Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

–John 4:26 NASB

He loves me; he loves me not. He loves me; he loves me not. He loves me; he loves me not. He loves me; he loves me not. He loves me; he loves me not. He loves me?

Words, not of a young girl lazily counting daisy petals, but of a woman destined to walk in shame forever, never again to know the joy of belonging to one who knows her fully and accepts her wholly.

Until one day…

Have you ever been “the other,” the one who didn’t fit in, didn’t belong? It’s not a nice place to be, as the message is always, “There’s something wrong with you.” As a young schoolboy living near Belfast, North Ireland in the late 1960s, my sisters and I would sometimes be spit at walking to school. My 6-year-old brain could not fathom why kids would line up at a fence to spit at us as we ran past them—but the message was clear, “You don’t belong here!”

Racial/religious/class tensions have always existed. The Samaritans of Jesus’ day were the ones who were “other”—second class citizens who were only half-Jewish (therefore fully unclean), who offered sacrifices at the wrong place (therefore fully unredeemed), whose national identity traced back to Jacob, at whose well “the other” met “The One.”

Jesus desired to engage this woman, this “other” who had been discarded by five men who had no vision for who she truly was. Coming to the well at midday when no one else should be there, she probably had no vision for who she truly was either. Realizing that you are not enough and that you will never measure up is a powerful deterrent to developing a personal vision—unless someone who knows you better than you know yourself speaks up.

I’ve always been curious about the fact that her testimony to the locals about Jesus was, “(He) told me everything I ever did” (John. 4:29 NIV). Surely the truths about worship and God had an effect upon her, but it was His personal knowledge of her that stopped her in her tracks long enough to consider, “Could this be the Messiah?” (John. 4:29 NIV).

We never hear from this woman again, only that many believed because of her words. So we can only imagine what her life was like after that, but I like to think that her future conversations started something like, “Would you care for some water? I know where to find some…“.

ACTION: How is your vision of yourself influenced by the fact that Jesus already knows everything about you? Rather than having a vision for doing something rooted in a desire to impress God, what vision do you have for yourself that’s rooted in a deepening realization that Jesus wants to engage with you just as you are?


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