I read this article in a recent issue of “Let’s Visit,” the weekly bulletin of the Center Church of Christ. I thought it made a familiar, but significant, point really well and decided to include it here in this space. I commend it to your attention. BP
In the fourth chapter of the Gospel according to John, we have the story of Jesus and the woman of Sychar that he met at Jacob’s well. Jesus and the disciples had left Judea and were going again into Galilee. Weary from his journey, Jesus sat down at the well at about noontime and the disciples had gone into the city to buy some food. While Jesus was sitting there, a woman of Samaria came to draw water from the well. When Jesus saw her, he asked her for a drink. This shocked her, for he was a Jew and the Jews did not have anything to do with the Samaritans. Jesus took the opportunity to tell her about living water and true worship. She realized she had met the Messiah and forgetting the purpose of her trip to the well, left her water pots and went into the city to tell the people she had met Christ. John tells us they left the city and came to Jesus.
Though we never saw this woman, she makes a definite impression on us. Though she is no longer young, she is by no means old. The traces of her beauty are still there and yet there is the unmistakable look of sadness in her eyes. You see, she was an outcast woman. Jesus told her that she had been married five times and now was living with a man who was not her husband.
Sadly, everyone knew about her sordid past and her soiled present. That was the reason she chose to go to the well at noontime, the hottest part of the day. Going to the well was more than a mission for water, it was a social event. By going in the heat of the day, she was assured that there would not be a large crowd at the well and she would not have to face the looks and comments of the townspeople. You see, though folks knew about her past and present, there was one fact they did not know. She was dissatisfied with life as she was living it. There were times when she looked on herself with disgust. She had never dreamed of making the mess of her life that she had and was desperately sick of what she was. She genuinely longed to be different.
Looking into this woman’s heart, Jesus knew that she was not content. Jesus also knew she did not have to continue this way. Even though everybody else had given up on her, even though she herself had given up and lost heart and hope, Jesus knew she did not have to continue that way. Jesus had then and has now the utmost confidence in the most hopeless. Jesus believes every individual has the capacity for Christlikeness. In every coward he sees a possible hero and in every sinner Jesus sees a possible saint. Jesus pledged to make the impossible possible in her life and she is to find treasure in Jesus Christ.
Jesus, you see, has the power to change lives. Jesus was able to change fickle Simon into Cephas, the rock. Through the transforming power of Jesus Christ, Saul the persecutor became Paul the preacher. John the son of thunder became the apostle of love in the college of Christ and Zacchaeus and Matthew, the hated tax collectors, became servants of God.
Jesus transformed this woman and she suddenly became a personal worker when she went into the city to tell others about meeting the Christ. When we submit our stubborn wills to the will of Christ and obey the terms of pardon outlined in the gospel plan of salvation, Jesus can transform our failed lives into a great success story like he did so many others. When I do that and live his kind of life, some day I will hear Him say, “Well done!”