John 4:5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common 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 no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?”… 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him… 39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”
Sorry for the long passage, but sometimes we need more than a few verses. This is a remarkable story though it’s veiled in an unfamiliar culture. As you likely gathered, Jews did not think much of Samaritans (v.9). We’re also told in v.6 “It was about noon.” That might seem like an unimportant detail, but it’s not. There’s a reason John included this nugget of information in the story.
In that part of the world, like my home state of Texas in summer, it gets really hot in the middle of the day. Carrying water from a well to a home could be a long walk – and if you’ve ever carried buckets of water you know that water is very heavy, so getting water was hard work. Most people went to draw water early in the day, when it was still relatively cool outside. So why would this woman show up at the well to draw water – at noon? We’re told in v.17-18. A woman with five husbands, and living with a man who was not her husband, would likely have been a bit of an outcast. She may have chosen to get water at noon to avoid having to deal with the whispers and dirty looks from others getting water earlier in the day. There would have been more heat, but perhaps less hassle. Makes sense. What’s the point?
This woman, as described in the cultural context of the story, was likely someone with a less than stellar reputation in her village. She is not the sort you would likely choose to be your advocate among her people. Yet this is exactly what Jesus did. We learn the result in v.39:
“Many Samaritans in the city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…”
Jesus did this over and over again. He didn’t usually send the reputable, highly regarded persons to be his advocates, instead choosing the poor, the marginalized, the castoffs of society. And with “the least of these” he changed the world. Therefore, don’t be surprised when the Lord chooses you to be his advocate, to tell his story, do his works, speak his name to others. If you don’t think you’re good enough, smart enough, prepared enough to do the Lord’s work… you’re exactly the sort our Lord tends to choose.
Lord Jesus give us courage to trust you when you call upon us to do your will and your works in the world. Amen.