The church often talks about they love of Christ and how vast and wonderful it is in practice, but very few people have truly experienced and understood God’s love for us. How do we so often miss something that is all around us that is penetrating every aspect of our lives? In a world that is becoming more hostile to the church, we find that churches who are truly embodying the love of Christ are transforming their cities. But to truly love as God does – since God is love – we must know and experience the love of God in our lives as well.
I have written extensively in my last multiple blogs about the story of the woman at the well in John 4. It truly is one of my favorite stories in all the Bible, and one which reveals so much truth of who God is to us. Yet, in all the writing and theological truths to glean from the story of the woman at the well, the most central truth to find is that of God’s love.
This woman is not named. She is simply referred to as a Samaritan woman. This is to say that she is not someone who Jews would associate with. They were the black sheep of the family. Most Jews would travel AROUND Samaria to avoid running into a Samaritan altogether. Not Jesus. Jesus travels straight through Samaria and if you read John, you could believe it was simply for the fact of speaking to this woman who goes unnamed. And when Jesus encounters her, he does the unthinkable. He approaches her and speaks to her, which you can tell throws her off. She even asks why he would do such a thing since she is a Samaritan and he is a Jew.
But Jesus sees her to her depths and loves her higher than the heavens.
This is the most basic, but important truth of the story of the woman at the well. Jesus sees her and knows the deepest parts of her heart and who she is, yet he loves her so greatly.
Jesus knows her greater than she knows herself and loves her beyond what she could ever understand.
Not only was this woman a Samaritan, but she was a sinner. She was unclean and living so far outside of the Law that no “holy” person would interact with her. Still, Jesus comes up to her and strikes up conversation for the simple act of redeeming her. He tells her of the eternal water he has to offer which will sustain and quench any thirst she ever has. He acknowledges all the sin and ugliness in her life, but he still showed her love. This love overwhelmed her and literally became a spring gushing up inside just as Jesus promised. And just as when you pour water into a pot and it begins to overflow, this love is overflowing as she runs back into the city and she shares the good news. The story ends telling us that many Samaritans came to believe because of the overflow in her life.
The overflow of the depths and heights of Jesus’ love for us.
The woman had the same struggle that we all have when it comes to Jesus love for us. She must have thought, there is no way Jesus could love me. Five failed marriages and another man who I am now living with I have not even married. But without her even admitting these truths, Jesus affirms her and says, “I know your failures and sins. I know your short comings, your worries, and your doubts. I know them because I took them on my shoulders and nailed them to the cross, so they are no more. Simply believe in me and receive life. Receive this eternal water.”
This is the same promise Jesus has for us. Jesus sees us to our depths and loves us higher than we could ever imagine. Jesus knows every sin and failure we have made past, present, and future because they were put on him as he died for our sins. And Jesus says, “you are forgiven. Come to me and find rest. Find food and drink. Be filled and sustained. Remain in me. Abide in me.”