Have you ever read a book for the second or even hundredth time and you catch some sort of small detail that seemed to escape you in all the previous readings? You wonder how you could miss it, since it was there all along… in black and white. Plain as day. Yet until this very moment, it never stood out. I believe this happens not because the book or story has change (that is impossible) but because the reader has changed. They have grown as a person, their life experiences have changed and perhaps there have been people who have influenced the reader to see things differently or even pointed out the hidden jewel.
Scripture is called the “Living Word” because the Word lives within us. In a printed Bible, the chapter and verses do not change. They are constant, unchanging. Just like God. Yet we can take a verse that we learned in Sunday school, that has been repeatedly read, taught and referenced over a life time… and suddenly, one day, see it in a whole new light. This recently happened to me regarding John 4:1-42, the classic Samaritan Woman at the Well story.
Every time I have read this passage or about it, it has come from the point of view of the woman. How broken she was, her shame and her guilt keeping her separated from her community; and a pattern of repeated mistakes. I think this is common because we can all related to the woman at the well. It was during Sunday service, that my Pastor took this piece of scripture and presented it form the point of view of Jesus & related it to our own experiences in evangelism.
We wrapped up with verse 41, where she has brought the towns people back to Jesus & “because of his words, many more became believers”. It was in my continuing to read through to verse 42 that I found my hidden jewel.
John 4:42 They said to the woman, “we no longer believer just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man is the Savior of the world.”
When Jesus revealed to her who he was, she left the well, leaving her water jar behind. She went to the town and told the people of her encounter.
She left more than her water jar at that well. She left her shame, her guilt, her past, her mistakes behind. All of the things that kept her isolated from her community, were no longer important. Her encounter with Jesus was greater than any of those things. To the point that she would run back to town and tell everyone.
AND THEY BELIEVED HER! They listened to her. They believed her. In spite of who she felt she was. She didn’t hesitate to tell them, and scripture doesn’t indicate they hesitated to listen or believe. Her past didn’t disqualify her, in fact it qualified her.
* Have you ever found yourself, stuck at the well? Trying to avoid your past, hide your guilt and shame? Avoid those who you feel will judge you?
Psalm 103:11-12 (NIV) – For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Our sins are washed away, we are made a new creature in Christ, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and find our confidence and strength in HIM!
* Have you worried or doubted your ability to share the Word with others, because you think that you are unqualified? Or, that your history has ruined your credibility?
1 Corinthians 4:20 – For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power.
The Lord will give you the strength to do what He has asked of you, He equips the called.
* The Lord softened the Pharaoh’s heart to listen to Moses and if we ask of Him, and have faith in Him… the same will be done for those we encounter! They will believe.
John 4:42 – They said to the woman, “we no longer believer just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man is the Savior of the world.”
Some of use will be called to plant seeds, some will tend to the fields, and others will work the harvest.
But, all things will be used for the glory of God…. even those things that bring us to well. Find your power in Him, pray for His hand to guide you, and leave your water jar at the well. You do not need it any more. Be filled with the Living Waters…. see the Word through new eyes. You have walked away from your sin. You do not need to be a Pastor or teacher, just a person who is willing to tell others about your encounter with Jesus