A Full Heart and an Empty Jar

A Full Heart and an Empty Jar

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Each weekday morning, we’re going to spend a few minutes in a passage in John. Here’s the goal: read it, pray it, share it. Every post will have a passage of Scripture, a short prayer, and a question to meditate on and talk about. In a few minutes every day, we can prepare our hearts for all that God has planned in this season of Lent. 

Read: John 4:7-30
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” [8] (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) [9] The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) [10] Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” [11] The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? [12] Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” [13] Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, [14] but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [15] The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

[16] Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” [17] The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; [18] for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” [19] The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. [20] Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” [21] Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. [22] You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. [23] But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. [24] God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” [25] The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” [26] Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

[27] Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” [28] So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, [29] “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” [30] They went out of the town and were coming to him. (ESV)

Why was Jesus at this well in Samaria? It wasn’t common for Jews to go through this way, but Jesus insisted. It wasn’t normal for Jews to associate with Samaritans, but Jesus crossed the boundary. It wasn’t expected that a Samaritan woman would ever have a conversation with a man like Jesus, but he initiated the conversation. Jesus came to that well to change this woman’s life.

The conversation turns out to be the longest one recorded in the Gospels. As expected, Jesus cuts right to the heart of the issue, she doesn’t have a husband problem, she has a worship problem. The eyes of her heart have been looking in all the wrong places to find value, satisfaction, and rest. That’s about to change.

Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus uses all kinds of metaphors to make this same point: he’s the only one who can satisfy. He is living water, bread of life, the good shepherd, the only true sustenance for our souls. I wonder if this woman came to the well even knowing what she was truly looking for? She probably came looking for nothing more than a full jar of water to take home. Then things changed. “Can this be the Christ?” she said as she ran back into town. Jesus would prove to be the Christ, her Savior and Lord, and that day she went home with a full heart for the very first time. 

Lord, you made me so that I can only be satisfied in you. Reveal the places in my heart where I’m looking for something else to make me whole. Root out the half-fixes and show me the peace of knowing you more each day. Thank you for being inexhaustible, ever-present, and personal. Amen.

Why is it so significant that Jesus crossed cultural lines to speak with this Samaritan woman? What strikes you about their conversation?

The Samaritan woman went away telling everyone about her encounter with Christ. How can you tell someone today about the encounter you’ve had with Christ?
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