During his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus promised that, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 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 4:13-14 ESV).
This is the story of the Samaritan woman's conversion. It is also the story of her empowerment. She is transformed from a woman who sees merely a thirsty man before her to one who knows that man as Messiah of the world. It is the testimony of a Samaritan woman, a spectator on the outside looking in, that bears witness to an entire village. Because of her faith, the townspeople believe, making her one of the very first evangelists! In a culture where she was virtually powerless, Jesus chose her, a woman and a Samaritan, as a precious vessel to carry living water back to her community. They join her in drinking Jesus' living water because of her unswerving testimony.
There is great hope to be found in this world. Hope is the primary theme of the Samaritan woman's story, embedded in Jesus' inclusive call to all people who have been unloved, cast out, and made invisible to living water. In his call is the reality of hope—hope that there is more life in this life. In his commissioning of the Samaritan woman, Jesus reaches for the invisible, comes alongside those that society has cast out, and loves those deprived of love.
Jesus chose water as the perfect metaphor to reflect his promise. In waters that stir the soul, a well that sustains a community, or a river that gently carries fresh water to dry land, we learn something fresh and real about who God is and how he acts. He offers living water to those who are thirsting all over the world.
Psalm 42 says, "As a deer paints for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God" (Psalm 42:1-2 ESV).
I rejoice and give thanks to our God who knows that our souls thirst to know him, to disciple for him (1 Peter 2:9). He formed us in our mother's womb with a thirsting passion for him. And, Jesus chooses a woman and an outcast to give his answer to that thirst: "Come and drink. It is I, the one for whom your soul thirsts."
Like the Samaritan woman, we can choose to participate in what Jesus offers. Women who have been marginalized and forgotten can carry his message to their own zip codes, inspiring and ministering to others. It all begins with a leap of faith to drink of the promise, to drink from what will truly satisfy the heart.
In honor of Women's History Month, we will remember bold women whose hope in Jesus motivated them to do wondrous things. May their stories embolden God's calling upon all our lives.
"We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul..." (Hebrews 6:18-19 ESV).
Jesus is the source of our hope. We are all God's daughters and sons, sharing together in that inheritance with Jesus, our redeemer. There is much to be learned from the women who are so often excluded from the faith story. Though they have shaped our faith, they are pushed to the periphery of the great narrative. In doing so, we lose the powerful testimonies of these faithful women warriors. May we honor the women of enduring faith and steadfast courage that came before us. May they enlighten our minds and hearts of the reality of hope—hope that this world can be a place where all people live and serve together as equals, as one body according to their birthright as children of God. Let us continuously wade deeper into what it means to be witnesses together. Let us embrace the full depth of living water in our thirst for hope, community, and true justice for all people.