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.”
… 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. – John 4:25-26,28-30
What is your reaction when you meet someone famous unexpectedly? Do you cry out loud or just show your surprise and move on?
Here, in The Bahamas, many of us get to meet famous individuals, in our work environment or just casually through friends. For the most part, as a people, we do not get overly excited. We just carry on. It becomes a good conversation topic for the future.
In the above text, an ordinary woman had an encounter with someone she had not expected to meet. She knew about the coming Messiah, the Christ, through family history, but she never thought she would find him sitting at a well.
This woman was obviously shunned within her community. She had come to the well around noon, an unlikely time for women to draw water. In those parts, it was customary for the women to draw water either in the morning or in the evening.
However, this despised woman would have an unusual encounter with Jesus, the Christ. Our Lord saw that she was wanting, and he engaged her in order to impart God’s grace and mercy.
He initiated contact by asking her for a drink of water. His action was unusual and against Jewish religious customs. Jews did not interact with Samaritans, particularly in the area of food. Even though the Jews and Samaritans did not interact, they were distant relatives. Samaria was once the capital of the northern kingdom known as Israel. It had been occupied by 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel.
The northern kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC. The Assyrians invaded the kingdom and carried off most of the people into exile. They later repopulated Samaria with foreigners. This resulted in the poor Israelites who were left intermarrying the new people who populated their land. Consequently, the place and people became a scorn to the Jewish people of Judah.
Notwithstanding this, Jesus engaged her and changed her life forever. He told her much about herself and opened her eyes to the Messiah for whom she and her people were waiting.
Surprisingly, when this woman received the gift of salvation, she did not keep it to herself. The feeling was overwhelming and bubbling. She could not contain it. As a result, she went into her village and invited the whole community, including the people who had shunned her, to come and experience the wonderful gift, which Jesus had to offer.
Her encounter with Jesus changed her life. As a result, her relationship with her neighbors was changed. She had a new peace in her heart. She probably did not have to worry about going to the well at noon any longer because the people of the community saw her differently.
That is what Jesus does for all who hear his word and call upon his name. Those of us who have had that encounter should use the woman as an example. Make it count. Like the woman, invite those around you to share in this good news of Jesus Christ.
Lent is a good time to help those around you to have an encounter with Jesus. The evil one will try to prevent you from doing so. He will throw all kinds of missiles into your path. Don’t let anything or anyone separate you from God, particularly COVID-19.
Remember, God is in charge, He is the only one who has power over the things that may threaten us. In times of trouble, He will deliver us. Therefore, share the good news. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.