on the other side

“But He NEEDED to go through Samaria.”

Jesus was tired. He had been walking for days, the miles showing in his worn-down sandals and dirty, blistered feet. He slowly sat down next to Jacob’s well. I imagine the sweat trickling down his forehead as he wiped his brow, let out a sigh, and took off one shoe and then the other. Yes, he was fully God, but he was fully man, and after two days of walking, he was beat.

It was the noon – the middle of the day, when the blazing middle eastern sun rode high in the sky. Contrasted against the rays approached a Samaritan woman, balancing her water jar against her hip. While most of the town’s women came to the well before sunrise or after sunset to avoid the heat, she came now. She wanted to avoid the judging glares and hushed whispers from the others. She was no saint. She had already made her way through five different husbands, and was now living with another man. To say she was the town’s skank was no lie.

With a hum on her lips, and her dark locks falling in her face, she busied herself filling the jar. Jesus looked up at her, and calmly spoke.

“Give me a drink.”

The Samaritan woman stopped in her tracks. Her jaw dropped open. In her shock, she spilled some water. Jesus was clearly a Jewish man. And yet he spoke to her, a Samaritan woman! The Jews despised the Samaritans. It was more than a fun-loving high school rivalry. The Jews viewed the Samaritan as half-breeds. They weren’t pure Jews. Years earlier, a group of Jews had intermarried with pagans and produced childrens who were not fully Jews – the Samaritans.

A righteous Jew would not speak to a Samaritan, much less stay at their houses or eat with their utensils. In fact, traveling from Galilee to Judea (as Jesus was doing), a righteous Jew would go out of his way – we’re talking miles out of his way to avoid Samaria all together.

Yet, with one spoken sentence, Jesus smashes through every stereotype and judgment. He cares for this woman. He knows; knows how lost she is; how many regrets she has. He knows that she comes to this well every day, alone. He knows she is the town outcast. He has seen her every tear. He loves her and He wants to offer her…more.

“Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

With one conversation Jesus changes the woman’s life. Yes, he deals with her sin, but he offers her a greater life – an offer she can’t turn down. Now a new person, she rushes off, forgetting her water jar in the dust. Hours earlier, she kept to herself, but now she runs through town yelling, “Come and see!”

“Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.”

What is your Samaria? It’s the place that everyone else would avoid, and if truth be told, you would avoid it at all costs too?

For me, Samaria was this entire year of my life. It was an emotional breakdown in the Applebee’s parking lot; my black tank top and jeans hanging off of me from so much weight loss. I cried as I realized that the wedding vows spoken to me by a man I trusted had been broken. Samaria was packing away over 4 years of memories like packing away photo albums in cardboard boxes. Samaria was a self-built house of humiliation. Samaria was realizing I could not afford my home by myself – constant, never ending financial stress. Samaria was finding a job outside of ministry – to heal and take care of my financial obligations. Samaria was trusting God when I couldn’t see past two feet in front of me.

I’m so glad God doesn’t warn us before tragedy hits. If He did, I would have said, “No way God – I’m not traveling through that.”

Jesus didn’t have to go through Samaria. He could’ve avoided it and went along with the status quo. BUT, there was a woman there waiting for him.There’s a reason – maybe many reasons why I had to go through my “Samaria”. There’s a reason why you have to go through Samaria.

Had I not gone through Samaria, I would not be the woman I am today – stronger, steadfast. Had my life not coming crashing down I would have missed God’s man for me. A man who cherishes me and helps me hold my head up. I would not know the joys of life long friendships with girls who feel more like sisters than friends.

There was someone waiting for Jesus in Samaria and there’s blessing for you there too. I read an article from Samaritan’s Purse today (read it here —> http://tinyurl.com/44qlwbk) and borrowing what one Tornado victim said after her house was blown away, but she rededicated her life to Christ, “I haven’t lost anything. I’ve gained everything.”

The story of the Samaritan woman is my favorite story in the Bible. You can read it in John 4.

One thought on “on the other side

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