and Samaritan populations was so strong. Jesus goes there anyway. His inner compass often leads him to the places that others find questionable.

It is noontime in this extremely hot climate when the Samaritan woman arrives at the well. She is an outcast, drawing water at the hottest time of day while everyone else is at home. Jesus’ presence— and his conversation—stun her. Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans (v. 9). Not words. Not even a drink of water.

The woman experiences Jesus’ humanity first. He is exhausted
and thirsty and asks her for a drink. This man here in the heat is also
alone. Is he an outcast too? She wants to know his story.

“How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (v. 9). Her question invites Jesus to introduce his divinity by offering
the kind of water that leads to eternal life.

In our deeply divided society, this encounter gives us hope. When
we trust our inner compass, Christ leads us to people we might
otherwise avoid. If we interact as Jesus does, we will recognize what
we have in common, respect the different ways people respond, and
find ways to receive, offer, and share hospitality. When we ask, Christ
offers us all this living water.


In the past week, when did you interact with someone whose story differs from yours? How was this interaction a hopeful one—or how could it have been more so?


God, help me to share your love with everyone I meet. Amen.

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