“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water’ ” (John 4:10, NIV).
Jesus had a holy habit of extending hospitality and hope to the least likely of individuals. Take, for example, Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman.
The two met coincidentally, or perhaps by divine appointment, at a well in the heat of midday. The woman’s timing for drawing water was strategic as she came to the well after all the neighboring women had returned to their homes. This was the only way to dodge their judgmental stares and avoid the “water cooler” talk that inevitably occurred day after day. The woman had a reputation, after all, as an adulterer, and her spiritual baggage was much more a burden than the water jar she carried in her hands.
The conversation between the woman and Jesus should have never occurred. As a woman, she was a second-class citizen, more like property, in a society ruled by men. Likewise, as a Samaritan, she was not to be associated with by any Jew. Add to all of this that the woman had a sordid past, and she quickly had three strikes against her. But Jesus met her right where she was, not just at a well, but at the place where desperation and hope collide, where healing and restoration occur.
Jesus asked for a drink, but really it was the woman who had the greater thirst. She was dehydrated by sin and shame, dying for purpose and meaning. So, Jesus offered all that he had in himself, the Living Water, and she would never thirst again.
I think we can learn a lot from Jesus. He saw people first, not their problems or their faults. Jesus didn’t allow society to dictate who was approachable or worthy of his time. He simply gave of himself. And we can do the same. There are many people around us who have an unquenchable thirst for the life-giving waters that we possess in Christ. Let’s offer them a drink and change the world, one thirsty soul at a time.