John 4:5-30; 39-42

At the time of this writing, well-behaved women did not gather water from a public well alone in the heat of the day; this was usually performed in groups, early in the morning when it was still cool. Perhaps this Samaritan woman was a social outcast. Although Jews and Samaritans were both branches of the same ancient Israelite tree, neither would have been caught dead speaking to one another, as there existed long-term conflict between them. Traditionally, when a man and woman met at a well it was because they were courting. Jesus should not have been speaking to a woman in public, especially this woman, who honestly admits to Him that she is unmarried, living with a “significant other,” and has had five previous husbands!

During this potentially scandalous noontime dialogue, however, this woman develops an insight into who Jesus is and what He can offer – the living water of eternal life, the water of the Spirit. Grace is present with this woman, whom Jesus affirms in public, despite her questionable reputation. She is honest and open with Him, hiding nothing about her lifestyle or her past. Likewise, Jesus openly proclaims himself to her as the Messiah.

We are only as sick as the secrets we keep. Grace is the fact that God loves us in spite of ourselves.

Louise Mason