One of my favorite Bible stories is in John 4:3-26.
This woman had been through all the motions - hungry, searching, love, lust, abandoned and the cycle continued.
The Middle East, the region in which this story is set is hot, dry and dusty. So why would anyone in their right minds go and fetch water at noon when the sun is at it's peak. She was probably a pariah and went out of her way to avoid being the topic of gossip.
Even by today's standards, it's quite a feat for a woman to have had five failed marriages. Imagine this woman as one of the congregation in church, would we not gossip about her and cast aspersions about her chracter, especially as she was currently living in sin? Would we accept her into the school of evengelists or workers training or even dare I say, Bible college?
To have had five failed relationships, she was obviously looking for something that no man could give her, and she didn't find it until she went to fetch water and found our Lord Jesus sitting by the well.
What she was looking for is no different from what a lot of us women are also looking for today:
Jesus addressed her. He asked her for a drink. Her self esteem was so low by now that she must have been really shocked. 'You a Jew asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?'
We also want to be acknowledged for the little things we do daily. It's painful when the focus is on our mistakes rather than the little things we manage to get right.
Jesus continued conversing with her even though he knew that she didn't understand what he was referring to. She was looking for a way to end some part of her drudgery; but he was offering her freedom for life; freedom from judgement; and He was offering her peace.
Jesus says to her "Go and bring your husband". How many of us would have answered truthfully. I know that I would have said "He has travelled", or mumbled some excuse. Obviously, this woman was looking for something and knew that her solution lay in being honest with this stranger.
For those of us that are married, let's be honest, would our husbands follow us to meet one stranger by the well? In fact, if you dare repeat your encounter with this stranger, aren't you bound to receive some well meaning advice about your gullibility or stupidity?
If I was that woman, I know that my husband would not follow me to meet such a man; so what would I have said to Jesus? 'Indeed Lord, I am a believer; but my husband and I are not on the same page spiritually. He won't come'?
I the tongue speaking sister cannot convince my husband to come for a church program.
Jesus asked her to bring her husband, because salvation is for families. Many of us who are married know that our husbands whilst being the head of the home are not the spiritual heads. In fact, we women have gone on to ahead to take charge of the spiritual headship of the family, because our husbands are sleeping.
A woman who had been scorned and looked down upon, became a source of good news. Souls were saved because she ran with the news she heard. One encounter with Jesus and this woman could not wait to share the Good News. She forgot about her self esteem. She had something worth listening to and she was not ashamed to share it.
My sisters, one encounter and the Samaritans received Christ. What have we done with all the sermons and revivals we've attended. How many souls have we brought into the Kingdom because of one sermon we listened to? How many people have we encouraged?
Let's imagine that the woman by the well had met Jesus when she was with her first husband. She would have realised that no man can satisfy her longings for love, acceptance and acknowledgement; but even after five husbands, it wasn't too late for her.
If it wasn't too late for her, then it definitely isn't too late for us. My sisters out there who have been disappointed in relationships with friends, husbands, children, don't despair. Look unto Jesus. He'll give you a fresh start. Confess your mistakes to him and he'll give you a new story. Jesus did not judge the woman and He most certainly won't judge you.
Leave your waterpot with the unfulfilled dreams and broken promises at His well, and he'll give you living water, which will lead to everlasting life. He'll introduce you to the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth and wisdom who will guide you and prevent you from making the same mistakes.
You too will go on and tell everyone, 'Come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did! This is my Messiah. Instead of judgement, He gave me living water. Instead of condemnation, he gave me hope. He has given me a new life. He hasn't given up on me, therefore I will not give up on myself. He has given me another chance and He will give you one too. Just take the first step, and come and meet Him.