The Many Men in the Life of the Samaritan Woman–and in mine
After reading the story of the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42), I drew out some parallelisms between my life and that of the Samaritan woman, and from there I tried to understand her backstory.
Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for some water. Confused or perhaps, surprised that this man of Jewish nature spoke to her–for Jews did their best to avoid Samaritans, despising them as half breeds who worshipped not in the temple at Jerusalem but at their shrine at Mount Gerizim (Women of the Bible, Spangler & Syswerda)–she might have replied with utter bitterness or just about the right mix of unfriendliness to throw this man off.
But then, at the height of their conversation, as Jesus was undeniably patient with her, He asked her to call her husband. This marked the turning point of their meeting. The Samaritan told Him that she has no husband. And Jesus knew this to be true. In fact, He told her that she has had five husbands and the husband she’s with at the moment they were talking is not really her husband.
How come the Samaritan woman has had five husbands? Maybe she was a beautiful woman with many suitors. Maybe she had been a widow. Or maybe, she was like me, who had been with more than five men in her early 20s, was looking for unconditional love, for security and untiring attention to fill in the hole in her heart.
Jumping from one man to another, men who differ from each other in terms of background, personality, economic status, I supposed that in these shallow qualifications was where my joy or happiness lies. I was enormously mistaken to think that I can have an everlasting inspired life with them, that having their love would complete me.
Maybe the Samaritan woman was tired of being with men who do nothing for her, not even to fetch some water for her. Maybe at the back of her mind, she knew she had tried all her options and found out that there is no man in the world that could ever satisfy the longing of her soul: the same thing I realized after going through the so many, unnecessary heartaches that sprung from being in a relationship with men who do not know Jesus.
Jesus knew what the Samaritan woman was thirsty of; He knew that perhaps at the very core of her heart was a dying flower that is desperately in need of water and she didn’t know where else to turn to–maybe that was why the structure of their conversation was designed this way: before He requested her to call her husband, Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” Jesus perhaps was already hinting to her at this point, knocking on her heart, graciously allowing her to know that she can always turn to Him, that whatever her need may be–healing, provision, love, hope–He can give it all to her. Jesus will never deny us His love and His gift of eternal life, if we draw closer to Him and ask Him for fogiveness.
As their conversation progressed, she may have recalled this and said, “I know that the Messiah is coming. When He comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then she received what could be the most important revelation in her life when Jesus replied, “I who speak to you am he.” (John 4: 25-26)
Back then, I knew who Jesus was but did I worship God in spirit and truth? Did I obey His will? No. I chose to go my own way, took shortcuts, grabbed tangible opportunities of worldly love for what? For security and intimacy, the very things that God so longs to offer and give us.
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. (John 4:23)
True believers of Jesus follow His voice, obey His commands and do His will. And this is what I hope to do now, by His grace.
When His disciples came back to Sychar, they urged Jesus to eat the food they bought Him, but this was Jesus’ reply (John 4:31-34):
But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about…My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
And because Jesus did the will of His Father, He was refreshed and satisfied. This is how our thirst for an overflowing joy shall be satisfied: by being with our Savior and doing God’s will.
The Samaritan woman came to know Jesus and she shared her testimony among the other Samaritans and they also came to believe in Jesus not just because of her testimony, but because Jesus, full of love and compassion, stayed with them for two days.
Did the Samaritan woman ever marry again? Did she acquire a new husband? I, for sure, know that she did, for it is said in Isaiah 54:4-5,
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband–the Lord Almighty is His name–the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the Earth.”
Wow! The Samaritan woman and any woman for that matter could indeed have true love in Jesus Christ. ♥