John 4:25-29 (Today’s New International Version)
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you — I am he.” Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
In this encounter, Jesus broke a number of closely held religious rules. First, he spoke directly to an unknown woman without anyone else around. Second, this woman was a Samaritan, a despised group that was at odds with the Jewish people. No self-respecting Jewish teacher would start a conversation with any Samaritan, let alone a female. Third, this woman was unmarried, and in an adulterous relationship. Definitely off limits. But Jesus immediately spoke with her, respectfully and honestly.
According to The New Interpreter’s Bible, “The Samaritans, like the Jews, expected a Messiah. The Samaritans called their Messiah Ta’heb… the Ta’heb was a teacher, which may explain the statement ‘he will proclaim [explain] all things to us.'” (vol. IX, 568).
The woman came to the well seeking water. Jesus offered her far more, telling her: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). Jesus fulfilled the Samaritan expectations of a teaching Messiah: he told the woman “everything she ever did.” But he did so much more! He offered her — this outsider woman — life and salvation. He offered her never-ending relief from her spiritual thirst. He offered her understanding and forgiveness.
And she accepted these gifts.
For what are you currently “thirsting” in your spirit?