“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”” — John 4:10 MEV
It was a case of mistaken identity. She didn’t see anything at first but a snooty Hebrew of the type that looked down on Samaritans like her. And because he was willing to defy convention and speak to her, I imagine she suspected him of ulterior motives. After all, she was kind of a “bad woman,” so why else would a stranger be addressing her?
Sadly I fear those of us who grow up in church often mistake Jesus and his motives when we meet him there. In Sunday school we’re taught to be good so will receive a reward from God, and to avoid evil thoughts and actions so we don’t wind up in hell.
We’re presented with a Jesus with ulterior motives: he wants us to act right. So we get the impression that God is rather a snooty Hebrew who looks down on us in general, who may be willing to except us if we clean up our act. And pretty often we’re not that interested in, or we’re just unable to, clean up our act.
When all the while, if we knew who he really was, we wouldn’t doubt his motives — we would understand them clearly: he is love; he wants to love us. He does love us!
And the funny thing is, compared to the Sunday school God who was so het-up about behavior, when we come to know Jesus for who he really is, we see that our behavior had nothing to do with it.
He has done everything for us — his behavior made the life-transforming difference. Now there is no condemnation for those who recognize his goodness and accept it. What joy!
Well, you will say, Jesus did ask the woman at the well to do something: he asked her for a drink. Surely he asks us, if not to clean up our act all at once, then at least to accept him as Savior and begin to clean it up, to do something.
But look what Jesus really asked the woman at the well to do.
She came to draw water, He asked her for a drink of water. He didn’t tell her to stop being who she was, or even to stop doing what she was doing. And he offered her more and better water than she could ever have imagined
By way of asking her simply to share with him what she was already doing, he was offering her living water — the same offer he makes to us: discover who he really is, and his love rises like a tide of living water in you because he loves you, and because he is love.
The woman at the well said YES when she realized who Jesus was. I hope you are saying YES too!