John 4:7-14 “A woman of Samaria came to draw water. “Give Me a drink,” Jesus said to her, 8 for His disciples had gone into town to buy food. 9 “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked Him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.” 11 “Sir,” said the woman, “You don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. So where do You get this ‘living water’? 12 You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are You? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock.” 13 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.”(HCSB)
Too often Christians come to social issues with a mindset that they must rectify that social issue, and set the record straight. Although this can have its benefits, what we see Jesus do in this passage is what should be the aim of all Christians. Sharing the truth about the Gospel is what Jesus set out to do and what he accomplished. We see that the ultimate issue that needs to be met is that we are sinners in a need of a savior, not people in need of social justice.
The social stigma that we find in this passage is immense seeing as the woman was not only a Samaritan, but we find out later that she has had multiple husbands. Jesus crossed these social boundaries to address this woman in such a way that she would receive eternal life. The boundaries that humans set in place are overcome by Jesus and his reconciliation. We find that in the normal day-to-day life of a community, there are opportunities to show grace and love. Instead of picking a side on a social issue, Jesus chooses to bring to light the transcendent and unmatched love of the Father.
The woman begins her interaction with Jesus by immediately presenting the social issue, “you are a Jew...how can you ask me for a drink?” Jesus’s response is very telling, instead of dealing with the social issue, he focuses on the true issue, salvation. Jesus’s response bypasses the social issue between Jew and Samaritan and dives head long into the issue of sinner and God. As we gaze upon the glory of the Cross, may we bring the message of reconciliation to all people, as opposed to bringing the message that solving our social issue is our greatest need.Knowing who Jesus is and what he affords you resolves your greatest need, and that is reconciliation with God. In light of this reality, the issues that exist between anyone are less grave and can actually be met in a way that would help both parties and glorify God.
The Samaritan woman now turns to search out the issue of who this Jesus is, “You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are You?” Yes is the resounding answer. Though water can quench your thirst for a short period, the Living Water that is Jesus eliminates your need completely. The Gospel is not a momentary fix for one time in your life, but it is a sustaining and lasting truth that never dries up. The love of Jesus is not just something to fix an issue, but it is something that renews completely!
The social issues that existed in the Samaritan woman’s life have become secondary in light of the fact that she has seen the Messiah. We read in verses 28 and 29 that the woman leaves behind her jar, and runs and tells people to come and see what she has learned. She proclaims the goodness of God in the Messiah, she has had a fountain of living water placed in her heart and it has broken forth in front of the people in her community.
This exchange should speak into our lives as Christians and how we dialogue about social issues and the people that bring them up. Do our conversations reflect our desire to address the issue? Do they reflect our deeper desire to see people renewed by grace, adopted by love, and glorify Christ? Our approach should not be deciding on an issue rather it should be about sinners being saved by the work of Christ. Are our actions driving the idea that we are pouring out our lives for others as Christ did (Phil 2)?
Let us strive to be so enamored with our Lord Jesus and his salvation, that the issues we face daily, including the social issues of our day, would be covered with the love of Christ that was afforded to us on Calvary. Our greatest debtor has not only paid for our debt, but paid for it with his precious and innocent life. As we gaze upon the glory of the Cross, may we bring the message of reconciliation to all people, as opposed to bringing the message that solving our social issue is our greatest need.