Now he [Jesus] had to go through Samaria” (John 4:4 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I was in college when I met my husband at a Bible study. He was sitting on the floor dressed in scruffy jeans, a red flannel shirt, and a strong face that needed a shave. The moment I saw him, I was smitten. But I didn’t want him to know that.
Steve finally asked me out on a date, and several more followed. One night, Steve said, “Will go with me to all the rest of the football games for the rest of the year?”
“I’m not going to answer that question,” I cavalierly responded. “You’ll have to ask me each week.”
What I was really saying was that I wanted to be pursued. None of this blanket-invitation-for-the-entire-fall business. I wanted to be wooed and won. Even though he had me the moment I saw him sitting on that shag carpet floor. I wanted him to show me that I was worth putting forth the effort to capture my heart.
We all want that, don’t we? To be pursued? And nobody does that better than Jesus. Let’s consider His pursuit of one particular soul.
John 4:4 tells us, “He had to go through Samaria.” That one verse stirs my heart because I know what’s coming next. Jews avoided Samaritans like the plague—literally. They were a quarantined people, and the Jews kept their distance. And the Samaritans hated the Jews right back.
So it wasn’t because of geography that Jesus “had to go through Samaria” on His way to Galilee, but because His Father told Him to. Jesus reminded the disciples many times that He only did what His Father told Him to do (John 5:19).
You see, there was a woman in Samaria who had been used and abused all her life. She felt less than every man who had thrown her away, as well as every woman who looked the other way. And now she was about to experience something new: being pursued by pure love.
While most women went to the well to draw water for their daily use in the cool of the morning or late in the evening, this woman went at high noon to avoid being snubbed by the other women in town. When she showed up, Jesus was waiting and asked, “Will you give me a drink? (John 4:7). He was breaking the cultural rules by talking to a woman in public and drinking from a Samaritan’s cup. He was willing to cross the man-made rules to set the God-made woman free.
As Jesus engaged her in conversation, He asked her to go get her husband. When she admitted that she didn’t have one, Jesus revealed the sad truth of her life. She’d had five husbands plus one extra. We don’t know why she had been divorced five times. In those days, a man could divorce his wife if she went outside the home with her hair unbound or spoke to a man in public or just didn’t like her anymore. But whatever the reasons, this was a woman who had been abused, misused, and tossed away by men she had trusted and loved.
Jesus spoke to her of her past without a hint of condemnation or rejection in His voice. As a matter of fact, He applauded her honesty, and commenced to have the longest recorded conversation in the New Testament with this broken woman.
Then Jesus did something amazing. For the first time, He told someone that He was the Messiah. “I, the one speaking to you—I am he” (John 4:26).
This woman, pursued by God, dropped her water bucket, and ran back to town to tell the very people she had avoided about Jesus. Her story holds great promise for any woman who has ever tried to fill the hole in her heart with relationships but come up empty. It is for every single one of us who has ever felt less than because we were tossed away, or others were chosen, and we were not.
I think God made sure this story was included for every woman who has ever felt less than because of rejection, discrimination, or a sullied reputation. And for you…and for me. God’s pursuit began in the Garden of Eden with the words, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) and continued with the words “He had to go through Samaria.” Listen closely. They continue even now.
He pursues you still.
Jesus, thank You for pursuing me. I am caught. I am loved. It is forever.
In Your Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
This woman pursued by Jesus was the first evangelist in Samaria. What does that say about what God thinks about women? Less than? More than enough? Leave a comment with you answer.
More from the Girlfriends
Sharon’s book, How Jesus Broke the Rules to Set You Free has been revised and updated! The new title is Never Less Than: Living Empowered, Esteemed, and Equipped When the World Tells You Otherwise. If you’ve ever felt less than because of your past, your present circumstances, or your gender as a woman then this book is for you! This is a message that your daughters and granddaughters need to hear. Click here to learn more. Click here for a FREE download of 25 Ways Jesus Honored Women.
© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.
This is a very good teaching for our time especially for women in this world who are too vulnerable. I pray all women will begin to see themselves as God sees us and move with that believe that we are more than enough to come out conquerors, victorious and winners in any situation or circumstances we find ourselves. WOMEN ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR PURSUER.
to me, when Jesus pursued the Samaritan woman shows how powerful His love for all women is. that no matter how horrible or guilty we feel about the things we have done, we are worth Gods love so much that Jesus went out his own comfort box to show this so we could have peace and true love within and from Him. What a blessing to know how much we are loved so unconditionally.
Thank you Jesus, AMEN!
I just read this in the “Girlfriends” e-mail and wanted to thank you for writing it. It’s a story we’ve all read, but your interpretation of it was unique, and deeply affected me.
Thank you, Sharon, for this am writing,
I am a fan of this woman and how Jesus led her!
Patti, your explanation of your understanding of this Bible passage….couldn’t have said it any better myself!
I want to be able to stand in that kind of truth of God’s love, for others. That is what I’m striving for.
God’s pursuit began in the Garden of Eden with the words, “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9). That was good! That line really stood out to me. Thanks, Sharon. I needed to be reminded that Jesus is pursuing me today.
Thank you for this reminder of how valuable women are in God’s eyes and how transforming forgiveness is. I remember my struggle with an attitude toward women at the Seminary my husband attended. If any student’s wife wanted to have a women’s Bible study in her home to reach out to neighbors she not only had to get permission from the seminary but even though it was a women’s Bible study it had to be led by a third year seminary student…only had male students because women could not be in seminary. Now, some 40 years later I am hearing so much tearing down of women in public ministry, i.e. speakers, teachers, etc. that I was very encouraged by today’s devotional…thank you for lovingly reminding me of how God values all of us.
It is really sad. I’ve heard it too.
It was 45 years ago that Jesus pursued me. I felt just like the Samaritan woman being used and abused by the men in my life. But God! He came and wooed my heart. I was searching for Love and found it in Jesus Christ. And I am so glad He pursued me. He turned my life around after I surrendered my life to Him and was Born Again. And like the Samaritan women, I couldn’t help but run and tell everyone about Him. It has been the greatest adventure of my life knowing God as my Savior and Lord. I am now approaching 77 years on this earth and Jesus is still wooing my heart to His. I am eternally grateful to God that He didn’t give up on me as so many others did. Praise His Holy Name! And I am blessed beyond measure that He loves me now and forevermore. Amen!
What a wonderful story!
I cannot even believe the timing of this… I could not sleep last night tears streaming down my cheeks feeling so much less than my sisters I’m not ipretty enough I’m not rich enough I’m not smart enough and my parents continually treat me that way I want desperately to be loved by them but I always come up short so to read this this morning made my heart well up inside and I knew God was telling me That he chooses me that he pursues me now I am enough for Him
Sounds like God heard your cry!
How wonderful and inspiring it’s been to read all the comments up to this point. God bless you all and I know he will continue to draw you closer as the days go by—closer to his heart. I pray that you will continue to see your precious worth thru his eyes and not your own.
I get so tired of and frustrated at those who say, without really understanding and without really taking the time to research, that Christianity is a paternalistic “religion,” that the Bible is written by men and teaches that men are the dominant sex, just as God would have it. No! No! No! If only they knew the true character of Jesus. If only they would see this story of the woman at the well. If only they realized how far Jesus went out of his way to elevate the status of women in his social setting (where women were viewed as of less worth than men!) and show how precious they are in the eyes of God… If only. If only they would read the words of Paul that there is no male or female distinction in the body of Christ in regard to equal importance or equal worth in the eyes of God the Father.
Oh, but that’s the New Testament, they might say. The Old Testament shows that God is a Being of masculine wrath and power. No. Again, they haven’t bothered to see for themselves. If only they would read how God, in his own words, desired to nurture his people as a hen with her chicks. If only they would read the Psalms where the love of God comes pouring out like raging cataracts. If only they could sense his patience, his desire for his people to stop hurting themselves by their disobedience. And…if only they knew…He was planning to send his own Son to die for the sins of the world out of his unfathomable love, to save all who desire to love him back. That’s all of us. Women and men, girls and boys, alike. Everyone.
Thank you for putting this lesson together.it brought me to tears..