Isn’t it amazing how an entire life can change in a moment? That’s the way it happened for the unnamed woman we meet in John 4.
On a nothing-special day in the Samaritan village of Sychar, she was minding her own business when she realized her household water jar was empty. It was unbearably hot out. Perfect, she thought. She probably wouldn’t have to see anyone or talk to anybody. Grabbing her water jar, she slipped out the door.
Feeling like the neighbors were glaring at her through their windows, she quickened her step. Upon arriving at Jacob’s Well, she froze. Slumped wearily against the stone was a young Jewish man. He was alone. When he asked her for a drink, she almost dropped her container.
Gathering herself, she managed to ask, “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (John 4:9). The intriguing stranger sidestepped the question. Then he suggested that maybe, on second though, he should be offering her “living water” (John 4:10).
A wise guy, she thought, “You don’t even have a bucket,” she observed (John 4:11). Before she knew it, she was in a deep conversation. He kept talking about thirst. And when he looked her into the eyes, it was like he was seeing straight into her heart. It was almost as if he was asking, “You’re thirsty for a whole lot more than water, aren’t you?” And of course, she was.
The clincher came when this kind but direct stranger gave her a mater of-fact, accurate summary of her long and checkered marital past. Staring at the ground, she stammered uncomfortably, “I see that You are a prophet” (John 4:19). Part of her wanted to turn and run and save what little shreds of dignity she had left. Something else told her if she ran now, she’d never be saved. If was all so unexpected. She felt uncomfortable, unmasked, and unable to moved.
She tried to reroute the conversation toward theoretical chitchat about obtuse religious matters. When that didn’t exactly work, she tried to end the discussion by concluding, “I know that Messiah is coming . . . When He comes, He will explain everything to us” (John 4:25).
That’s when it happened-her life-changing moment. In response to her Messiah comment, the young Jewish man said simply, “I am He” (John 4:26). In other words, I’m the One sent from God, the One you’ve been waiting for. And you’re right. I can explain everything to you: how much the Father in heaven loves you and want’s to have a relationship with you, why you feel so thirsty all the time, how you can finally satisfy the deep needs of your soul and break free from your addictive behaviors.
Pierced to the hart by this unanticipated encounter, this unnamed woman set her water jar on the ground. Turning, she rushed lickety-split back to the village where everyone knew all her secrets.
Then the woman with the sordid past told about her spectacular encounter, and “many Samaritans from the town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, ‘He told me everything I ever did'” (John 4:39).
JOHN 4:28-30 – “Then the woman left her water jar, went into the town, and told the men, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could this be the Messiah?’ They left the town and made their way to Him.”