January 24 I Sunday
“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’” —John 4:10
In a survey taken a couple years ago asking young people whom, from all of history, would they most like to meet, the first place went overwhelmingly to Jesus Christ. To an extent, these young people only think of Jesus as a good man, a great leader and an excellent teacher.
When Jesus met the Samaritan woman by the well, He said, “If you knew…who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” The Samaritan woman did not know whom she was speaking to; as far as she was concerned, Jesus was just a stranger sitting by the well. This probed the Samaritan woman to ask, “Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” (John 4:12). Since Samaritans and Jews share a common ancestry, when the Samaritan woman speaks of “our father Jacob,” she is referring to the accounts of Genesis. Jacob dug this well about 2,000 years before and people have been drinking from it and it has not run dry. In effect, the Samaritan woman questions Jesus, “Are You greater than Jacob and is Your water better than his water?
In the exchange, Jesus does not directly answer the Samaritan woman’s question. But the conversation could have played out with Jesus asking, “Who was Jacob’s father?” The Samaritan woman answers, “Isaac.” “Who was Jacob’s grandfather?” “Abraham.” Jesus could have then used what He says to the Jews in John 8:58 by telling the Samaritan woman, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” This phrase sounds grammatically incorrect, “Before Abraham (past tense), I am (present tense).” In actuality, however, it is theologically correct because the name, “I AM” is a title that God gave Himself, meaning He exists and operates eternally in the present tense. In essence, Jesus was taking upon Himself the very identity of God.
We may try to make sense of Christianity as a philosophy of life or an ethical code. But ultimately, Christianity will never make sense until we know who Jesus is. We will never believe in what Jesus can do until we recognize who Jesus is, since it is Jesus—being who He is—that qualifies Him to do what He does. To the Samaritan woman, it sounds like Jesus is speaking riddles. But until she knows who Jesus is, she will not understand what Jesus is saying.
We do not have to travel back in time to meet Jesus. As the eternally present God, He invites us to know Him today just as He did with the Samaritan woman.
Prayer: Dear I AM, thank You for Your eternal presence that I can know You. Praise You, for You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Amen!