An encounter is an unexpected meetup experience. Major or significant events have taken place in the lives of most people are as a result of encounters with a person(s). There are testimonies of encounters which led to landing a job opportunity, access to something needed, or even some that blossomed into beautiful friendships, relationships or marriages. Far more than having encounters with humans, is the profound need in the life of every person to have an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the gospel of John 4:1- 42, we find the account of the Samaritan woman who had an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ at Jacob’s well. In this account we find out how this encounter drastically changed the life of this woman and also awakens us to also strive to have an encounter with God to experience a remarkable change in our lives for the better.
A bit of a background about who the Samaritan woman was:
First she was a Samaritan, from the Jewish perspective, Samaritans were–a mixed-race people, their ancestors had intermarried with the Assyrians and as result, they were hated by the Jews because of this cultural mixing. This cultural mix influenced their way of worship and beliefs such as having their temple on Mount Gerizim (wider scale, her people are deemed as a rejected society, not in right standing with God) as a result the Samaritans felt inferior in comparison to the Jews.
Second, she had experienced a breadthof unfavorable events in her life. In her conversation with Jesus Christ, Christ revealed to her that she has been married five(5) times and the current man in her life was not her husband. In my understanding for this woman to be have been married 5 times could mean two things:
(1) that she has been divorced five( 5) times which is less likely as men in those days would be less interested in marrying a divorced woman.
(2) that she has lost 5 (five) husbands to death which is more closer to her situation as widows were passed on to the alive brother as his wife
Whether divorced five times or widowed five times either ways these events present a woman who was very vulnerable and probably living with a lot of emotional pain. In a time where most women depended mostly on men for security and provision coupled with the history with her spouses, men were probably reluctant to marry the Samaritan woman. This situation I believe made her settle to be a concubine to the current man in her life.
Her chosen immoral lifestyle made her shunned and rejected by her own people and with that only goes to fetch water from the well at noon ( the hottest hour) of the day when no one is expected to be at the well. At a time when she expected no one to see her to ridicule her or remind her of her brokenness, she meets the most unexpected person of her life, the Messiah, the Savior at the well!
Here a few lessons we can derive from the encounter at well:
God desires and seeks for an encounter with us
Verse 4 But He needed to go through Samaria. – Devout Jews will avoid the route through Samaria to get to and fro Jerusalem and Galilee at all cost but Jesus Christ knew that the people of Samaria needed the gospel as much as the Jews. It was necessary for him to go through Samaria to meet up with the woman at the well and the people. God wants to meet with you more than you want to meet up with him. God pursues us, He seeks after us, He comes running and chasing us down. Jesus did not care what the religious people would say about him, He did the Father’s will and that is to reach the lost at all cost. On that fateful noon day, Jesus Christ, though tired and thirsty, waited for the woman at the well to bring her the Good News of God.
Surrender to God
Verse 7 “Give me a drink” – “Give me a drink” is symbolic of God speaking to us right now, give him our lives. The life of a sin, marked with addictions, trauma, sorrows, pain, doubts etc. God asks us to give Him our broken lives in exchange for the new life in Him.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”John 4:10 NKJV
The life we receive when we surrender our old lives to God is an eternal life of holiness and imputed righteousness of Christ Jesus that is able to host the very presence of God and will live on into eternal glory with Jesus Christ.
God will meet you at the point of your need
In this encounter with Jesus Christ, He met the very need of the Samaritan woman’s life. The brokenness, shame, weight, burden, worries, questions, the doubts that heavily burdened this woman were lifted when she encountered Christ. The truth Jesus Christ spoke into her life vanquished all the deceptions and strongholds that kept her bound. The woman met the Messiah that she was waiting for on this day. “Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you, I am He”- John 4:26 NKJV. Just as this woman, the heavy burdens that are weighing you down in this life will be lifted when you surrender in your encounter with Jesus Christ. When you allow God’s truth to saturate your life, deception flees and you are set free. God takes on your pain, shame, guilt and gives you His eternal life.
Dear beloved in Christ, a divine encounter with God marks your life for the better. In the account John 4, we find that a woman who was afraid to be seen in public now runs to share her testimony in public. The testimony of the Samaritan woman brought many in Samaria to believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Not only will the divine encounter transform your life but also your shared testimony of the encounter will bring many to believe in God.
“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.”John 4:39 NKJV
Be blessed and always remember that Jesus Christ dearly loves you for He died on the cross for you.