Jesus, the Living Water, Welcomes Our Mess at the Well. Will We Let Him Draw Us Out? by DENA DYER for Christianity Today
Find something more fulfilling for your life with this invitation at the well.
When my husband, two sons, and I moved to an apartment for a few months due to a job transition, our youngest (a kindergartener at the time) repeatedly asked, “When are we getting a house?” I finally figured out that he thought being surrounded by boxes was a fact of apartment living. When I unpacked the boxes in his room and he was surrounded by his favorite things, he no longer felt impatient or confused. He felt at home.
I often think of that story when I ruminate on my past. Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has gently and consistently unpacked the lies that held me captive as a young person and replaced them with His scandalous grace and truth. I also remember Jackson’s unsettledness when I read Jesus’ encounters in Scripture. The Son of God regularly asked questions of those he healed, revealing their motivations and uprooting their expectations. Jesus also overturned the expectations of his disciples, the Jews waiting for a Messiah, and the religious leaders. In one example, a noonday meeting with a weary woman at Jacob’s well, he broke through barriers of gender, race, and religion. Their interaction unpacked her shameful past and transformed her idea of worship, leading her to her true home in him.
This unnamed woman came alone at noon to draw water while most women came in groups during a cooler part of the day. Perhaps she wanted to avoid being shunned or mocked by the other women that day. And suddenly, a male, Jewish teacher asked her for a drink. Can you imagine her surprise?
Her words show that she was shocked by his audacity. Most Rabbis would not talk to a woman–even their wife–in public. Also, the enmity between Jesus’ race and hers ran strong. Jews called Samaritans “half-breeds,” and Jews held onto the assumption that Samaritans were unclean because of a long history of religious differences between them. Thus, a Jew drinking after a Samaritan would be unclean.