I kept reading the verse over and over. I was amazed. I was perplexed. She left her jar beside the well! Why? This water jar was so important. When a well was your main source of water in the first century, your water jar and rope were the difference between life and death. But still she left the jar beside the well. Why?
We know her as the Smartian woman. She is nameless and faceless to us. However, we know her from the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John. In this story, this nameless woman had an amazing encounter and conversation.
This encounter and conversation would change her life. She arrived at Jacob’s famous well to draw some water for the day.
A man was sitting beside the well and seemed to casually ask for a drink of water. She immediately protests! The man was a Jew, and she was a Samaritan.
However, Jesus did not get offended. Instead, He engages her in a conversation. He talked about living water. He talked about worship. He even talked about the woman’s personal life.
The woman engaged in these topics with Jesus, but early in the conversation she was quick to point out that Jesus had no way to get water, saying, “
But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?”John 4:11
Her focus seemed to be on this life. This physical life. She talked about physical things like ropes, buckets, and how deep the well was. Don’t we do the same? We trust and lean on the things that are in our hands.
We hold on to the intangibles of life as well. We hold our reputation, finances, prestige, and the security we try to create. We hold on to the things that we believe that sustain us in life or the things that we believe helps us live the “good life.”
Yet, it is in these situations we have those moments when Jesus steps into our life and helps us redefine reality. It is in these moments when Jesus reveals living water.
This conversation between the Samaritan woman and Jesus ended with Jesus revealing that He was in fact the Messiah. What a revelation!
This woman takes off running, not out of fear, but it is out of excitement. In her haste to tell people about this man who might just be the Messiah, she leaves her jar beside the well. The rope and jar that were, just a few minutes ago, so important to her, she just left beside the well.
When was the last time you had an encounter with Christ that was so powerful that your life, even if it was for just a few moments or hours or day, was completely reoriented?
When was your last meeting with Christ that was so significant that the rope and jar that you hold on to so tightly you left at Jesus’ feet? What is the jar and rope that you need to leave at His feet today?
The well that had provided water for this woman maybe countless times became an altar for her. It was the place where the things of this world, as good and important as they may be, did not matter as much as they once did. Leave the jar, drop the rope, and see Christ for who He really is.
Chris Montgomery is senior pastor of Frazer United Methodist Church, 6000 Atlanta Hwy, Montgomery, AL. Visit www.frazer.church.