I remember how nervous he was, how fearful. Our friend came in and sat on our couch. He had something to tell us, but he couldn't get the words out. He carried a weight he had held alone, a burden he couldn't hide anymore. The hiding had nearly buried him.

Most of us have something we try to hide, some part of our story we would be horrified for others to know. Jesus met a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, and she was certainly hiding. John tells us that the woman was drawing water "about noontime." (v.6) Because of the heat, the villagers did not come to the well at noon, but she did. She knew how to avoid the other women. She would not, however, be able to avoid Jesus.

Jesus surprised the woman by asking her for a drink. "You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman," she said (v.9). She was accustomed to Jews (particularly men) keeping their distance. But Jesus came near, telling her that He could actually offer her living water so that she would "never be thirsty" again (v.14).

Eager for this living water, she asked Jesus for it; but Jesus made an abrupt turn, telling her to first bring her husband to Him. When the woman protested that she had no husband, Jesus recounted to the flabbergasted woman her five failed marriages, and that she wasn't married to the man she was currently living with.

For a moment, the woman felt panicked. She had been found out, the place of her deepest shame was now in the open. Quickly, however, the shame evaporated. She had encountered love. And she sprinted to the village, breathless with her amazing story. And "the people came streaming from the village to see Him" (v.30). Who wouldn't run to the One who uncovers our darkest shame, and then embraces us? , Winn Collier

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