At The Well
This song was written years ago to a friend in my life. At that time, I was seeing her semi-consistently. Conversation after conversation sadly proved to not be as fruitful as I had hoped. There was this invisible wall in front of her, built by years of tragedy, trauma, rejection, wrong thoughts about God, bad experiences with the church, and believing the lies of our culture.
I wrote this song as a plea to her. A plea to see herself rightly, and to more than anything, see Jesus rightly. Her story reminded me of the Samaritan woman Jesus met by the well in John 4:1-45. The Samaritan woman, like my friend, was someone who had seen rock bottom and carried the burden of regret and defeat everywhere she went.
I have always loved this story.
“…he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar… Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his long journey, was sitting beside the well.”
We can confidently assume these travel plans, down to the tiniest detail, were intentional and Sovereign. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things,” Romans 11:36 tells us – Jesus “upholds the universe by the word of His power” it says in Hebrews 1:3. The God-man, Jesus, was in a very real way creating the circumstances needed for this woman to meet Him, and to subsequently be saved. There are no chance encounters with Jesus.
“A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ … the Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’”
Jesus, a Jewish man- a Rabbi!- initiates a conversation with a Samaritan woman. Much like how He healed lepers (touching the unclean with no fear of being made unclean Himself) -- Jesus isn’t afraid of being disgraced or shamed by associating with a woman, a Samaritan woman, and an immoral Samaritan woman at that. He sees past the walls everyone else has built up and speaks with authority and kindness.
Jesus asks her for a drink, but it is in order to offer HER something. His initial question isn’t to take advantage of her, or to take what she has away; it is to draw her in, much like she is drawing water. It is in order to tell her a parable about her own soul.
“The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.’”
He knows her thirst. He knows her isolation in sin, and her helplessness to get out of it. Like the never ending errand of returning to the well, at the hour in the day where she will not have to be seen, and never having her thirst quenched; so she was in her heart. And He knew it. He knew her story better than she did. He saw past her quick answers, her attempts to change the subject, her shock and offense and defensiveness.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come here.’ The woman answered him, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right in saying, “I have no husband”; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.’”
Jesus was calling her out of the shadows into the light. And it wasn’t in order to punish her, shame her, or further enslave her. It was to set her free. The heaviest burden on her soul had just been named, and there was no condemnation. There was acknowledgment, and the invitation stood. She tries to change the subject again (who likes for their deepest, darkest places in their lives to be exposed by the light anyway?) – “Sir, I perceive you are a prophet…” – and then Jesus addresses her again:
“ ‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.’ The woman said to him, ‘I know the Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’”
What do you do with that? If I put myself in her shoes, in that moment, on that very seemingly “normal” day, and hear those words spoken … “I… am He.”
Jesus bridged the gap culturally that day, but in an even bigger way, bridged the gap between this woman and God. He shined a bright light on the path of reconciliation between her and God – and it began with asking and receiving.
The lies she had believed for so long were all silent. They no longer held any power, because her greatest fears of being known and exposed had come true, and instead of being cast away, she was welcomed in.
“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’”
Although my life experience differs from this Samaritan woman’s, as well as my friend’s, I resonate. Can’t you?
I have been proven wrong that my scariest sins would scare Him off. Praise God, they haven’t! They have only been met with an invitation to come near to where He is, waiting, and to ask and receive the water that quenches my soul’s thirst forever and ever.