"Now he had to go through Samaria ... and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?'" John 4:4, 6-7 (NIV)
Alone again. That's what she must have thought as she walked alone to the well that day. No friend laughed by her side. No small fist gripped her skirt. No sister to help pass the time.
Maybe it was better that way. Being alone was easier than hearing the condemning words and seeing the scornful looks of others. But she wasn't alone for long. She didn't know who He was and couldn't help but wonder why He was talking to her, a Samaritan woman.
When He spoke, she heard gentleness in His voice. Kindness and humility in His simple request for a drink. In His eyes she saw acceptance, not judgment. Love, not hate.
Many of us know her as the Samaritan woman, but I like to call her Sam. It makes her feel more like the real woman she was. A woman who struggled with hurt, rejection and loneliness.
Today's key verse says Jesus "had to go through Samaria" (John 4:4). Yet theologians would tell us Jews considered Samaritans to be the scum of the earth and would do everything to avoid them. In fact, usually they would travel around Samaria — but not Jesus.
He had to go through Samaria. Could it be because He knew Sam would be there?
Typically women traveled together to the well in the cool of the day, escaping the heat of the sun since they carried heavy jars filled with water back to their homes. But Sam walked by herself during the hottest part of the day.
Instead of avoiding the scorching sun, many believe she went to the well at noon to avoid the scorching pain of others' rejection and judgment. Sam had been married five times, and now she was living with a man who wasn't her husband.
The weight of the water-filled jar in the heat must have been almost unbearable, but the weight of her neighbors' words, reminding her of her failed marriages, was more than she could take.
When Jesus met her, Sam was running an errand and running from those who knew of her failures, shame and imperfections. Pursuing her with His perfect love, Jesus timed it so she would run into Him.
He initiated conversation and asked her for the one thing she had to offer: water. It wasn't much, but it was a start.
Sam stopped and listened. She let Him speak words of assurance and acceptance into the broken, insecure, empty places of her heart.
In the same way Jesus intentionally pursued Sam in one of the loneliest parts of her day, He is there in the midst of your sometimes lonely, imperfect life. He is there when your disappointments and failures leave you empty and make you doubt your worth and purpose.
He is there when you're going through the motions, aware of what needs to be done but unaware of how you're going to do it all.
He is there during endless days filled with projects, diapers or laundry when you're wondering if you'll ever find meaning in the monotony.
He is there when you're criticizing yourself and questioning whether you have what it takes to be a godly woman.
He sees you. He notices all you do, and He knows what you long for. In fact, Jesus is the only One who can meet your deepest need to be known, accepted and pursued simply because of who you are.
Today He is pursuing you with His gift of perfect love — love that is patient and kind, love that keeps no record of your wrongs, love that won't give up on you or me.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, He is there. Will you take time to stop and talk to Him and then quiet your thoughts so you can listen to His voice?
Dear Lord, thank You for pursuing me. I want to know and rely on the love You have for me and live in the security of it! When I feel afraid, insignificant or alone, help me turn to You and remember You are there! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Jeremiah 31:3b, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." (NIV)
Do you long to feel loved, accepted and pursued? If so, A Confident Heart by Renee Swope is just the book for you! Chapter by chapter, Renee will show you how to live in the power of God's promises and the security of God's heart and love for you.
Renee has also written A Confident Heart Devotional, combining God's Word with encouragement to start your day.
Visit Renee's blog for more encouragement.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How does it make you feel to knowing Jesus is pursuing you in every moment of every day? Take a minute to tell Him what assurance you need from Him today.
© 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105