Finding Hope in the Story of the Samaritan Woman

Published Mar 10, 2016
Finding Hope in the Story of the Samaritan Woman
Because one encounter with Jesus will change our lives forever.

Well-Placed Hope

So if Jesus is always with us, where do we look for Him? Well, I suppose the simplest answer is “everywhere.” And while it seems like a very general statement, when we really stop to consider it — when we stop to think that the Savior of the world wants us to encounter Him in the middle of our day, wherever we are — it can revolutionize our thinking and empower our hearts.

Because one encounter with Jesus will change our lives forever.

There is this woman described in Scripture as the Samaritan woman. She isn’t named, but she is identified by her nationality. This actually tells us a lot about her. The Samaritans had once been Jews. They knew all about the coming Messiah. They knew the Jewish law. But they had intermarried with people of other faiths. They had brought new gods into their land, and as a result, they knew that they would be excluded when the Messiah came. They also knew where they stood in the eyes of the Jews.

One afternoon, this Samaritan woman went to draw water from the well, and when she arrived she found a Jewish man sitting on the wall of the well. She didn’t think much of it and went about her business. Suddenly this man speaks to her:  “Will you give me a drink?”. . . .

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” ( For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Given her heritage, this Samaritan woman was not a stranger to Jewish teachings, which said that there would be a Messiah who would come and save His people. But she was not a Jew, and so salvation would not be coming for her. At least, that is what she thought until that afternoon when Jesus spoke to her.

Jesus talked to her about the things going on in her home. He spoke to her about some of the things that likely weighed the heaviest on her heart, and then all of a sudden, something inside of her clicked. She realized that He was not like every other Jewish man.

How did He know so much about her? How did this man know exactly what she needed to hear? And then she said to Jesus (almost like more of a question than a statement):

“I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming.
When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you — I am he.”7

I love what this Samaritan woman does in response. She doesn’t say one more word to Jesus at this point. She doesn’t waste any time at all. Scripture says, “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’ They came out of the town and made their way toward him.”

Scripture goes on to tell us that her entire community came to know Jesus because of her encounter with Him that afternoon.

I love so much about this story, and there are so many beautiful truths we could spend time discussing. But my very favorite part of what took place that day has to do with timing. I have heard that most women didn’t go to draw water in the afternoon — they usually went in the morning when it was cool. But for some reason, this woman went out in the middle of the day, when she expected no one else would be there, and that is exactly when Jesus met her.

I love to imagine Jesus’s face as this woman approached Him. Because He’s Jesus, and that means He not only saw her coming that afternoon but He also had seen that moment coming from the beginning of time. I believe that when the earth was still being formed, when the Lord was still sculpting the seas and oceans and mountains in His hands, He already saw His encounter with the Samaritan woman. He already knew the outcome, and as she walked up to Him in the middle of her ordinary day, I’d like to think that He smiled, thinking, I’vebeen waiting for you! He must have been filled with joy, knowing that she was about to discover the only One who could satisfy her heart and give her true hope.

He was just sitting on the wall of the well, waiting for her . . . at the exact place she would be . . . at the exact time she would be there . . . just to have an encounter with her.

And, friend, He does the same for you. He sees you coming. He knows everything about you, and He loves you just the same. Sometimes, the busyness of our day keeps us from looking for Him, but He is waiting for you, friend. He positions Himself in your life so you can meet Him face to face just when you need Him the most. And when you encounter Jesus, your heart will learn the gentleness of His voice, and it will be impossible to miss His presence again.

Listen to the Father speak hope to your heart. Listen to Him remind you that He will not leave you nor forsake you. He will not abandon you.  He guides your hands and your heart, teaching you, His child. When you thought that you were all alone, He was with you. When you were convinced that He was far off, He held you tightly. Whatever is up ahead, you can face it together. Whatever is just over that horizon, He’s got you covered. Because in Him there is love, peace, joy, health, wholeness, protection —and everything else that you might need. And He is with you always.

[Editor's Note: Excerpted from Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson Copyright © 2016 by Becky Thompson. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.]

BECKY THOMPSON is an author, speaker, and the creator of the hugely successful website, Scissortail Silk, also known as What began in 2013 as a simple fashion blog has grown into a space for encouragement and inspiration for millions of women around the globe. Thompson resides in Oklahoma with her husbandand their three children. Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma's Heart is Becky's first book.

Scripture Reference is John 4.

Publication date: March 15, 2016