Well Of Salvation
“…anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again: the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside him, welling up to eternal life'.” (John 4:14)
John’s account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well has become one of the most popular Gospel stories, in no small part, due to the endless lessons to be drawn from it.
After a half day of walking, Jesus sat down at Jacob’s well. He was tired. It was hot. Everybody was hungry and the food was gone. He sent the disciples to go to town for food, leaving himself alone under the noon sun.
For most of us, this would not be a good time to pray. But for Jesus, whenever he is off alone, we find him in prayer with his Father. And whenever he prays, something big happens. This inopportune prayer was no different, for it set up an encounter which has become a Window-to-God for all of history. Two millennia and billions of views later, I peeked into it this morning, as I reflected on this glimpse into the Mind of Jesus.
The Samaritans were despised by the Jews for having mingled with pagan gods, and, this Samaritan woman was despised by her own people for adulterous relationships. She was a spurned woman of a spurned nation. And, based on her history of five ex-husbands, it is certain she knew loneliness. She went to the well in the heat of the day hoping to draw water, free from the crowd of insults. Little did she know that her encounter with Jesus would free her from all insults, that his Welcoming Presence would slack her thirst to be known and loved, that this Well-Coming would transform her life.
When she set off in loneliness to the well, she had no idea she was approaching the Wellspring of Salvation. When she discovered Jesus, she encountered unconditional love. She spent her life hiding her real self to avoid rejection. Now, she encounters a man who knows her better than she knows herself, a man from whom there is no need to hide shame –for he knows all about her yet still gazes upon her with love. She thought he needed her for life giving water. Now, she recognizes Jesus as the Wellspring of Life. She came, tough-as-nails; now, her heart is melted by Love. She came ashamed. Now, she knows she is precious in the Eyes of God.
The Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus prefigures our encounter with him in prayer. When the disciples return, they urge Jesus to eat some food, but he replies, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” When they left him alone, he was really hungry, but, he was not really alone -he was encountering the Love of his Father in prayer. He was receiving the sustenance required to be obedient to the Father’s Will. He was finding the clarity to live in Truth.When we commit to a daily time of prayer, we are establishing a Well-Coming with Jesus; where he pours the Love of his Holy Spirit into our heart; where we will discover our true worth –that we are prized by the Father of Creation; where we are freed from shame and dare to gaze into his Loving Eyes; where we will find the nourishment to persevere in faith; where we encounter that spring ‘welling up to eternal life’.