Have you ever wondered how God could ever possibly forgive you? How could he ever release you from the debt of your sins and guilt? This kind of doubt is a universal problem, especially when we’re honest with ourselves and come to grips with the true disgusting nature of our mistakes. When we face the realization that our sin has separated us from our perfect God and Creator, we should be completely humbled by that sobering truth. It hurts, it disappoints, and most importantly, it has us questioning whether we’ll be accepted by God ever again.
I believe this is exactly what happened to the Samaritan woman at the well in John chapter 4. Here’s a woman, scorned and pushed away by her people for her sin of adultery. You can imagine why she chooses to go to the well by herself during the hottest part of the day. Wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you want to be left alone and not face the ugly stares and coarse remarks? Like wearing a scarlet letter emblazoned across her chest, she’s well aware of how she’s viewed. She’s heard the whispers, felt the evil stares, understood her station in life and knows that she has dug her own pit of despair and shame.
Then along comes Jesus.
Why on earth did Jesus have to travel through Samaria? He could just as easily have gone around the area every other Jewish person avoided, but he chose to go through instead. There’s a woman there who had an appointment with grace.
Now grace isn’t always as clean and pretty as we’d like it to be. Sometimes it asks difficult questions and lays bare our thoughts and our sins. Sometimes grace leaves us reeling when we’re left face to face with our mistakes. That’s exactly what happens to this woman at the well. Jesus exposes this woman’s sins to reveal the truth of what her life had become (John 4:16-18). He doesn’t sugarcoat her choices in life or wish away the real sins that are keeping her away from God. Jesus shows her how badly she needs the grace of God.
What would Jesus say to you at this moment if you were in the position of the Samaritan woman? What accusations could be leveled against your life in regards to your lack of righteousness? Could he say…
- “You have an anger problem and it’s alienating you from friends and family.”
- “Your alcohol abuse is getting out of control and it’s killing your marriage.”
- “Your fascination with money and possessions is costing you your soul.”
- “The pornography you secretly watch is completely destroying your view of a healthy relationship.”
- “Your self-righteous and legalistic attitude is turning others away from me.”
- “You are a judgmental gossip who appears clean on the outside, but is filthy on the inside.”
Sure, Jesus could raise any one of these objections or maybe many others, and there’s no way we could argue. Like the Samaritan woman, we would simply have to hang our heads and acknowledge our own guilt.
But Jesus didn’t come to condemn this woman and he doesn’t wish to condemn us now. He offers a grace greater than all your sins. Like the time at the well, he reveals to us his true identity. He is the Messiah, the Savior, the living water that we all need to survive (John 4: 10-13, 25-26). He is the cure for your sickness, the calm amidst the storm of guilt and doubt. Won’t you let him into your life and drink deeply from his well of love and forgiveness?