Summary: Some people look for love in all the wrong places. This woman found what she had always been looking for when she met Jesus.
OPEN: A couple of years ago, a company out of Bethesda, Maryland put out a series of romantic greeting cards they called the “Secret Lover Collection”. The cards had a very specific audience. One of the 24 cards in the series read this way:
“My soul has been searching for you since I came into this world. All my life I have had this emptiness inside, like a part of me was missing and I was incomplete... And now I can’t imagine my life without you ... Even if I have to share you.”
Even if I have to share you?
This is a series of cards aimed at the Extramarital affair crowd. The company that put these cards out thought there would be a market for this kind of affair driven greeting card because – (according to their research) anywhere from…
25 to 60 % of men in the nation were fooling around, and
12 to 40 % of women (depending on what statistics you believe) engage in adultery.
Several experts (a psychologist, sexologist among others) commented on the cards saying they didn’t think it would catch on because the nature of a “secret affair” is… keeping it secret. And a collection of romantic cards from an immoral relationship is not a good way to do that. (based on an article by Alex Johnson Reporter MSNBC Aug. 17, 2005).
APPLY: And that makes sense because people caught up in sin would just as soon prefer not to let people know what they are doing. They prefer to remain anonymous – they don’t want the light of day to expose their wrongs.
John 3:19-20 says it this way “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”
It’s almost as if John, when he wrote this Gospel, wanted to use this concept as the foundation of his writing.
The world was filled with darkness… and then Jesus (the light of God) came into it. But men and women, engaged in sin, fearing having their sins exposed.
And now, here in Chapter 4 John is basically saying “Let me tell you a story about one such person.”
In Chapter 4 John sets the stage.
He tells us that Jesus going home to Galilee after having been in Jerusalem for Jewish Passover. He’s passing thru the land of Samaria and stops with His disciples at Jacob’s well to rest. While Jesus sent his disciples on into the village of Sychar for food, He remained there alone.
Perhaps because Jesus often went off by Himself to be alone His students had gotten used to seeing their Master withdraw to a quiet place to pray.
And it was a good place to be alone.
It’s the 6th hour - what we call noon.
And in that country, noon was a very hot time of the day.
Cities of that day were built around wells and water sources.
I’m told that women would often come down to these wells during the morning hours (while the day was still cool) and gather their water into jars while they visited and gossiped with the other women.
This well of Jacob’s, however, was out in the country.
And noon was not a time when women gathered for such tasks.
So, here was Jesus all by Himself - perhaps focusing on prayer - setting by the well.
Then along comes a woman with a jar on her head.
She’s a little surprised to see him.
Because of the well’s location and the time of day it was, no one should have been there.
But here is a rabbi standing beside the well she intends to use.
She thinks: "What’s He doing there?"
But, more to the point - what is she doing there?
Why didn’t she go get her water during the morning hours at the well located in the town square? There, she could have gossiped and hob-knobbed with the village women. Why go way outside the city in the heat of the day to fill her jar?
Had the city well gone dry?
Had she run out of water & just felt this water would simply taste better?
It’s a good possibility that she didn’t go in the morning to the town’s well to gossip because all the gossip would have been about her.
She was the town fluzzie.
The woman of loose standards & easy morals.
Had she lived today, she’d have been a guest for Jerry Springer.
She’d had 5 husbands and the man she was living with now wasn’t even hers.
Every woman in town probably watched their own husbands VERY closely when this girl was near at hand. Putting it bluntly - she wasn’t well liked or respected.