“So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus,
tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well.
It was about the sixth hour.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water,
Jesus said to her,
“Will you give me a drink?”
In his poem on the sinking of the Titanic, Thomas Hardy wrote,
“And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.”
Then they both slipped from their moorings and set out for their unplanned meeting in the cold dark waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. The date is fixed in history – 15 April 1912. Death was waiting for them.
Some 20 centuries earlier two very different babies entered the world and set off on their own journeys of life. These journeys too would have, at least for the one, an unplanned and unexpected meeting, this time in the lonely area surrounding a well in Samaria. As different as the ship and the iceberg, the Jewish Rabbi and the immoral Samaritan woman would never have been scheduled to meet. But, also like the ship and the iceberg, they did. Here too was death, for the old woman died – but a new one was born. For this time Life had been waiting and Life had the victory.
It is glorious to realise that as she wandered in forlorn isolation from the town in which she lived, coming to a lonely well because, very likely, the town’s women did not want her at the town well, Jesus was waiting for her. It is stunning to think that everything in her life, all her failures and rejections, had led her to this place where the Christ was looking for her. He was there not to hand out judgement but to give her instead the gift of new life – His life for hers. Love, Life and Grace awaited her and He started by asking her for a drink!
For each one of us reading this there will have been at least one time in our lives when our paths crossed with the Saviour. We may have recognised and turned to Him or failed to recognise Him. We might have recognised Him and walked away or have drifted away from Him later. Wherever we happen to be He still waits for us in our everyday routines – including the places where we try and satisfy a thirst that won’t go away. An aching longing that is not only physical but spiritual and emotional as well.
He is there waiting for us, waiting for the time when we will hear Him and respond. Waiting and longing for the opportunity to save us from the coils of death that we have produced, and to give us the Life that He has gained for us. Waiting even for those who are right next to Him to turn and draw even closer.
“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
And I come, O Jesus;
Dare I turn away?
No! Thy love hath conquered,
And I come today.
Bringing all my burdens,
Sorrow, sin, and care,
At Thy feet I lay them
And I leave them there.
Lord Jesus please help me to draw closer to You and to allow You to love me into the fullness of life. Amen.