Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
It was the sixth hour—around noon. Can't you just feel the heat of that day? Jesus was weary from His journey from Jerusalem to Sychar in Samria. He was hot and He was thirsty, but that didn't stop Him from recruiting a most unlikely missionary. Someone who was counted as worthless in her village, but would be instrumental in the salvation of the entire village... He chose Jacob’s Well to rest.
The word John uses for well in 4:6 is pege meaning gushing or running. Jacob’s well is spring water that is still running today. When the woman mentions the well she uses the word phrear (freh'-ar) a hole in the ground (dug for obtaining or holding water or other purposes), that is, a cistern or well; figuratively an abyss (as a prison): - well, pit.
This is such a wonderful play on words that gives us a tremendous insight to what Jesus meant when He said He would give her living water. The Holy Spirit constantly renews and refreshes us as we go about God’s work, and as we study His word. We have been washed clean, baptized by the Holy Spirit, and we are continually cleansed (sanctified) as Paul said to be presented as a pure Bride, spotless and without wrinkle. Our hearts are deep and filled like a cistern with God’s Living Water. We are called to make sure this Living Water sloshes all over the tired and thirsty people we meet. When Jacob’s servants dug this well to water his family, servants, and all the flocks, I feel sure God had this moment in mind as He sat with the woman at the well.
Jesus did not point fingers and tell her she was living in adultery in judgment. He knew, but He first instructed her before He told her to go call her husband:
He spoke to her...
Jesus broke several taboos when He spoke to the woman at the well. Men and women who were not relatives never spoke to each other in public places.
Jews despised Samaritans. Jews of that day lived in mortal hatred of Samaritans who they called curs and half-breeds. They so despised the Samaritans they would walk 100 miles out of the way around the country God gave to Joseph's descendants just to not come into contact with the tainted soil. (This was the area that Israel spoke of in Genesis 48:22, the extra portion that went to Joseph that he said he had taken “from the hand of the Amorite with sword and bow.” Nowhere else is this mentioned in scripture.)
He asked a drink of her...
Jews would have rather endured a time of torturous thirst rather than ask anything from a Samaritan.
He did not draw back from her...
This was the heat of the day at the 6th hour. She came to the well at that time most likely because "decent" women shunned her and men found extreme fault with her. Most likely because she was barren, but it could have been any number of reasons such as a cantankerous and contentious spirit. Men cast her aside, usually women did not ask or obtain divorces, but men had no compunction if they were not given heirs. Most likely she was beautiful and had a good personality or at least could cook well because she had been married five times. But now, having been cast off five times, she was probably getting on in years, not as beautiful as in her youth and no hope for giving fruit from her womb so the man she was currently living with had not married her. She was a stigma, considered far below worthiness, yet our LORD not only spoke to her, not only asked of her, but leaned forward and taught her about living water.
He told her what she had done...
Any gypsy can foretell the future in broad general terms generally drawing upon your reactions to what they say. But no one unless gifted by God can tell you what you did yesterday or five years ago with accuracy. Jesus said she had had five husbands and was now living with a man not her husband. At no time in the conversation did Jesus say, "You are an adulterer." Nor did He say, "You are living in adultery." He simply spoke facts without condemnation or judgment.
How much the Bride of Christ should take this to heart. We are so quick to judge. We are so quick to condemn the wounded. How would any lost person want to listen to a judgment of their past wrongs? That is the Holy Spirit’s job (John 16:8-11).
We are like the woman at the well. This is an example of how we should share the Living Water to quench spiritual thirst.
The woman recognized the truth He spoke and called Him a prophet.
The woman asked about worship. She called Him on the Jewish tradition that worship could only take place in Jerusalem. When Jesus told her point blank that Samaritans didn't know what they worshiped and that salvation came from the Jews, meaning that the Messiah would be from the Royal Lineage of David, she accepted the truth without argument as most of the Jews gave Him. When Jesus told her He was the Messiah...
She became a missionary...
The woman went to her village and rounded up everyone who would listen to her. I can hear her excitement and I know her eagerness. She didn't say, "Go listen to Him." She said, "Come hear Him, is He not the Christ?" She was herding them toward Jesus as if their lives depended on it, which they did. "He told me everything I did."
She was saved not condemned...
So often today we see sin and glorify the sin by hate, by accusation, by condemnation, by pointing fingers and by gossip, by shunning, by ostracizing, by cold shoulders, by casting off, by hurtful words and actions.
Everything that woman felt... the rejection, the wounded heart because every man she married divorced her, all her friends denied and despised her, words of condemnation and scorn lacerated her and scarred her soul... and yet, everything she felt, Jesus felt.
Jesus loved. Jesus forgave. Jesus died, and now He lives. Amen.
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She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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