"Encountering the 'World at the Well' with Jesus"
By Joey LeTourneau
"Jesus arrived at the Samaritan
village of Sychar...soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 'Give Me a drink of water.' Surprised, she said, 'Why would a Jewish man ask a Samaritan woman for a drink of water? Jews won't even drink from a cup that a Samaritan has used!'
Jesus replied, 'If you only knew who I am and the gift that God wants to give you, you'd be asking Me for a drink, and I would give to you living water.'" (John 4:5, 8-10, The Passion Translation)
This is a famous moment in the gospels
that I wonder if it's time we dive into again; and by dive I mean literally so. Right now, we're watching a swirl of deception, division, hatred, fear and accusation be gulped down by the glass in the world, fueling a war of words we don't need to be engaged
in—at least not like this. We don't need to choose a side and point at the other. Evil doesn't choose sides, it tries to lie its way into both. And the world is thirsty right now, so much so that they are going to the well and drinking what the enemy
is offering. What if we met them there and gave them something different to drink?
"There are no black and white directions or design; there is just a path to a well of water marked by our thirsty Savior's footprints."
I wonder if we are to meet "the world at the well" as Jesus did with the Samaritan woman? She came to the well thirsty. You know who else came to the well thirsty? Jesus. They both came to drink. Why? She came to draw a standard bucket of water. Jesus was
weary that day from His travels and saw His greatest opportunity for His thirst to be quenched by seeking the heart of the Samaritan, adulterous woman. Brian Simmons in The Passion Translation describe it best in the notes from John 4:6-8:
"The water Jesus wanted was the refreshing, satisfying pleasure of her devotion. He says to each one of us, 'Nothing satisfies Me except you.' The sinner drank of the Savior and the Savior drank of the sinner and both were satisfied. Neither ate or drank,
but both were satisfied."
The John 4 section of the Passion Translation is titled: "A Thirsty Savior." When I look at the world and where it's at right now, I think we have a very thirsty Savior. The well is where Jesus met
someone who was supposed to be off limits but instead He became satisfied by the turning of her heart towards His. It wouldn't have happened at the synagogue. It wouldn't have happened in one of His gatherings, because she likely wouldn't have come due to
her shame. Rather, our thirsty Savior met her on her level, yet didn't compromise the message either. He loved her so well in Spirit and in truth while upgrading the kind of water she was drinking.
Truth Without Grace
I'll never forget reading Rick Joyner's "The Final Quest" some twenty years ago and one of the wise truths that always stood out is that truth without grace is a lie. Truth without grace is what lures us into a war of "sides." Before we know
it, we find ourselves in a civil war within the Church across from other slightly different beliefs or denominations than our own. Or we find ourselves in a world war, our mercy-less applications of truth widening the chasm between Jesus and the world while
we end up pointing side to side.
We need to go to the broken, the unlikely, and the outermost parts of the world. Give them a cup of cold water while they oppose you. Go to them in the same spirit of grace that Jesus lived out with the
Samaritan woman. In doing so, we not only quench the thirst of the world around us, but their hearts and devotion are what quench our Savior's thirst as we gather with Him around this unlikely well, at this very thirsty time in the world.
However, in the same breath, grace without truth becomes humanism. We must go to the dark and hurting places of the world, but we can't merely give them a cup of just any cold water, for it will not quench their thirst. Give them
a cup of living water, straight from the Source.
My heart aches thinking about what I believe is and will be one of the greatest deceptions we have to battle in the Church and the world today and in the times ahead. The enemy typically
works in counterfeits to lure us into deception, and one generally only counterfeits that which holds great value. My concern is that the devil is ever so subtly trying to lead us to flip the two greatest commandments out of God's intended order—that
we will apply the second greatest commandment with higher priority than the first (see Mark 12:30-31). It is and will be out of the seemingly best intentions, but still out of God's order as well.
Whether we realize it or not, this kind
of humanized love conforms God into the world's image of love instead of seeing people transformed through love into the image of God. That "living-water-like" transformation only happens when we stretch grace out to the outermost parts of the world while
still remaining uncompromisingly tethered to the truth at the same time.
Spirit AND Truth
"We need to go to the broken, the unlikely, and the outermost parts of the world. Give them a cup of cold water while they oppose you."
"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true Worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him." (John 4:23)
The woman came to the well for a standard cup of water,
but Jesus gave her a drink of water that is from a different "standard," from the plumb line of God's house and nothing less. A cup so freely offered and equally refreshing that its grace and love was palatable, tangible and left her wanting. Yet from that
plumb line it also carried the concentrate of truth mixed so well into its spirit of mercy, that it did not judge or offend but actually brought about a hopeful repentance.
Only the Spirit can teach us how to apply the truth
like a healing, redemptive sword in the most gentle and still powerful of ways. That's what reaches down into us when we drink living water. That's what the world is thirsty for and waiting for us to learn how to serve them.
How do we extend grace without compromising its transformational nature? How do we stay anchored to truth while making sure our love is unconditional? Only a daily, moment-by-moment surrendered relationship to the Spirit of Truth Himself can teach or show
us how. There are no black and white directions or design; there is just a path to a well of water marked by our thirsty Savior's footprints.
The world is thirsty right now, really thirsty! But so is our Savior. Our next
steps have the potential to give them both a most satisfying drink. But the world can't ask us for a drink unless they find us at the well. Mercy triumphs over judgment. His mercy endures forever.
Heavenly Hope Ministries
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321