Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. For kids at the Salvation Army, a meal isn't just a meal. It's fuel for imagination, determination, and dreams. It's energy to be role models, change makers, and to just be kids. With your gift, a full meal means a full heart, a full night's sleep, and a future full of possibilities.
Give $25 a month to show local kids love beyond hunger at salvationarmyusa.org. Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Cheryl Gillum.
And I'm Bernie Dake. As we're nearing the end of our series with Lieutenant Colonel Helen Starrett, today she studies the story of the woman who has an encounter with Jesus at the well. This beautiful story shows Jesus' heart as he gives us an example of what a world looks like without racism or prejudice.
Hi, I'm Megan Hoffer. And if you're enjoying Words of Life, I want to invite you to check out another show brought to you by the Salvation Army. Heartbeat is a one-minute show about real life. Heartbeat touches on topics ranging from finances and prayer to dating and mental health. If you're looking for a short message of hope to challenge you and brighten up your day, subscribe to Heartbeat wherever you get your podcast or visit salvationarmysoundcast.org.
Welcome! Not all TV shows and movies are designed to entertain. Some journalism is hard news. The one-on-one interview might be just the most intimate and informational style on TV today. The Samaritan woman was interviewed by Jesus in just that way. In my mind and heart, this is one of the most astonishing conversion stories in all of scripture.
You'll find it in John chapter 4. I hope we will uncover in this story of the Samaritan woman our own struggle for significance at one time or another. We all have titles attached to us. Daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, auntie, wife, friend, teacher, laundress, housekeeper, best shopper ever, Salvation Army officer, employee, and the list goes on. However, do we ever suffer from does it really count?
Are there ever feelings of futility that come when we look to others to fill our emptiness? It's different for each of us listening today. We do not know this woman's name. She's called the Samaritan woman. We do know her conversation with the Lord is his longest one-on-one chat recorded in scripture.
A bit of history. Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Galilee from Judea. Their route to get to Galilee required them to pass through the countryside of Samaria. Jews and Samaritans hated each other, and it was very unusual for Jewish travelers to go through Samaria, a trip that took three days. No self-respecting Jew would walk through Samaria. They would choose to go around Samaria, which took twice as long.
Look what hate can do. Don't miss the word in scripture that says Jesus needed to go through Samaria. He had a purpose to fulfill. This woman was his reason for choosing this route and this time. We know he was tired.
Says he sat wearily beside the well. Let's not miss Jesus' humanity. Along comes a woman to draw water. We know she's an outcast, as she doesn't come at the same time the other women in the village might come. Usually they came early in the morning or late in the evening. The Bible says it's about noontime. Remember Jesus chose this time, this place, this woman to be part of the setting we'll see in a few minutes.
The setting for the first time he would formally reveal himself as the Messiah. Drawing water was a social event, and she chooses to come at the hottest time of the day, possibly to avoid the other women. Women gossip. No. We know from scripture that this woman had five husbands, and the man she's with now has not even given her his name. Can't you just hear it?
Shh. Here she comes. Can you believe her?
She's at it again. She comes to the well expecting silence and solitude. Instead, she's surprised to see someone is already there. A man she recognizes a Jew.
No worries. Men don't speak to women in public. Jesus startled her by asking for a drink. Remember, there's hatred between Jews and Samaritans.
They've blended Judaism and paganism. Despite this, she found Jesus, the one who knew her better than she knew herself. Look at some of the issues she faced. Her race, her gender, her morals, her religion, her loneliness, her self-esteem. Jesus initiates conversation with her.
Can you give me a drink? Jesus ignored race and gender issue. She's surprised. You're a Jew. Jesus avoids intimidating her, even when addressing moral issues.
He gets right to the point. If you only knew the gift of God, what do you suppose is going through her mind? Did this make her nervous? She has obviously been offered presents before, the kind with long strings attached. We know that this gift that is being offered is not as she might have imagined. Salvation is free for the taking, paid in full by the nails that pierce Jesus' body. Jesus offers living water. The move from human thirst to eternal satisfaction had begun. It's God's gift. She's introduced to divine things.
He dismisses the feud between the Jews and the Samaritans. He raises possible new opportunities and hints that she should know about this gift. She had come to the well to draw water, yet this stranger offered her living water. She's skeptical.
You have nothing to draw with. There's a stumbling block. Jesus keeps pressing her, wanting her to understand he is the living water. Despite her doubts, Jesus did not give up on the woman.
He didn't walk away or call her foolish. He did not stop seeking to meet her deepest need. We know the woman is thirsty, but does she realize it's not just a physical thirst but a spiritual thirst? She needed spiritual water to quench the thirst in her soul. We have many kinds of thirsts—security, peace, finances, family issues. God's grace allows for a spiritual quenching of our thirsts. Jesus may have pointed to the well and shared that whoever drinks of that water will be thirsty again. Nothing on this earth can truly satisfy, not even good things. Nothing but Christ can quench our spiritual longings. If we settle for the water the world offers, we will soon be parched. The thirst of the Samaritan woman in the heat of the day reflected the thirst of her soul and the heat of her shame.
She had gone from one man to the next. Perhaps she was desperate for love, desperate for stability, desperate for life. Only Jesus can fulfill our deepest thirst. Jesus holds the pitcher of living water. It's a gift from God, freely given, not earned or deserved, and never runs out. There was an endless supply for this woman. She was intrigued by the statement but was still willing to settle for less.
Give me this water and I won't have to come back to this well. Jesus wanted to give her more. She would have been happy with temporal satisfaction. Jesus longed for her experience, eternal joy.
Imagine life without wanting and wishing and striving, feeling refreshed instead of depleted. The woman indicates she wants to drink this living water. Sir, give me this water. Go call your husband. This is the time to face the truth.
Get your husband and come back. Oh dear, what a quandary. Finally she admits she has no husband. Yes, but Jesus knew the rest. He tells her what he already knows.
She had five husbands. He revealed that he knew her secrets. Jesus wasn't seeking perfection. He was seeking honesty. She acknowledges her own guilt and then says he's a prophet.
She changes the subject. The talk turns to religion. Jesus lets her know it's not where she worships but how she worships.
We worship in spirit and in truth. The woman could not truly worship until she was honest with God about who she was and confessed her sins. Jesus could solve her sin problem. When Jesus asked for a drink, he was full of grace.
When he said, go call your husband, he was full of truth. Jesus understood her. Jesus gives us the spiritual solution for sin. She indicates she knows the Messiah is coming. He reveals himself to her, I am he. Interesting, a Samaritan, a woman, a sinner.
Look who he used to hear for the first time that he is the Messiah. Look what she leaves behind, the water jug. She left behind the burden she arrived with. Her shame disappeared. The insignificance of her life was swallowed by the significance of the moment. The burden of sin and guilt is lifted. She's basking in the glow of forgiveness.
There was no shame. She runs to the city to tell the people she had met Jesus. Jesus talks with his disciples and then salvation comes to Samaria. The people ask Jesus to stay. He does and because of his words, many more became believers. Look who Jesus chose to spread his news. An ordinary woman, an ordinary day at the well reveals an extraordinary Messiah.
Don't ever doubt yourself. I pray this week you might know God that he can show you the extraordinary in the ordinary. God bless you. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit salvationarmyusa.org to offer your support and we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or email us at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org.
Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for The Salvation Army's Words of Life.
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