Thirsty and unworthy: What we learn from the Samaritan woman at the well | Women

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Thirsty and unworthy: What we learn from the Samaritan woman at the well

Posted August 19, 2020

Diana Best-Hutchison, of The Salvation Army Upper Hutt, asks us how the woman at the well in John 4 can speak to us about God's salvation and our identity. Can unworthiness be replaced by grace in the presence of Jesus Christ?

I never used to be able to receive compliments. Accepting compliments made me feel guilty because I felt so unworthy and unloved. Why? Because along the way someone had said something that made me feel ashamed and hurt. Their words left the impression of unworthiness on me. 

But God says I am the apple of his eye. We're God's beloved sons and daughters. God says we will be seated with Christ in the highest kingdom. Now I know and believe this, I can gather words of affirmation like a bouquet of flowers and present them to God at the end of every day. I give glory, honour and praise to God because I am made in God’s image.

There is a story in John 4 of the Bible about a woman at a well. Her nationality and life story made others say she was unworthy. Jesus knew all this, and yet he still asked her for a drink of water. What can we learn from the conversations they had?

'When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?' (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)' - John 4:7-9

Living water can only be obtained by those who recognize that they are spiritually thirsty.

'Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.' The woman said to him, 'Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” - John 4:13-15

We find that salvation comes to those who recognize their desperate need for the spiritual life they do not have.

There have been times I’ve given up. That’s when I know the only way is to truly let go, by surrendering my life back to God. God didn't create you to get lost in this world - your heavenly Father is calling you to where you belong. When you feel that distressed spirit try to creep up, instantly call upon Jesus’ name. Pray what's on your heart when you’re sad, happy or any emotion - just be truthful in your prayer. God will answer.  

You could ask my children - they see me praying everywhere and every day. I need to!

Before this woman could embrace the Savior, she had to concede the burden of her sins.

'You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.' - John 4:22

'He told her, 'Go, call your husband and come back.' 'I have no husband,' she replied. Jesus said to her, 'You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.'' - John 4:16-18

Salvation comes only to those who confess and repent of their sin and desire God's forgiveness. We can look at the things in our life that others say make us unworthy - and we hand them to our worthy God. I'll be thirty-two this year, and it's taken that long to truly believe and receive God’s mercy, love and grace. That’s how we are saved! God’s acceptance of me has covered everything and given me peace.

Whatever you were in the past doesn't need to define who you are today. 
Whatever people may think or feel about you isn't your burden to carry.
Jesus doesn't see the 'outside' of you, but sees inside your heart.
Jesus hears and knows everything you think, whisper... or scream.

We can overthink things, becoming so paranoid or even fixated on others' approval that we lose sight of who we are. Don't run to this world for answers, but keep going to Jesus to receive your everlasting water.

Salvation comes only to those who take hold of Jesus as their Messiah.

'The woman said, 'I know that Messiah' (called Christ) 'is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.' Then Jesus declared, 'I, the one speaking to you—I am he.'' - John 4:25-26

'Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 'Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?' They came out of the town and made their way toward him.' - John 4:28-29

The absolute truth is that salvation is found in no one else but Jesus Christ (John 14:6Acts 4:12). Don't be afraid! Don’t let doubt or fear stop you from being who Jesus says you are and speaking the truth. You never have to prove yourself to anyone on this planet. The only one you need to fear is God. Remember, God knitted you perfectly in your mother’s womb.

At times in my life, I've felt let down. Everything around me has been hectic and crazy, like a circus. But that's when I need to go to God, to keep being sustained by Jesus Christ and to know the truth is only in God's loving Word.

With the power of our Holy Spirit, you will start to change your ways and habits to become the person God says you are. May Jesus continue to keep refreshing you daily and reminding you that through who he is, he has made you worthy too.

- Diana Best-Hutchison, The Salvation Army Upper Hutt