Posted by: Jo | July 27, 2012

The Gift of Living Water

Face to Face with Jesus (Part 5 of 10)

“..If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)

imageComing from a hot and often in parts, a very dry country, I grew up always being aware of the importance of water. You gain a whole lot of respect for those in other countries where water supplies are at a premium. The lady who comes face to face with Jesus in our first story today knew only too well the importance of water, but when Jesus talks to her about “living” water she is puzzled. Jesus constantly surprises us by going against a lot of the taboos of the culture he was living in, and his chatting to the two ladies recorded in our stories today was quite out of the ordinary. The first lady is a Samaritan, a group despised by the Jews because they had allowed the worship of other gods to taint the worship of the one true God. The second lady is a Gentile whom the Jews believed was not part of the chosen race. By talking to these two, Jesus demonstrates a beautiful lesson for us all in the area of discrimination in any form; colour/race/gender/creed/caste

The first story is found in John 4:4 – 26

We get a tiny glimpse of who this lady is in the fact that she was coming to draw water in the heat of the day; perhaps she was ashamed of her life style and was avoiding the other women from the village who chose cooler times to gather their water. Jesus initiates the conversation. Perhaps this is a reminder to all of us that Jesus often initiates conversations with us, but sometimes the raucous voices of the world blot out his words and we fail to hear him.image Jesus again surprises us by asking the woman to do something for him. Does the same thing happen when Jesus asks us, are we like the woman, questioning, or with excuses before willingly obeying him? Jesus wants to meet this woman because he has a beautiful gift to offer her He also offers us this beautiful gift, but again like the woman we have to get to know him and realise and acknowledge who he is so we can be blessed by that living water. When she starts to realise who he is even her precious water jar is left behind in her hurry to tell others the good news.

“Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”” (John 4:28)

What a good lesson for us. Earthly possessions mean nothing when we are offered the priceless gift of knowing our Saviour and then we see the woman, no longer bowed down by shame, sharing the good news with others, we know that we too have the words of life to share with others.

The second lady’s story is found in Matthew 15:21 – 28

Just like Jairus (the desperate father in our previous posting) this lady is consumed with fear and worry about a precious child. We have noticed this in several of our face to face stories that desperation will often override all barriers of custom/ behaviour/self-awareness. This lady is a Canaanite, a Gentile, who no self-respecting Jew would be seen talking to, and yet she seeks out Jesus and calls him “Lord, Son of David” and begs for his mercy.

imageAt first we are surprised that Jesus does not answer her and the disciples just see her as someone annoying. We need to look closely at the disciples’ behaviour to be careful in pre-judging those who are seeking Jesus. Perhaps when we ask Jesus to intervene there is also a waiting time for our prayers to be answered. The lady’s persistence pays off and Jesus tests her with his next two answers, which is another lesson for us. How serious are we about our requests to him? The most compelling part of this story is how humble this mother becomes in front of Jesus. How humble are we in our prayer life? Again as we have seen in other stories the woman’s faith brings about the answer to her prayer.

Personal Reflection

Which of these two stories do you relate to the most? What can we learn from these two face to face encounters?

Next week we meet two wealthy men from vastly different backgrounds and watch as they meet Jesus.

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Responses

  1. Both are, of course, wonderful encounters with Jesus. But the one described in Matthew 15 touches me when I imagine Jesus smiling when the woman says “even the dogs get some crumbs”. “Crumbs” from Jesus would be more than enough, but we’re given a never ending feast. (thanks for the well written post – good thoughts)

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