When I was asked to write an article for today’s message based on John 4:1-30, I began to search for an interesting angle, perhaps something intellectual or profound. As I read and re-read the passage however, a verse that I so often skimmed over because it seemed mundane, struck me, “… so Jesus, wearied as He was from His journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour” (John 4:6). Here was Jesus, our Great Redeemer, King of Kings, tired and probably very hot as well because it was noon, according to many interpretations of the sixth hour.
A spent, sweltering Saviour seems like an incongruent image of Jesus, but this also demonstrates His humanity. More accurately, Jesus is both God and human. He has experienced what we have experienced in life, and feel what we have felt. When we are hot, tired and thirsty, Jesus has been there too and knows what it is like. When we are in despair, we can cry out to him, knowing that Jesus understands our emotions because He has them too. We can draw comfort from the fact the our Saviour is not some distant God devoid of empathy. Instead, in Jesus, “… we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Returning to the passage, it also dawned upon me that Jesus was tired for a purpose. Yes, it was probably a long journey to Galilee, but Jesus deliberately stopped at a specific town (Sychar), at a specific time (noon), and at a specific place (the well) so that he could meet the Samaritan woman. This woman was someone that Jesus should not have wanted to have dealings with. First, she was a Samaritan and Jews did not associate with them (John 4:9). Second, she was a sinner and Jesus knew this, “for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband” (John 4:18). And yet, Jesus was there at the well, intentionally tired so that He could offer the woman the precious gift of living water that will lead to eternal life, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
Finally, the passage shows that our weary Saviour dealt with the wayward Samaritan woman lovingly, not lashing out or talking down to her as many of us may do so when our tiredness leads to irritability and impatience. He pointed out the woman’s sin but did not shame her. Instead, Jesus reached out and offered to her the cleansing of her shame-filled life through living water. Because of this, the woman’s life changed. She no longer shunned others because of her sin, as suggested by her drawing of well water in the heat of noon when no one else would do so, but introduced Jesus as the Christ to the entire town (John 4:29-30). As a result, many of the town’s people believed in Jesus (John 4:41).
Romans 8:38-39 reads “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Certainly then, a little tiredness will not stop our loving Saviour from meeting us at the well.
By Dion Goh (YCKC Bulletin 6 October 2019)