John 4:25-29, NIV

25 The woman said, "I know that Messiah (called Christ) is
coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
26 Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to
find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do
you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?" 28 Then,
leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town
and said to the people, 29 "Come, see a man who told me
everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

February 4, 2011

First, Jesus asked for a drink of water. Then he offered this
woman something he called living water. Now he tells her he
is the Messiah! What's she supposed to do?

Simultaneously and on a different track, the disciples arrive
at Jacob's well tired, hungry and thirsty. So they do what all
good disciples would do. They go to find food for their Teacher.
Upon their return, to their amazament and dismay, they find
Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman. Not about the heat of the
day, but engaged in a deeply moving conversation. What
were they supposed to do?

Everything about this scene seems awkward. Everyone is
caught off guard, not knowing what to do next or how to

The disciples are silenced. Even Peter, who generally had
something to say and spoke even when he didn't know what
he was talking about, kept his mouth shut.
They were all
hungry and just wanted to eat and refresh.

The woman surely felt their rejection and annoyance. In their
eyes, she had no right to be speaking to a Jew or any other
man in a public place without a husband at her side. But she
had been speaking with Jesus long enough to know he didn't
share their views. Long enough to think this may be the one
promised by the prophets long ago.

Knowing she would return and not caring if these men used it,
she left her water pot and went back to town with one clear
and startling message. "Come, see a man who told me
everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

                                                                More journal entries

January 24, 2011

The travel-weary disciples discovered Jesus talking to a
deeply astonished woman. The woman, doubting her own
capacity for evaluating this man, unsure of her own powers
of discernment--went to the townspeople. Who else would
there be to ask? The townspeople had labeled her and avoided
her as much as she had avoided them. With Jesus' arrival, they
all turned over a new leaf and started a new chapter in the
happenings of this town.


She spoke with them and asked for their help, their opinion,
their affirmation of her intuitions. Come see this guy who
knows everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?

Imagine the townspeople when they heard what she said. --
Laughter, smiling, "what's she up to?" attitude. Right! The Messiah
revealing himself first to the town's outcast! But realizing she
was very serious, people went out to see who was asking for
water and investigate the strangers gathering at their well.
Mid-day, the off hours, might as well go check this out.

October 30, 1982
The Messiah is coming. I know, you know--everybody must
know! The Messiah is coming. They know he is coming and
they know his name--the Christ. He will possess all knowledge
because he comes from God. And when he comes he will reveal
the truth. With these expectations, no wonder it was difficult
to look at this man named Jesus, a carpenter by trade but
not practicing his trade, and believe that he was/is the Messiah.

This woman knew the Christ was coming and had great
expectation of him. Could it be that God remembered his
people and has come to save us? And with my own eyes
I have seen him!

The old ideas about a Messiah that would miraculously and
literally deliver them from all the evils of life would fade in
time and be replaced by the name given to Jesus in Joseph's
dream: Immanuel. Immanuel means God is with us, all the
time, in every place.

November 1, 1982
"You know the Messiah is coming . . . . I am he . . ."   Whether you
feel it is so, or not, I am the Christ . . . speaking . . . to you . . . now. 
What a powerful, magnificent, holy experience. How blest this
woman was.

Her deliverer didn't call her out of her circumstances, but sent
her into her circumstances with the message, "I have found the
Christ." How many devout people have longed to hear these
words, and experienced nothing instead!

Unique to the Judeo-Christian tradition is the God who speaks
to humans, who leads, guides and directs a believer's life. That
message is in many of our great hymns and songs of worship.

There is evidence that she believed Jesus and it changed her
life. Decent society had shut its doors against her. She went
into the town and told these people (who probably looked
on her and treated her as a sinner) that the Messiah may be
at their well.--What a story! The townspeople came out to see.

While the disciples were urging Jesus to eat, Jesus was
watching the townspeople leave their homes and workshops,
and start for the well. Again the contrast between the spiritual
and the physical. His disciples saw nothing but food; Jesus
saw salvation coming to this town.

What would the reaction of the disciples be to what they
witnessed when they returned to Jesus with lunch? It was an
eye opener for them. They had barely just begun traveling
with Jesus and here he was surrounding himself with a
bunch of Samaritans.

November 1, 1982
The disciples thought they were taking care of his needs, only
to find out he was quite content and capable without them!
None of the Twelve questioned him or the woman. Everyone
had questions, but no one felt comfortable asking them.
Questions seemed inappropriate--what kind of situation was this?

It's none of my business but . . . . Curiosity, judgments,
suspicions, jealousy, possessiveness--all these things come
out in our questions. But no one dared to ask anything.

November 4, 1982
She left her water pot, probably forgot all about it. Jesus put
this woman in touch with a part of her being that she had
forgotten existed.--a hunger and thirst for something more
than she had already experienced in life. Talking to Jesus made
her ignore the task at hand, leave it behind, and go seek out
others to tell them the good news. Being with Jesus makes you
forget everything else!  How can my meditation time be like
that? I should read Ignatius' guidelines--about using your
imagination to really be there with Jesus in the Gospel accounts.

November 5, 1982

What impressed this woman was Jesus' ability to know her
without ever having known her. She doesn't trust her own
judgment, so she asks others if he could be the Christ. You
come and see too, and then we can decide whether he is the
One or not. She needed group consensus before she could
allow herself to believe. Why? She hadn't needed group
consensus to have 5 husbands and live in with a 6th man!
Why did Jesus bother with her?

Why does God bother with any of us? But he does, thanks to
his goodness and faithfulness and all the other qualities
which make him our Lord.

November 9, 1982
Even this sinful woman was able to bring people to Jesus. She
brought more people than all the good women in the town
put together! Being a sinner is not necessarily a disadvantage
in the Bible. This woman in her enthusiasm and excitement for
life stumbled upon Jesus who told her everything she ever did.
She wasn't bashful, or cautious. She bellowed out to anyone
she saw--"Come on out and see this man. He may be the Christ."
Not caring what others think or say about her was an
advantage Jesus used.

What do I have that Jesus can use to bring people to God? I'm
the opposite of this woman--afraid to open my mouth when
others won't like what I say.

November 12, 1982
The woman of the well, is she still spreading the word all over
town? Of course, I'm jealous of the ease with which she invites
people to come and see Jesus. No apologies, no excuses or
explanations, just "come and see this man who told me
everything I ever did."

Suddenly touched by God, she is immediately successful in
getting people to see Jesus. Had a 'righteous' person had a
similar experience and then gone through town shouting the
news, the response would probably not have been as good.
It's ironic that someone you generally believe, when they talk
about faith, we don't listen carefully. Whereas someone that
you don't trust, when they talk about Jesus, we hear and 
believe them!

It has something to do with our expectations of people and
explains why lay witnessing can be more effective than the
witness of the professionals. When you get what you expect, it's
not news. When you get what you don't expect, that is news
and people check it out. So how is a life-long, consistently-devout
person supposed to bring people to God. Probably just the way
they live--quietly, patiently, faithfully, and persistently. And with
some enthusiasm about the current happenings in their
Christian experience.

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