Short Meditations in John 4: 15. Yes Please!
Jn 4:15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
I have often had to say this over the years of writing these meditations but when I get to heaven, if I get the chance there are going to be a number of instances where I ask, “Lord, what did you mean by that?” or “what did she mean by that?” That latter instance applies to this Samaritan woman.
We preachers love to be definite but actually in this case I think there could be three possibilities. The first one would be the “calling your bluff” response. “OK, you say you can give me water that will satisfy my thirst for ever; OK bring it on!” That response would, I believe, have a degree of scepticism behind it. The second one does not understand the spiritual significance of the words but something in the conversation makes her feel that whatever it is that Jesus is offering has got to be good and so if it’s here for the taking, she’ll have it! The third one finds a cry from within that recognises a need and senses Jesus is offering something more than just water and that she needs whatever it is he is offering.
Now the conversation that follows, about her husband, seems to be Jesus facing her up with her true need and if that is so, then I suggest that, at the very least, that last option is not the real one; she doesn’t yet realise her need. One thing I note in the Gospels is that Jesus is there for the needy, there for those who acknowledge their spiritual poverty. To the self-centred and self-assured Pharisees he came with rebuke. To the sinners, he accepted and drew them. For that reason I don’t believe the first option above is likely to be the real one; I’m not feeling she is being sceptical. No, from where I am reading it, it feels more like the second possibility; she may not yet recognise her need (or at least be willing to be up front with it) but she is willing to go along with Jesus and take whatever it is he is offering.
The only thing is, and we’ll see this in the next meditation, when it comes to receiving eternal life, Jesus knows that the individual needs to face their need before they can come in repentance to God. Each one of us needs to realise that we receive in proportion to the awareness we have of our need for Jesus. If we feel self-sufficient and somewhat sceptical about things we read in the Bible, we will receive little. The encouraging thing about this is that even though we are not sure, Jesus is patient and he perseveres with us. If he sees that we are open, even if unsure, he will take us on and prompt and stir and challenge us until we come to the place of open, humble honesty that reveals we are open to all he has for us.