For centuries upon centuries, the Hebrew people lived in expectation. Like a woman expecting the birth of her child, they looked and hoped for the arrival of the Messiah. The name Messiah means “anointed one.” Throughout the history of the Israelites, the Lord raised up an “anointed one” (one endowed with the power of God) to serve as their Deliverer from oppressors. Moses and all of the Prophets spoke of a coming Messiah, who would be the ultimate Deliverer of God’s people. The Old Testament is filled with hundreds of prophecies concerning The Messiah of God who would come into the world.
Fast forward. In John 4, Jesus tired from his journey, sat down at a well and began a conversation with a Samaritan woman. This woman was the last person that the world would expect a holy man like Jesus to speak to. First of all, she was a woman, and in that day, men did not speak to women. Second of all, she was a Samaritan and the Jews and Samaritans were bitter enemies. Yet, none of these worldly prejudices stopped Jesus.
He intentionally went to that well to meet this woman. But why? She was in desperate need. In fact, her story is all of our stories. Separated from God, she turned to false gods in a vain attempt to fill the vacancy in her soul that can only be filled by God Himself. Her “false god” just happened to be men. She’s had five husbands and the man she was currently with was someone else’s husband. Instead of shaming her and condemning her, Jesus came to deliver her. Deliver her from an empty life of looking for love in all the wrong places.
The beautiful twist to this story is this: the first time Jesus ever revealed to anyone that He is, in fact, the long awaited Messiah, was to someone the world would have never even noticed, much less spoken to. He came for the broken, the sinful, the empty, the hurting...He came for those who realize and admit they need deliverance.
This scene brings to mind the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns, O Holy Night.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”
The advent of God is the historical moment in which our souls find their worth. God, wrapped in flesh, said with outstretched arms, “You are worth dying for.” To a woman filled with brokenness and shame, Jesus gave dignity. To a lost humanity, He gives us life and hope.
When I was twenty-four years old, I came to the end of myself and cried out to God for help. I knew I needed a deliverer...I needed Jesus. I realized that I couldn’t fix myself and no matter what I tried, nothing and no one would satisfy the ache in my soul that cried out for God.
Where are you on this journey? Are you turning to something or someone other than God to fill the ache of your soul? Do you need to cry out to Jesus?
Today, take time to read the encounter of Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4:1-42.
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