“Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’” John 4:10 (NLT)
“The overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God. It chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine. I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away.” Cory Asbury, Reckless Love of God
- Call your prayer partner and pray together, asking for the Holy Spirit to guide you through your week.
- Friends, Jesus is fighting for you; He loves you dearly and chases you down whenever you turn from Him. It defies logic, really. He is the one bearing the immensely, unfathomably perfect gift, and yet He relentlessly pursues us. Turn to God today and see what happens. Invite God into your heart and your life and accept the peace and joy that follow!
- Read the story of Jesus with the woman at the well: John 4:1-42. Write verse 10 in your journal.
Come as You Are
Are you praying for a loved one who is living a life of emptiness, sin, and discontent? Or are you curious about God but just can’t get past the harsh condemnation attributed to the Church? If so, continue reading. God wants us all to come to Him, and He is not scared away by our sin or scars. If He were, no one would be saved because not one of us is truly worthy of His unfailing love. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NKJV). The story of Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4 reminds us of this truth, as Jesus demonstrates his love and grace as well as a beautiful display of evangelism at its best. Here, Jesus models God’s perfect love and shows us Christ-followers how to draw others to God through that love.
You see, Jesus offered this woman eternal salvation, knowing that she was no typical, up-standing Israelite. She was a Samaritan (strike one), she’d had five divorces (strike two), and she lived with her boyfriend (strike three). Any one of these failings would have rendered her unworthy of speaking with a Jewish teacher back then, and she had the trifecta. She pointed this out to Jesus (at least the first strike) when He approached her and asked for water: “Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9 NKJV).
Since this woman was an easy target for judgment and criticism, I suspect her response was not a display of respect, but her snarky way of refusing Him. That’s not a wise way to talk to the King of Kings, but Jesus’ patient reply is the epitome of humility and grace. “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” (John 4:10 NKJV). Since they were in a vast desert, this piqued her interest, and Jesus continued to tell her about His living water that never runs dry.
Jesus then mentioned the woman’s husband, already knowing all about her complicated relationship status. Aside from proving His divine anointing, He was clarifying that God accepted her as-is, without stipulation. He was making certain she knew His invitation to living water and eternal life was not based on an erroneous first impression, intended for someone with a good, moral lifestyle. Jesus’ magnificent invitation was for the real woman who stood before Him—sinful, lost, and broken. Jesus approaches all of us in the same manner: with an outstretched arm, freely offering His living water with grace, love, and forgiveness.
This Bible story is particularly close to my heart because it parallels my first life-changing encounter with Jesus. I became a Christian at the age of seven, in the sense that I believed God existed, but as I got older, my faith was too shallow to weather real trials. I searched for God but didn’t find Him; Christianity seemed to me a list of rules, followed by inevitable failure, judgment, and condemnation. That wasn’t something to which I wanted to devote my whole heart, and so I lived my life as I pleased, empty and longing for something deeper.
However, God wasn’t content to leave our relationship at that. A couple of years into college, my boyfriend got me pregnant, which is a quick way to find yourself alone at a large party school. All around me, the message was that I should have an abortion—I screwed up and should cut my losses. I had a difficult enough time taking care of myself that I certainly couldn’t give a child a good life. This worldly wisdom felt wrong, but I didn’t have a clear vision for what was right. My salvation prayer went something like this: “OK, God, I’ll do this and see how it works out.”
Then God met me in my day-to-day life, just as He did the woman at the well. He revealed His unconditional love through that precious baby and all the blessings that proceeded from a happy family and godly life. That unexpected baby and her loving father (now my husband) were God’s perfect gift to me—a gift the world said I couldn’t accept. The first time I looked into her sweet face, I felt an unconditional love that was new to me then, but has defined every day of my life since. God has revealed His love and grace to me in such a gentle way that He has won my whole heart. Why would I go back to an empty, sinful life when Jesus offers so much more? I suspect that after beginning to follow Jesus, the woman at the well asked the same question.
God does not require you to be sinless before He embraces you. He is prompting you to open your whole heart to love, releasing from it the accumulated unforgiveness, pain, and sin. Then the question changes from “why stop sinning?” to “why keep sinning?” Why would anyone want to sin and live in darkness when Jesus is willing to erase all sin and provide a better way? Those of us who, like the woman at the well, have experienced a life stuck in sin and bondage have no desire to go back there. Yes, everyone messes up, but God is interested in the intentions of our hearts, whether we embrace that sin or embrace Him. Obedience will follow (John 14:15).
Jesus didn’t come to this woman to call her a sinner, which would be telling her what she already knew. Nor was He coming to offer salvation that would give her free rein to keep sinning. That would be as useless as planting a flower among a weed patch without removing the weeds that would choke it. Jesus came to fulfill the law and demonstrate its power and goodness by providing the “why,” and then the “how.” Jesus offers us a salvation that abolishes all sin and frees us from a life in bondage. He doesn’t force us to be good; He frees us from evil so that we can be good.
Simply turn to God and ask for His free gift of living water. He will work out the rest as you walk with Him. “Ask and you will receive” (Matthew 7:7-8). What a powerful promise for all of us!
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- Have you run from God in any area of your life? Maybe it’s as simple as neglecting to study the Bible regularly. Repent and ask God to help you follow Him more closely.
- Have you accepted Jesus into your heart and life? If not, pray this prayer from the Rev. Billy Graham and receive salvation and a new life in Christ Jesus:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name.
- Did you pray this prayer? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can prayer for you.
Live out God’s goodness by modeling it to those around you, starting with your family. Forgive readily and respond kindly. When you neglect to do so, apologize (even if their bickering/ fighting/ whining/ temper tantrum brought on your outburst). Lead by example and be the change you want to see in your family. When other members of your family start to follow your example—if only for a moment—commend their kindness and thank them for it.
You can capture your husband’s and children’s hearts through unrelenting love and never-ending grace, just as Jesus showed us through this story and the entire Gospel.