Give Me Some Water

By Pastor Jerry Donovan

“How can you—a Jew—ask me, a Samaritan woman, for water to drink?” (John 4:9 CEB). How is it that you, living in that exclusive neighborhood, ask me a resident of the inner city for a drink? How is it that you, a northern factory worker, ask a drink of me a Texas cotton farmer? How is it that you, who have been lumping all of us together into some invisible group, now suddenly ask something of one of us? The forces of darkness and evil are always working to destroy life, to reduce the good, to brand us into groups and treat us as statistics accordingly destroying the advantages of the individual gifts of all creation. However, the power of God’s grace is always working on us allowing us to use our special talents and abilities to benefit all his creation on a public stage.

Jesus and the woman are at the well. She is an invisible person to the Jews because she is a female and a Samaritan. They don’t see her. They see the labels and symbols and the history, but they don’t look at her. She has secrets that most people do not want to hear about. She comes to the well at the hottest time of the day because she knows no one will be there.

Many of us try to be invisible and not call attention to ourselves because we are afraid that other people will reject us, dislike us, oppose us, even exclude us, if they know our secret shame. Perhaps we work in a store and we come home with unpaid merchandise, or we did not get the college diploma we said we did. We don’t want to be noticed because we are afraid the attention will expose our sins and we will be condemned.

Jesus sees this woman because he has a need, he’s thirsty. The well is deep and he doesn’t have a bucket. Jesus makes her visible when he asks for help and talks with her as though she matters, talks to her as a human being, with respect and dignity, as if her being there at noon is nothing out of the ordinary.

We discover an amazing thing in this story.  Jesus already knows her secret. Jesus treats her as a human being even knowing her story. God already knows all our secrets that we are hiding. God is seeking us, calling us. God has work for us to do, and he knows the secrets we are using as the reason for ignoring his call.

Way too many of God’s people are holding back, trying to hide, because we think our dirty little secrets exclude us from the work of God’s kingdom. We let the secrets keep us from the dares of being a part of the mighty work of the kingdom of God. Rejoice! God knows the secrets that we live with. God’s forgiveness and grace are offered to every human being to bring those secrets out of the dark and into the light where his love and mercy cause those secrets to lose power over us, freeing us to use our talents in the great joy and mission of God’s people.

The secrets are known, and yet God still has a place and a job for us. What we are to do as part of God’s future is so much more important than those secrets is why God invites us to come out to the center stage of history and join the work of being the people of God. No one’s past can hurt the future of God’s kingdom.