A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (John 4:7)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I tried to find Jesus comforting the sinner in this story. But I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that He was heckling her the whole time. Every response she gives is biting. She comes to see He has power, but never really finds mercy for her sins, and nobody got any water to drink. Each time that she recoils and rebuffs and retorts, she really only shows how much she doesn’t want to be there. Jesus isn’t berating her. He’s pointing to something bigger. There’s living water here. It’s free. It’s for her. But she’s still so beat down she can’t see it.
She has to work herself up every time she goes out in public. She hears what she is whenever she goes out. She’s not Jewish enough. Not married enough. She would rather not go to that well anymore. She actually confesses it. Give me the water. I don’t want to have to come here anymore. I don’t want to be what they stare at and talk about. I don’t want to be the object lesson to nice little boys and girls about cohabitation. Because the actual sin is the one thing she’s the least willing to talk about. You get explanations with every response until the last. “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
Jesus asked for water and never got any. He asked after her husband and never got an answer, either. Jesus asks after everything she needs and never gets it. She can’t give it. But Jesus is there to do more than correct her. He’s there to give. He doesn’t wait until she feels appropriately sorry. Her biting answers toward Jesus say plenty about how she really sees herself. He just starts promising living water to bitter sinners. He’s so blunt that the rest of us get as uncomfortable as the woman is. There’s no condition.
Because nobody is saved by measuring his or her sins. We’re saved by Jesus, by the living water that comes from His side. For the sins you hide away, for the statistics you’ve become on purpose or by accident, for your guilt. . . Jesus died for you. Your sins are forgiven you. The abortions are forgiven. The attractions you struggle with are forgiven. Your browser history is forgiven. You are forgiven. You are baptized. You have the living water that Jesus promised. You are nothing less than what happened to you at this font. Clean. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Lord, grant us in our Baptisms forgiveness of sins that never ends; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.