From: Pastor Bill Mugnolo HARP Pastoral Advisor
“A Word for this Week” (3/20-26): “The Woman at the Well Today” … John 4:5-42
At a previous church where I served, I once remarked that many people today, if given the choice to either wade through a toxic waste dump or attend a church service, would choose to go through that toxic dump. Their own lives, in fact, are filled with toxic relationships, toxic decisions that they make, and toxic habits that often destroy their lives. We might even think of any of them of being “the woman at the well today” along with her male counterpart.
At times, it seems, this kind of person appears to us as being beyond the reach of God. But Jesus’ touching story of His encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well gives to us the template for how to reach out to those like her today. First, in going through Samaria (v.5), Jesus went through a place that many Jews avoided because of traditional hostility between Samaritans and Jews. We too are called to leave our own “comfort zones” and be prayerfully open to whomever the Lord might put into our path.
Secondly, we find that the Samaritan woman initially reacted to Jesus with hostility (v.9). We too might experience a similar reaction against us by those who have their own stereotypes about churches and who we are as Christians. But it may well take just a short time for them, as we show our love and concern, to view us with respect, just as the Samaritan woman was willing to call Jesus “sir” (vv.11, 15).
Thirdly, the Holy Spirit will give to us opportunities to present God’s truths to them—even truths that address their sinful way of life (vv.16-18). While some might reject us, others might see that we speak with a “prophetic voice” and desire to know more (v.19). Though they might “sidetrack” us with religious questions that avoid the state of their own soul (v.20), even here we will have opportunity to speak God’s truth to them (vv.21-24).Then, even among the most “unchurched” there is some knowledge that the Christ is out there (v.25). In time, we’ll be given the opportunity to directly share Him (v.26).
The conversation that took just hours for Jesus at the well may well involve us getting to know someone over a period of months, years, or even decades. But His conversation with the woman at the well sets the pattern for our engaging those who are like her today. May we go forward to do this in the grace and power of the one of whom many in her city would go on to proclaim as the Savior of the world (v.42).