We all know the know the story of the woman at the well. Jesus is traveling and meets this Samaritan woman who has come to draw water in the noon heat when all the other women, who might have insulted and criticized her, have finished and gone home. He asks her for a drink, baffling because she knows, in his eyes, she isn’t worthy of doing that. She is a pagan-Jewish half-breed with a poor reputation. And here is Jesus not only speaking, but wanting to share her drinking vessel. Can’t you see her looking over her shoulder like, um, has the sun gone to your head? Jesus has a penchant for seeking outcasts, lost sheep, strays. Here he is, the moment the apostles are out of sight, doing it again.
On another level the woman represents the idolatrous nation of Samaria. These people began as God’s people, then started valuing (worshiping) other things (gods.) As a nation, we have eagerly sought things that wound and offend God’s goodness—and called it compassion, until it’s no longer kind to speak the truth. In fact it seems truth can’t even be heard over the din.
Jesus sent the woman to find her husband, using the word baal which also means god. He’s saying show me the god that matters to you right now. She says she doesn’t have one. He tells her she’s had many, but the one she’s with now isn’t her husband. Jesus is the one she has in that moment, and he’s not her husband/God but longs to be. Overwhelmed by this gift, she runs to get others and bring them to him.
This is always our call, to be refreshed in the presence of the Lord and share that refreshment. How easy it is in this political time to be overwhelmed, even desolate in the moral collapse of our culture. God’s chastisement was over Samaria, as I can’t help thinking it is over America. A nation founded under God that becomes idolatrous/adulterous cannot stand. A parent whose grown children choose wayward paths may reach the point of surrendering them to their choices. A spouse weary of betrayal will surrender the unfaithful one. And God’s word says when things reach a point of no return He will give us over to our own desires.
Here is Jesus at the well bringing living waters of redemption. Even to a condemned nation, he reaches out, says come to me if you’re weary, if you’re dealing with something too difficult to bear, if fear and astonishment over what you see and hear keep you awake at night. Forget those other gods and sit with me. Let’s talk awhile. I know everything about you and you’re still precious to me, still carved in Abba God’s palm. Refresh me from this earthly well, and I will refresh you forever.