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John 4:5-42

By Alison Harris

Jesus’s meeting the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well begins with a conversation that, according to the rules, should never have happened. But it concludes with many Samaritans believing in Jesus as the Messiah and an invitation for Jesus to stay among them for several more days.

Now, I tend to be a bit of a rule follower but what I love about this passage is the glory of what happens when you go off script for a time. One of the things Jesus tells the woman is that the water he would give is Living Water, not the water of the well that will make one thirst again. She is immediately intrigued, and also begins to be aware that he is talking to her about something even more vital than water. Both Jesus and the woman step out of the expected boundaries in this conversation. My sense is that his choice to talk to someone outside the rules was meant to show where strict adherence to the law was worshipping the law itself and not God.

Whenever I find myself focusing too closely on temporal things, following rules and goals, I notice there is emptiness. My bucket, having gone to the well countless times, is once again coming up dry.

Lord, you gave us rules to guide us, but let us not be shackled by them, that we see only them. Let us practice them only to better see you, the Living Eternal One.

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