To be called by Jesus to serve him. even when you don’t feel that it’s your place, has been a very common thread in my ministry. Just like the woman in this story, I was surprised to hear Jesus call me when many in my community who considered themselves “Clean” & “Sanctified” wanted NOTHING to do with me (v. 9). I identify a lot with the woman at the well because the initial ask wasn’t immediately obeyed (v. 7), but questioned. Not only would I question, I’d tend to also get stuck on the details of it all (v.11).
When the truth of her reality was revealed by Jesus, I find it interesting that her first response was to ask why Jerusalem is the only place of worship. There had been divides, lines drawn on who was worthy to worship and who was not. Jesus says the time is now—for true worshipers to worship in spirit and in truth. What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth?
Living in our truth and asking the Spirit to lead us in all that we do is what I believe Jesus meant in this passage. This woman was set free of the shame she hid from those around her and the immediate response she gave was to spread this Good News! Jesus, the Messiah, is among us! The Bible says that many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of what this woman had said, yet, they were quick to tell her “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” (v. 42)
Even though her message was one that brought LIFE to that community, they were quick to let her know that her words had nothing to do with it.
I think denying the affirmation of women in ministry is such a difficult thing to endure. As a woman in ministry, I must always think of ways to stand out and do more than my male counterparts because I wouldn’t be noticed otherwise. I wish they could have said… “because of your words we were able to see Jesus in our midst.”
Sometimes our story makes space for others to see Jesus, even when others don’t understand what he’s doing (like the disciples in this case). We, as followers of Christ, believe that Jesus can and will call ANYONE.
This is our call, to worship in the truth of who we are, not in the facade that we all learn to build up, not to trust in our self-made holiness and sanctification, but to know that Jesus knows us and still calls us to spread this Good News: The Messiah is among us.