There can be many points of bias that one can have in spiritual seeking whether they are honestly skeptical or even a cynic. In this line of study in doubt and inquiry in an encounter with Christ there is something to be appreciated for those who are marginalized from a societal influence that makes them think that by the group they belong to or what they have done that Jesus as Savior need not apply. It would be almost like a given that a message like a goodness that is “up there” cannot be projected “down to” the one who feels marginalized. Case in point to be seen below in one woman who felt unworthy for the reasons above of Jesus’ friendship and attention. I should also point out that the Christian message is that Jesus is the same always.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the well is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Anointed; when he comes, he will tell us everything.” Jesus said to her, “I am he,the one who is speaking with you.”
At that moment his disciples returned, and were amazed that he was talking with a woman, but still no one said, “What are you looking for?” or “Why are you talking with her?” The woman left her water jar and went into the town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Messiah?” (John 4:7-29).
A woman of Samaria came …”“How can you, a Jew…?”— Here is a socially based assumption. Then and now there are assumptions in cultures about Christianity and even about Jesus due to a lack of good representation of the basics of Jesus and lack of universality in the representation by Christians. A clash of Jesus and one who is alienated through such suppositions is not inherently bad. In this scene Jesus can especially see conflict as an opportunity for a proposal of sorts.
you do not even have a bucket and the well is deep; where then can you get this living water?— Here is a part of the dialogue where they are sort of speaking past each other. The woman thinks only by a natural terms but Jesus speaks in spiritual life.
The key term is life with a definition analogously informed by biology. Definitions of a life include eating, growing and reproducing. For this life to dwell and overflow means that she can be touched by the life of Jesus and that this life can extend through her to others. Later that day this seems to play out.
Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.—
This is a baby step to conversion. She is taking a step that Jesus can do something life changing but limits it to only changing her physical circumstance.
This points to two thinking errors. The first is motivated by her basic needs taking precedence. The second is that Jesus will make her literal well give endless water just for her like the earth should literally revolve around her. The gospel has good and bad news: God loves us and has a plan for our lives that we should submit to but the bad news is that it is not all about us individually. That said, at least she is starting to see Jesus as being able to deliver something though with limitations.
I do not have a husband— This is a moral turning point in being encountered by Jesus. As a person or a group gets engaged with the gospel it should be known that the message of God’s kingdom, though of grace, puts our lifestyle on trial. In a post-Christian culture the rhetoric gets only better and better at putting objective moral values on trial. Yet, the Christian Church of the 1st century was known to be “the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Objective moral truth can be put on trial, albeit wrongfully.
But there is even more of an increase in her faith emerging in the encounter that is good. She did not yet know all of Jesus’ capabilities and could have lied. She could have said that her “husband” was away on a trip. What is implied is the beginnings of confessing how messed up her life has become. She is starting to slowly rip the band-aid off. But Jesus picks up the pace.