<!doctype html>Editorial Preview
Working on the Weekend
“Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John” —although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized— he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.”
This handful of verses is used by John to set the stage for one of the most famous stories in the gospels: The Woman at the Well. Today, let us take just a moment to look at Jesus, just before He met this woman who would go on to inspire the faith of her entire city.
John tells us that the whole journey started because the Pharisees were getting uppity in the Jerusalem area because Jesus was gaining more disciples than John (even though Jesus wasn’t baptizing any of them). It seems likely that the Pharisees had a respect for John the Baptist as a kind of ultra-conservative religious figure, even though John publicly mocked them. Jesus however, played a bit too fast and loose for them. He ate with sinners.
Perhaps Jesus did not want to stir up trouble too early. Maybe He simply had finished teaching in this area and was ready to move on. We do not know His exact. motive for sure, but Jesus left town and headed north, making His way back home to Galilee. Rather than try to go out of His way around Samaria, He chose to go through it.
This put Jesus in a vulnerable position, for Jews and Samaritans had a kind of heated religious and racial rivalry. Whereas the Roman Empire would have kept the two groups in check in the bigger cities like Jerusalem, I imagine that there was less protection in these smaller places like Sychar.
Jesus was also physically vulnerable simply from walking this far and needing water. Most sane people got indoors and would have been resting quietly during the hot noonday sun. Jesus did not have the convenience of shade and shelter though. Perhaps he should have left earlier that morning. Regardless, the transient Savior of the world found Himself at the edge of the one decent source of water for this town, and while everyone else was inside resting, He found Himself staring into the face of one of the towns more notorious sinners.
I don’t know that this event happened on the weekend. The Jews did not celebrate 2 day weekends, but a Sabbath that went from sundown to sundown. I suspect that if this was a Sabbath day, John would have mentioned it. However, it was a time of rest, and Jesus was tired and thirsty and needed rest Himself. It was a need for rest that brought Him to this well in the first place.
Yet this time of personal need did not stop Him from serving God and transforming lives around Him. As I mentioned above, this is one of the most famous stories of Jesus teaching and transforming the life of another. What would have happened if He simply felt too tired to even speak to this woman? What would we have lost today if Jesus had simply helped Himself to a drink, rather than asking for help?
How do invite others to help you in your own personal needs?
Where do you have opportunities to share God’s grace to others through your own needs or weakness?