Looking Beyond

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can You get this living water?’” John 4:10-11

Despite this woman’s ignorance to the truth Jesus was trying to share with her, she recognized the well was deep. How soon she would find out just how deep. Let’s explore a little further for some interesting and healing lessons on perspective we can apply to our own lives.

We should first understand the significance of the woman being Samaritan and Jesus being a Jew. Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. It was rather scandalous for Jesus to ask this woman for a drink, because Jews held a belief that Samaritans were unclean, and they themselves become ceremonially unclean if they used a drinking vessel handled by a Samaritan. However, our Jesus knew better. He wasn’t interested in judging her for her lineage. He was interested in healing her heart and bringing her into the Kingdom, where the only label she will have is “Loved.” 

The first perspective is about whose eyes we are seeing through. Jesus doesn’t view people the way the world does. In Jesus’ eyes, He sees only the heart of someone and what can be. Of course He’s aware of our past and present but, with the power of God at work in our hearts, that doesn’t dictate our future. This is vitally important, so lean in a little.

You are not your sin.

You are not your past bad choices. You’re not even your present bad choices. When God looks at you, He sees only who you are in Him. He sees the potential He knit within you when you were in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Can you receive mercy and see yourself in this light? Can you show mercy and see others around you in this light? It’s not always easy, but we all make mistakes, and Jesus tells us we will all be judged in the same way we choose to judge others – that the same measure we use will be measured to us (Matthew 7:1-2). Today seems like a good day to start looking at people a little differently, doesn’t it?

Our second perspective has to do with how we inventory our resources. In the Scripture above, the woman told Jesus He had nothing to draw the water out with. Just like the Samaritan women, we look at our own situations and believe God can’t or won’t help us because the answer we seek requires something we don’t have. Our perspective needs to change to account for two things. The first is the answer we want may not be the answer God knows is best. The second is He has what we can’t see. God has everything and anything at His disposal the moment He needs it. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it won’t be there in His perfect timing.

This leads us to our third perspective. What we see may not always be what we’re getting. If you take anything away from this reading, I pray it’s this. When the Samaritan woman asked about the living water, she understood this to be water used to quench her physical thirst. What she was unaware of in that moment, was that it wasn’t the well water He wanted to give her, but the gift of salvation. I wonder how often we’re handed something from God, only to miss the deeper and more meaningful picture.

When Jesus told her what her current life’s condition was, He didn’t condemn her. He gave her hope and the assurance of a new life in Him. He was more concerned about who she could be than who she was. The expression Jesus used to describe the “welling up” of eternal life is a vigorous one. Commentaries say it has a meaning like “leaping up.” Jesus was speaking of vigorous, abundant life. The life he offered to this Samaritan woman is the same life He offers to you and me.

Look beyond the things right in front of you to see the bigger picture. Seek out understanding and a greater wisdom for the things of this world God uses to teach you about the things of His Kingdom.

Interesting factoid: The well mentioned in the Scripture above is commonly referred to as Jacob’s well. It’s located in Shechem, a city in ancient Israel, north of Judea. Christian sources as early as the fourth century mention a well in this area that was over 100 feet deep. In 1935, there was a well cleaned out, believed to be this very well, and it did, in fact, go down 138 feet.

Be blessed,
C.K.

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