John 4: 1-42
If you ever doubt Jesus’ ability to use you for good, along with all your flaws, consider the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4: 1-42. This is undoubtedly one of my favourite Jesus stories. It starts with Jesus dropping by Samaria on his way back to Galilee to address a certain issue that had come to his attention.
While in Samaria, Jesus meets a woman at a well and has an apparently spontaneous but challenging interaction with her. Firstly, He asks her for a drink of water which is a complete shock to the woman because in those days Jews would not use the same eating/drinking utensils that Samaritans used (presumably for religious reasons).
Despite the woman’s protests, Jesus proceeds to say something to the woman that to her sounds even more bizarre. He mentions how, as the son of God, He can provide life-giving water to anyone who asks. Finally, after further discussion and Jesus unexpectedly revealing specific things about her scandalous lifestyle, the woman is convinced that Jesus is who He says He is.
Soon afterwards, Jesus’ disciples arrive on the scene and are quite surprised to find him talking to a Samaritan woman although they do not openly question this interaction. Then the woman leaves the well, goes back to town, and tells her people about Jesus and the extraordinary events at the well. This eventually leads to many Samaritans believing in Jesus.
The fact that Jesus seemed indifferent to the woman’s apparent imperfections always stands out to me. Despite her sinful life and being a woman in that time, Jesus had chosen her to spread His message among her people. He could have picked someone considered more respectable to fulfill this role. To me, this is a good illustration of what Jesus meant when he states in John 3: 17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”.