True Love: Valentine's Week Devotionals - Day 2
True Love: Valentine’s Week Devotionals
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, “Jesus said toher, “Will you give me a drink?” John 4:7
So yesterday we talked about how Jesus “had” to go through Samaria. Of course, we also learned His “had-to” wasn’t out of geographical necessity but out of missional necessity. I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly felt compelled to go somewhere, talk to someone, or do something I, which under normal circumstances, wouldn’t feel inclined to do. We were reminded that the real and true love we are exploring through these devotionals often leads us to a place we’d rather avoid. Today we are going to continue with this story. Please take a moment to read John 4:1-9 (obviously some of this will be repeat from yesterday).
Jesus has now made his way into the region of Samaria. He stops to rest at a town called Sychar, specifically at a well. The text tells us the time at which he arrives is noon. These kinds of details are seldom extraneous and this is no exception. Women would often come to the well later in the day, avoiding the higher temperatures of the noon hour. And they would frequently go together. Sort of akin to our happy hour, this was not just a time to collect water for their families, although certainly that was part of it, it was the chance to catch up on the latest news and gossip and perhaps even snag a short break from care-taking their little ones. So the fact that this Samaritan woman is there alone and at noon, is quite telling. You know that scene from “Mean Girls” where Katy, new to the high school, can’t seem to find a place to sit at lunch? She ends up hiding in one of the stalls of the ladies room eating her peanut butter and jelly sandwich perched on the toilet. That is this woman; just within the context of first century Samaria.
When we meet her we come to know the reason Jesus has gone through and not around this region. This, in and of itself, is good news for us. Jesus is willing to encounter all the hassle and ridicule that accompanies being in Samaria for just this one woman. Living proof that He is the Good Shepherd willing to chase after the one lost and lonely sheep that most poignantly and urgently needs His care and embrace. If you’re feeling cast aside or marginalized today, perhaps believing that there’s not one person in the world that cares about you and your circumstances, let me reassure you, Jesus does.
Most people when confronted with this “kind” of women would turn away, roll their eyes in disgust, and avoid at all costs interacting with her. Not Jesus. He, a male rabbi, had absolutely no reason to interact with her; a woman if ill repute. Those two characteristics (male and rabbi) alone would have culturally provided more than justifiable enough reason to refuse eye contact let alone conversation with this woman. Yet, he asks her, “Will you give me a drink?” He chooses to engage her. And not with some kind of small talk like, “Hey, hot out here right now, huh?”; but rather with a question that draws her into the center of his world. The request is simple enough, he’s tired and thirsty, she’s there ready with a bucket to draw water, but what’s really going on here just beneath the surface is profound. By asking her for a drink he:
Validates her worth
Affirms she has purpose
Reminds her she is of valuable service both to Him and others
The conversation progresses, as we will see tomorrow, and Jesus will confront and address some rather sensitive matters. But, He recognizes she will not hear another word until she senses that He, unlike most others, sees something of value in her.
We find from this simple question posed by Jesus that love doesn’t just move us through instead of around our personal “Samaria’s” it forces us to engage directly with them. It forces us to open our eyes wider to see value where others may not. The love of Jesus calls us to pay attention to the marginalized, both obvious and conspicuous, and invite them too uncover their critical role in a story much bigger than their own.
I would never pretend that this is easy. It’s outright hard, and I openly confess, I’m not good at it. But my prayer is that with each passing day my love would grow deeper, stronger, and more comprehensively like Jesus’. That I too, would not shy away from the “Samaritan women” in my life, whatever and whomever that might be.