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4 min read

Jesus' Encounter at the Well

Raydeane Owens and her husband JO are lead pastors at Heart of the City Church in Coeur d'Alene, a church that has welcomed women from the Center for Women and Children with open arms. Raydeane is also part of UGM Women's Auxiliary and has a heart to invest in helping the residents at UGM. She wrote the following about an extraordinary story in the Bible. 

I love the Spirit of Jesus I read about in the Bible and experience on a day to day basis.  He breaks every rule and code and shows a better way of kindness and compassion for humanity.

I am especially fond of the story of the woman at the well that was recorded by John, the disciple. 

The account tells us that when Jesus arrived at the well He was, ‘worn out.’  He’d probably walked a great distance in desert conditions and had most likely been ministering to multitudes of people, or at least His disciples, for a good part of the day.  Let’s feel Him for a moment.  Put yourself in His shoes. 

How do you feel after working either at home or outside the home all day?  Do you want to talk to people?  Would you rather have some quiet time, sit down, rest, re-group? 

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The story also tells us it was about 6 o’clock.  That’s quittin’ time where we come from, right?  Jesus had sent His disciples into the nearest city to pick up dinner.

This is not a random encounter.  Jesus planned this.  He sent the disciples to town so that He could be alone with the Samaritan woman.  He wanted to speak with her.  He wanted to encourage her, breathe life into her, and, if you can dare to believe with me, release her into her true destiny and calling.  He didn’t want any distractions, no questions, no attitudes - which the disciples could weary Him with on occasion.

So He silently rests at the well, waiting for her.  Here she comes.  She’s just gonna mind her own business, get her water, and head back to town.  Jews don’t talk to Samaritans, and men didn’t really acknowledge women back in the day. 

First things first.  Timing.  How long was this encounter at the well?  Timing is EVERYTHING to Jesus.  He’s very specific.

After some research into Jacob’s Well, and where the nearest city, Sychar, was, I discovered they’re about a half a mile from each other. The name Sychar means falsehood, liar or drunkard.  Speaks volumes of how Samaria and the Samaritans were viewed.

It would take the disciples about 10 minutes to walk a half mile to Sychar.  It would take 10 minutes for them to walk back.  There’s 20 minutes.  Let’s give them another 20 minutes to secure dinner.

So, 40 minutes with Jesus and this is what transpired:

Jesus speaks to her.  She’s probably taken aback.  Well, she is, and tells Him so.  She’s basically telling Him in John 4:9, “Hey, in case you forgot, you’re not supposed to talk to me or even really acknowledge me.”  Just FYI:  The Rabbinic law in those days went something like this:  “Let no one talk with a woman in the street, no, not with his own wife.”  Yeah, that’s how they rolled back then.

Socrates, a great philosopher of the time said this:  “I thank the gods daily that I was not born a slave or a woman.”  Alrighty then.

Jesus is just super cool.  He doesn’t answer her back according to her question. He supersedes any law, code, prejudice and barrier. Instead, He challenges her to ask Him for something in verse 10: Living water.  Imagine!

She’s probably thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, if He only knew who He was talking to. Not only am I a Samaritan and a woman, but a divorcee and currently in an immoral relationship.’

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Jesus gets right to it.  When the woman asks for this “Living Water” that He has to offer, He addresses her condition, her source of pain right away.

He knows exactly where she’s at, what she has done, what she is even now currently doing.  Not to condemn, not to shame, not to expose, but so that there is no barrier between them.  She doesn’t have to hide, she doesn’t have to cover up.  She can fully receive what He is offering to her because there are NO secrets between them.  He knows it ALL.  Everything.

Something precious happens right after this exchange: Jesus reveals Himself, for the first time, as Messiah. He had revealed Himself as a miracle worker, Rabbi, a wonderful speaker, but not Messiah.  He chose her to be the first.  A woman.  A Samaritan woman.  A Samaritan woman with a past.  It’s just too much.  So much love.

Do you have any idea how much Jesus LOVES His ladies?

Feel that for a moment.  You are so special, so precious to Him.  Any prejudice you have been subjected to, any gender bias, any limitations…are not from Jesus.  He calls you lovely.  He calls you worthy.  He singles you out, gets you alone so that He can reveal Himself to you.

His willingness to talk with her, to acknowledge her, to love her is all it takes.  The truth of His love and His acceptance of her immediately heals her heart.  She is changed forever.  This woman, who was probably the talk of the town for her shady lifestyle, walks back to her community and begins to share the encounter she just had.  This nameless, faceless woman immediately begins to do the work of an evangelist.  John the Baptist in female form, this girl is on fire! (I hear Alicia Keys singing).

It took just 40 minutes with Jesus to change everything.

The encounter was so powerful, people recognized that what she was saying was true, they listened to her and believed what she was saying. 

I imagine her face was probably lit up with the Presence of having been with the Savior of the world.  I imagine her voice was probably trembling and excited with the best news she had ever been given.  She probably looked like a woman possessed.  And she was.  With the furious love of the one who created her and released her into all the plans and purposes He had for her.

The end of the story tells us this:  “Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him (Jesus) because of what the woman said when she testified.”

Some of you reading this article are in a similar circumstance as the woman at the well. For some, it’s the weight of sin, for others, the pain of gender bias or racial discrimination.

Raydeane_Owens3-crop.jpgHe sees where you are at.  He’s seen every secret place.  He wants to make things right. The Breath of heaven is resuscitating the waste places inside of you.  He’s lingering at the well just for you.  He wants to speak tenderly to your heart.  Rebuild the torn down places.  Put courage in the hopeless areas.  He’s resurrecting the promises and plans held just for you.

If you can believe Him, it will change you.  If you let Him work through your life, it will change the world.

Blessings & love,

Raydeane Owens

Jesus shows through His actions that all people  have dignity. Use bookmarks as a reminder of your dignity in Christ.  

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