There is so much treasure packed away in the Word of God just waiting for us to discover. As we meditate on His Word, the wonderful Holy Spirit inside us speaks to our heart. I want to share with you a nugget I received this month from just a few words Jesus spoke to one woman that I believe can help us all.
We find this woman and her story in John 4:7-26 — the woman at the well. It is a very familiar story to most believers, and in our church in Moscow, we even have a painting that depicts this woman and Jesus and their marvelous encounter that day.
When you read these verses, you find out that this woman was not a very nice woman. She was probably hated by some and talked about by others. She and her reputation may have been the topic of many people’s conversations. She’d had five husbands, and the man she was living with was not her husband. This woman was adulterous. Some might even ask, “What kind of woman could be married five times?” Or, “What’s wrong with this woman? But there she was — talking to Jesus.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, and you were just taken aback by that person’s behavior? You almost couldn’t believe he or she would act like that! Most of us have probably experienced such a conversation, and we were stunned that someone could actually do such horrible things.
But I want us to look at one verse. John 4:10 says, “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.’”
As I was meditating on this verse, I saw the first thing that Jesus said to her — “If you knew the gift of God.” That was her number-one problem! She did not know the gift of God and who it was who was talking to her!
So, what was her real problem? Was it that she had been married five times and was now living with a man she was not married to? Was it that half the town talked about her behind her back?
If you only looked on the outside, you would think that was her real problem: She was an adulterous woman and had hurt many people in her life, and she should get what she deserved.
But, no. That was not her real problem. Her real problem was that she did not know the gift of God. She didn’t know Jesus.
So what is the difference between us and her? God has blessed us, and we probably have had some success in our lives. Maybe we have seen God heal our body, save our mind, touch our children, or provide money for us when we desperately needed it. Maybe by His Spirit, He has delivered us out of trouble and bondage in our life. So what is the difference between us and this woman? One difference is that we know the Gift of God and she didn’t.
In other words, I’m asking, “How can we judge others because we don’t agree with their decisions and their lifestyle when, just like the woman at the well, we had the same problem at one time? We didn’t know Him. Her number-one problem was that she didn’t know Him. The big difference between you and me and others we are sure to encounter is that we know Him, and they don’t.
Even on the Cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing” (see Luke 23:34). Again, we see that the world didn’t know the real problem. Can we really justify ourselves if we judge others and stand and say, “I would never do that,” when the person we are tempted to judge just has one big problem — that they don’t know Him?
I am not saying the horrible things people do are justified and that their actions are okay. God hates evil, but God loves the sinner. Jesus hung on that cross for our sins and took the punishment for our sins. And He took the punishment because He loves us.
John 3:16 will never change. It says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God loves the sinner, but He hates the sin. The sin is not okay, but if we have judgmental attitudes, we stop the compassion of God from flowing through us. We stop the Perfect Love that casts out fear and conquers judgmental attitudes.
Jesus did not reject this woman — He offered her the answer. Is there someone in your life or even someone you do not really know that you need to give more compassion to because that person doesn’t know Him? Wasn’t that our problem at one time? Or have we ever been in a position where we’ve done wrong and couldn’t see it?
I want to challenge us as we read this letter to give more compassion to those who don’t know Him. Maybe it’s a spouse that acts in a certain way — or a boss, an in-law, a brother or sister, or someone in authority who has a lot of influence over others, and you are appalled at that person’s actions. Did Jesus give us compassion when we didn’t know? He absolutely did! So shouldn’t we give that same compassion to others when we don’t understand their actions?
If Jesus had judged the woman at the well and refused to talk to her in her mess, she would have never received the living water — forgiveness and restoration through knowing Him — He was lovingly offering her. Who around you needs some of that living water you have flowing inside of you? That is what I wanted to share with you.
Jesus knew He had the answer for this woman, and you and I have the answers inside us for people who don’t know Him. Let’s freely give this living water to others.
Thank you for spending this time with me as I share my heart. And as always, if you have any prayer needs, please let us know. We are here for you, and we want to pray for you. And we would love to hear what God is doing in your life! Just call us at 1-800-742-5593 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT, or you can send us your prayer request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s keep having compassion in our hearts for others.