Without doubt, this is my favorite story in the bible. Having heard it preached over fifty times in my life, it wasn’t that personal until recently. And that was after Pastor Steve Thuo used it in one of his sermons. First of all, that guy is hilarious. Like he is seriously funny. Listening to him is mixture of a dose of comedy, serious life talk and being fed spiritually. All at the same time. But that is not why the samaritan woman is currently my craze.
The interpretation behind it is the culprit. Every single time that story is used by a person, they always have a unique perspective to it. But doesn’t all scripture work this way? Where you hear the verse preached differently all the time? I’ll share some of the interesting recent perspectives I’ve heard or read of it.
Do you have a husband? Jesus asked her. That was the focus of Pastor Steve’s sermon that day. And what did the woman say? No. Jesus told her she has answered Him truthfully for she has had 5 husbands and even the one she was living with at that time was not hers. Now, the turn this conversation takes after that, is what piques my interest. Assume you met someone randomly, and He revealed to you your biggest mistake or weakness or actions. Wouldn’t you be shocked or surprised? Wouldn’t you want to either know more about this guy or other aspects of your life that He knows about? Personally I would ask Him about something I have thought about but never put down in writing or said it. Like the future kid’s name that I’ve perused in my mind. That way, I would know whether he has some deeper spiritual powers. Because, who knows? Somebody could have as well told him that I have 5 husbands. I know Jews and Samaritans didn’t mix(and she stated so at the beginning) but I’m a skeptic like that. The next thing would be to ask of the future. Like now that you know who I am and what I’ve done, what next? But this woman, perceiving that this guy is a prophet, starts talking to him about Jerusalem and worship and Jews and Samaritans and forefathers. Yaani,hiyo topic ilitoka wapi?
And that is how we act with God in our lives. Where He wants to sort something out in us, we talk about it and agree that indeed something is wrong. But just before we can expound on solutions or the root cause of the problem, we change the topic to “forefathers”. Issues that are there, and are of concern, but that is not what we were talking about. And the most interesting thing, is that Jesus answered her query. And in the process, converted the woman to Christianity( she believed in Him as Christ) . The point of this perspective was, God knows even that which you refuse to talk to him about. We are like those kids with sugar on the sides of lips but still insisting that we didn’t take sugar, you all remember that, don’t you?
In the bible study I mentioned here this week we were discussing on the Samaritan woman. The study was focused on Jesus referring to himself as the living water. Have you received the living water? The description of this water is that first of all, one will not thirst again. And secondly, it is like a spring or well inside of you that bubbles or overflows giving you eternal life. On the thirsting again part, I interpreted that to mean, that I will be satisfied in life. You know of the way people strive for wealth, and when they get it, they want more and more and more. And it goes on and on to a viscious cycle that never satisfies those caught up in it. Or the way celebrities before they made it, worked to gain fame, and even after getting it they have to work hard to not loose relevance. And even after all that, some of them die having lived in glitz and glamour on the outside but in torture and loneliness on the inside. But maybe I’ve used anologies that are overused or that one can’t relate to. There are some of us that jump from one relationship to another. And in each one of them, we find faults with the other person or the relationship just does not make us happy. And so we keep on being on the run. And even marriage finds us complaining and nagging, that he or she does not care about me or is insensitive of my needs or etc. Why does that sound alot like the Samaritan woman? And by the end of the day, Jesus tells this woman, that as much as the world is there for you to gain satisfaction from, it can only do so to some extent. Only Him can do the rest. Only Him can stop us running in worldly races that never end. Yes, you’ll work, for food,wealth, fame or whatever else pleases one’s heart, but our satisfaction will be in Him, not in those things. Because they can’t satisfy anyway.
Another guy in our group focused on the way Jesus introduced Himself to this woman. As the living water that is. When she was coming to the well, she had prepared herself with a jerrican and something to fetch the water with. She had left husband number 5 or 6 in the town. Some preachers claim that she came to fetch water at noon time because she did not want to interact with the other women during morning hours, the most common hours for fetching water. Maybe, they go on, because she was a harlot. I can’t say a lot on that. Anyway, point was, according to her, she actually had no problem or want or need. And this can be seen in the way she is clueless on what living waters this strange guy is talking about for most part of their conversation. She actually comes to understand this living waters after about 25 verses. And so is the same with us. Unless somebody shows you that you need Jesus, probability is that you will not pay much attention to Him or his gospel. And for all those 25 or so verses,that is what Jesus was showing her. That she needs him. Same thing goes for evangelism. Unless the people the being evangelised to, see the need for Jesus, they will not accept Him. And if they do, it will be because they are thinking of heaven or hell, and in their heads are thinking, ‘ I am not so sure about this heaven or hell thing, but just in case it is true, let me be found on the safe side, “. From my observation, that is why 80% of Kenyans can claim to be Christians but we still end up being the 3rd or so corrupt country in the whole world. Because yes, we are born again, but was there or is there a need for this Jesus or living water in us? And if the answer to that is no, it is because we have not had the ” do-you-have-a-husband?”-conversation with God.
And I have come to realize that only God can show us our weaknesses to their full extent. For example, at the end of last year to the course of this year, I had been steadily growing spiritually. Consistency. I even felt as though I can now call myself spiritually mature. And guess what is the hall mark of maturity? Do you remember a certain song that used to sing when we were kids? sikiliza mama we ,nikuambie kitu, mikono zangu midogo we, haziwezi Fanya kazi,
lakini nikiwa mkubwa we, nitakusaidia
Responsibility. There is a reason that of the things children should not do according to the laws of the land, working is one of them. But grownups work. And so I confidently asked God to show me my purpose in this life. I was ready for any work God would give me. Or so I thought. Am sure God must have been smiling a coy smile when He handed me ” The purpose driven life by Rick Warren.” It is a 40 day study. He has divided the purpose of life into 5 major purposes (for lack of a better word). But I will not delve into details about it, I have it in PDF form just in case anyone needs it. But with each single day of that book, I realized how much of a babe I am spiritually. Kumbe God had just began with me. And there is so much more to be learnt. But point is, unless the maker points out to you, the areas of your life that have a problem, you’ll walk around wondering what living waters this strange guy is telling you about. I have a friend who thinks that since she knows God( that He is God and has a son who saves people) then that is all. I mean ,after all, some Christians who attend church faithfully unlike her have really bad characters and are hypocrites. What I now understand is that the need for Christ is an integral part of any Christian’s life. Don’t you think that that ‘hypocrite’ is actually going to church because they have realized the need for something more? While we the self righteous pretend that since we don’t have “5 husbands” like them, we don’t need living water as much? In biblical jargon, the self righteous people are equated to the Pharisees and rarely did Jesus have kind words for them.
The Samaritan woman has taught me a lot and continues to do so. I love how Jesus ends up converting her. For me I would take this story as an example of how to call others to Christ. Talk to them, know about their lives, convey the need for something more(everyone has that yearning in them) and finally reveal who and what is the living water. And just like the samaritan woman, Jesus gives us the chance to either accept him or not. And after accepting that living water, don’t let that spring or well in you be unused, allow it to flow over. And just like that Samaritan woman, you will not be able to keep it to yourself.
In case you want the Purpose Driven Life(What are you here for?) By Rick Warren, just send me your email via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll happily share it with you. Be blessed!