You've Got a Friend in Jesus
In this third week of Lent, verses 5-29 of the Gospel lesson (John 4:5-42) convey a story of spiritual transformation and illustrate a divine friendship that cuts across culture and transcends time. The Samaritan Woman’s encounter with Jesus at the well still speaks to us saying, “You’ve got a friend in Jesus.”
At a well in Samaria, Jesus imparts five priceless gifts of grace to this woman:
- Value. Jesus is the one who seeks her out. Though she is a Samaritan woman, and despite her sin and shame, Jesus addresses her.
- Salvation. Jesus offers her living water that will fully satisfy her thirsty soul.
- Forgiveness. Jesus helps her to acknowledge her sin. After this “prophet” reveals the truth about her past, she is relieved of the burden it has been to her.
- Spiritual insight. He opens her eyes so that she can proclaim, “Could this be the Messiah?” as she points her community to Him.
- Honor. The woman at the well is the person through whom the townsfolk come to believe in Jesus. Bestowed with this honor (and favor), imagine the new status she gained. An encounter with Jesus changes everything!
Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the Samaritan well poured grace into her life, and this grace overflowed into the life of her community. Jesus offers these same gifts to us; yet, they often slip through our grasp. Unfortunately, our human tendency is to judge others because of stereotypes, customs or prejudices. Jesus treats people as individuals--accepting them with love and compassion. As you seek penitence and renewal during this Lenten season, I offer the following question for reflection: Do you dismiss certain people as lost causes, or do you see them as valuable and worthy of knowing about the gospel?
If you have difficulty in receiving the gifts of grace offered to the Samaritan woman, ask God to help you embrace them by faith. After all, You’ve Got a Friend in Jesus.
Rev. Joyce E. Banks Gross
Senior Associate Pastor
Pastor Joyce E. Banks Gross