As Jesus and His disciples went from Judea to Galilee, they needed to travel through Samaria. A bitter rivalry existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. In Jewish minds, the Samaritans were unclean because they were Israelites who had intermarried with non-Jewish people. Some Samaritans worshipped false gods. Almost all Jews took an alternate route to avoid Samaria, but not Jesus.
Jesus, in His deity, knew this nameless Samaritan woman would arrive at the well while He waited there. He even sent His disciples away in order to have a private conversation with her. All this transpired by divine design, without any coincidences. When the woman approached the well to draw water, Jesus shocked her by asking her for a drink. Jews and Samaritans did not talk with each other, much less a man speaking to a woman.
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.' (John 4:10 NIV)
Jesus crossed the dividing wall of racism. Their discussion about physical water and spiritual water continued until Jesus changed the conversation to her husband. When she admitted she didn’t have a husband, Jesus stunned her by telling her she had been married to five husbands, and the one she lived with now was not her husband. Amazed at Jesus’s insight, she declared that He was a prophet.
As if to change the subject, the woman asked a theological question about worship. Then their conversation arrived at the point Jesus wanted:
The woman said, '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.’ (John 4:25-26 NIV)
The disciples returned, but they never asked why Jesus was talking with a Samaritan woman. She hurried off with such excitement that she left her water jar. No longer ashamed to show her face in public, she announced the arrival of the Messiah. The Samaritans urged Him to stay two days, and many believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.
I love this woman’s boldness. When we meet her, shame kept her from socializing, causing her to fetch water at noon, the hottest point of the day. She didn’t expect to find anyone at the well, and especially not a Jewish man. Jesus didn’t act like other men, and definitely not a Jew. Jesus treated this woman with respect. When Jesus told her He knew about her sinful life, she probably expected condemnation, but she received compassion.
No matter what has happened in your past or what is happening right now, Jesus would treat you the same way He did this woman. He will not ridicule or condemn. He loves you, and He will shower you with compassion, but Jesus wants one more thing. He wants you to believe in Him as your Savior. He wants to have a relationship with you, not a long-distance one, but an intimate one where you spend time with Him every day.
If shame has kept you from Jesus, run to Him. Leave your shame behind, just like the Samaritan woman left her water jar. When she forgot about her shame, she boldly told a town of people who had shunned her about Jesus.