We are all thirsty for grace
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 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.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Sometimes we don’t know what we need until we taste it. You’d agree if you’ve ever started sipping water on a hot summer day only to find yourself gulping down every drop from the glass, or if you’ve caught a whiff of warm fresh bread only to feel the rumble of hunger inside. Experience can both ignite desire for something and expose deficiency.
Perhaps this is what the woman at the well experienced the day Jesus introduced himself. Jesus said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). It’s clear the women didn’t realize she was thirsty. But physical thirst was simply the example Jesus chose to teach her about a deeper thirst – a thirst for grace. Jesus goes on to say, “The water that I will give… will become… a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). Jesus was actually saying that the women didn’t realize she was thirsty for grace.
If we’re honest, we are all thirsty for grace and we often don’t realize it. Then, the ironic part is that when we get a taste of grace – when our boss offers us a second chance when we should be fired, when a spouse moves toward us in kindness when we’ve offended them, when a friend sticks up for us when we were the guilty party – we don’t always respond well. Although we may desire grace so badly, tasting grace also exposes our grace deficiency. The beautiful part of today’s scripture is that the women receives the gift offered her. She says, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water” (John 4:15).
Jesus offers you the same water – the same grace. In love, he offers you a second chance, he moves toward you in love and he always has good things to say about you. This is a gift and it’s offered to you, no matter what you do or fail to do. That’s what makes it grace. If you haven’t ever tasted God’s grace or it’s simply been a while, you can receive it today. Admit to God that your heart is thirsty for grace and that you’d like to respond with a heart willing to receive that grace. Take few minutes to write out your response to Jesus and mention what his grace feels like to you.
By Yvonne Biel