When Jesus broke all Jewish convention by traveling through Samaria to go from Judea to Galilee (see The Gospel smashes through prejudice!), He did so in order to meet a woman.
John 4:6-7 (NKJV) Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
The woman Jesus was to meet was, in every sense of the word, a bad woman.
She was not a criminal, not a robber or drug dealer or murderer. But she was a woman who was living a completely messed up lifestyle. She had had a lot of men in her life, trying to make herself happy. But she wasn’t happy.
We can tell she wasn’t happy because she had been married five times, and none of those marriages had lasted. You don’t have to go through five marriages if you are happy! So, this woman was a five-time loser.
She had been so damaged by the kind of life she had led, so damaged in her personality, in her outlook on life, in the kind of person she had become … so damaged by the choices she made in life, that she couldn’t keep a marriage together. And so, after five marriages, she wasn’t even trying anymore, and was living with a man she was not married to.
Because of her lifestyle, she was an outcast among the people of her village. That’s probably why she was at the well alone at midday – none of the other women, who came to the well in the cool of the morning or of the evening, wanted anything to do with her.
So, she came to the well. And there was a man sitting there, a Jew who had the unexpected audacity to ask her for a drink of water.
“Woman at the Well” by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890) in the Chapel at Frederiksborg Palace in Copenhagen
Thus began the divine appointment that would change this woman’s life forever. Jesus Christ, the very Best of the Best, had arranged to have some quality time alone with a woman whom everyone in her village would name the worst of the worst. She would hear the gospel that day, and she would never be the same again.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
The gospel is God’s power for salvation, no matter who you are. It’s just as powerful, and just as needed, whether everyone thinks you are the most outstanding person in the community, or that you are, like this woman, the worst of the worst. Or if you are, like me, somewhere in between.
If the gospel could revolutionize this bad woman’s life, it can revolutionize mine. And that truly is good news!