Summary: thoughts about why the woman at the well left her waterpot
“She Left Her Waterpot”
David P. Nolte
On His northward journey from Judea to Galilee, Jesus had to go through Samaria. Actually, He chose to go that way. Normally Jews would take a route that would bypass Samaria. But Jesus had an appointment there with a woman who didn’t even know it.
Then she came. She came alone probably because she had few real friends; she came to this out of the way spot possibly because she was shunned in the city. But Jesus was there to meet her. He would befriend her and He would not shun her.
“She stood by the well so tired and alone,
misfortune and heartache was all she had known.
She looked at the stranger but who would ever think
t’was Jesus to offer her living water to drink?”
After their dialogue about well-water, her marital status and the proper place and manner of worship, the text says, “So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, ‘Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?’ They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.” John 4:28-31 (NASB)
The Samaritan woman reminds me of another woman. Maria was a 40 year old teacher who decided to run the 26-mile Boston Marathon. Both she and the Samaritan woman were possessed with a goal and a determination to fulfill it. In preparation for the race, Maria trained to shed excess pounds, put on wispy, unbinding clothing and lightweight running shoes. She wanted to go unfettered.
Perhaps it is a minor point, but have you ever wondered why the woman at the well left her water jar? She came there to fill it, why did she leave it? Maybe like Maria, she wanted no excess baggage.
I. MAYBE SHE LEFT IT BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO GO UNHINDERED:
A. Water jars were heavy, especially when filled with water. They were also cumbersome and not the best running equipment. If you were carrying a water pot you’d be severely disadvantaged for mobility.
B. We read in Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
1. “Every encumbrance” is differentiated from “the sin.” “Every encumbrance” has reference to some in-itself-non-sinful thing that impedes us.
a. It might be a hobby or pursuit of some sort.
b. It might be a relationship we’ve allowed to get in the way of our Christian walk.
c. It might be some anxiety or apprehension or worry or unreasonable fear about something.
d. It might be a habit, obsession, or regular practice of our life.
e. It might be some possession we value too greatly.
2. “The sin” would be disobedience, willfulness, selfishness, godlessness of every stripe and description. Sin entangles us like a black-berry vine that grabs us as we walk by if we don’t lay it aside. “The sin” includes
a. Saying sinful words: lying, gossip, slander, off-color stories..
b. Doing sinful deeds: adultery, cheating, stealing.
c. Possessing sinful attitudes: self-centeredness, laziness, spiritual apathy.
d. Indulging sinful thoughts: lust, hatred, malice.
e. Addictions to things that enslave us.
f. Leaving undone the right things we know we ought to do.
C. Can you imagine running a race (or going shopping in a mall, or doing your job) encumbered with 40 or 50 pounds of potatoes hanging onto your back? Add to that 100 pounds of chains which drape over your shoulders, wrap around your waist and entangle your ankles. You’d really be set for any sort of work or activity, now, wouldn’t you? Yeah, right!
D. Can you imagine living a triumphant Christian life all bogged down with needless fears, questionable associations, excessive, trivial activities and then, on top of that, to be ensnared in some pernicious sin? Think about it:
1. On the one hand these are harmful impediments because they prevent our living fully for Christ. They slow us down, bog us down and eventually put us out of the race.
2. On the other hand, they are needless burdens and entanglements because He is the burden bearer and the sin forgiver. We don’t have to bear our burdens alone or to stay in our sins -- another has given us relief.
There were things Maria needed to put off to run unfettered. When she decided to run the race, she knew that the distance would be horrendous. She had to forget that; she had to forget the blisters forming on her feet; she had to forget it when she was hit and injured by a bicycle. Maybe that was another reason the Samaritan woman left her water jar.