The Man Who Understood A Woman Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Along with that mothering instinct comes a capacity to care and forgive—that sometimes doesn’t make sense.
Women then and now sometimes have to put up with social and legal structures that can be unfair and applied with remarkable injustice.
A woman can work hard and long, raising children and fashioning a home for those she loves and then be left with little or nothing.
Until modern times, and even now it is not perfect, she had no financial security at all.
In many societies, a man is free to take the best years of a woman’s life and then on a whim trade her in on a newer model.
Did you read about the fellow in Southern California who came across a classified ad that he couldn’t believe?
It read: “Like new Porsche, $50. Call 555-1213 for more information.”
He knew that normally such a car would sell for as much as $100,000.
A woman answers the phone. “You have a Porsche for sale.”
“Yes.” “What year is the car?”
“It’s six months old.”
“How many miles?”
“Candy apple red.”
“Does it run?”
“It runs fine.”
“It’s in perfect shape.”
It was too good to be true.
He has to ask for more details.
“Lady, there has to be something wrong. What’s up?”
“I assure you there is nothing wrong with the car. But it’s like this. My husband is a doctor. We’ve been married thirty years. I worked to put him through medical school. This sports car is his pride and joy. Yesterday, he called me from Las Vegas telling me he had run away with his twenty-five-year-old secretary and was divorcing me. He told me I could keep the house, but he wanted me to sell his Porsche. He told me to take out the cost of an ad and send him the rest of the sale price. So I am!”
Jesus met a woman.
How her life became such a mess we will never know.
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that she was a Samaritan and not a Jew.
The Jews normally had pretty high standards about such things.
The Samaritans were the outcast cousins of the Jews racially.
The venom between the two groups was five hundred years old by Jesus’ time.
According to the Jewish line, the Samaritans had bad blood, bad religion, and a bad reputation in every way.
What do you expect from a Samaritan?
THEY are like that you know!
Jesus met a Samaritan woman at a public well at noon—and he spoke to her.
She was surprised at that for a lot of reasons, no doubt.
But then he took the conversation in an unexpected direction.
It was as if he knew something.
Indeed he did!
Remember John tells us in John 2:25, “ He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.”
And a woman, we are safe to say!
Jesus talked to a woman that most people only talked about.
He looked past the racial divide, the religious differences, the social customs and looked into an unquestionably messed up life and said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
If you knew—there lies the rub.
How our lives would be different—if we knew.
If we knew the end from the beginning, if we knew it could be better, if we knew the past could be left there, if we knew we weren’t alone, if we knew God would really listen and care and forgive.
If you knew the gift of God . . .
She had heard that before.
Had she ever!
Jesus spoke of God’s gifts and of living water, water that didn’t run out, water that satisfied, water that really quenched the thirst that went beyond the throat all the way to your heart.
Even though she was suspicious of any man, probably with good reason, and even though this one had no canteen or water bucket, he touched a nerve.
Oh, how she wished that deep down hunger or thirst could be satisfied!
She had tried everything—even religion.
“So you think you can do what nobody else can do?”
She thought she had heard it all before.
But this guy was something else.
“This very well was dug by the Patriarch Jacob—so our teachers say—and I will still get thirsty again. Who do you think you are? Living water! Never thirst again! Really!”
“Yes really! I can give you the very thing you have been looking for all your life. What you always wanted when you were growing up and never found? I can fill that hole in your heart that you hoped married love would fill. And it didn’t fill, even though you keep looking and looking and looking. You have never quit looking and you are still thirsty. This thirst will be quenched not from the outside, but on the inside. The life you have always wanted can be yours forever.”
A woman met a man at the well.
She had met a lot of men—the women of the village would be glad to fill you in on the details.
But she had never met anyone who seemed to offer her something without expecting something in return.
He was different.
Had she finally met a man who understood a woman?
And then he said it.
He didn’t have to say that.
They could have talked all day without bringing that up.
“Go get your husband,” he said.
The request seemed to come out of the blue.
“He doesn’t know me, maybe I can get around this.”
“I’m not married,” she replied.
“That’s right, you’re not. You have had five husbands and now you are living with a sixth even before his divorce is final.”
Her face probably turned three shades of red.
She wanted to tell him it was none of his business.
She didn’t have to put up with that from a total stranger.
She received enough of that from her mother and sister in laws.
But he hadn’t said it with a condemning tone.
It was a fact.
There was no white-washing it.
She hadn’t planned for her life to turn out this way.
She wasn’t proud of it—even though she tried to rationalize it to her family.
The fact was—she was ashamed and embarrassed.
But he hadn’t really condemned her.
It was like he was noting the obvious and letting her know that it didn’t have to stay that way.
He could have not brought it up.
He could have avoided the one fact that told more about her than anything else in life.
But Jesus isn’t like that.
If you want someone to sugar coat your life and tell you sweet nothings and never saying anything bad—and lie to you.
You have the wrong man.
Jesus understands a woman—and a man—too well to fall for that.
If you are here today and you know your life has some big holes in it, some dark stains, a lot of brokenness and hurts, don’t think that you can do business with Jesus and have him not bring that up.
Do you want the doctor to tell you how pretty your eyes look and avoid talking about the cancer?
That was the way men had been treating her all her life.
One line, one lie after another!
She instinctively knew that the conversation had taken a spiritual turn.
She knew that he wasn’t talking about wells and water and dry parched throats.
Many Bible scholars think her next question was an attempt to evade the issue and change the subject.
“Samaritans say worship at Gerizim and the Jews say Jerusalem. Who is right?”
Maybe she was tossing in a theological red herring just to change the subject.
Maybe she saying—“You’re right. My real problem is spiritual. All along I thought it was economic; I needed a man to take care of me. Or it was psychological; I just needed to forget my past. Or maybe, educational; I just needed to learn how to make smarter choices. But really, I have been looking for a man, a lover, to fill a hole in my heart that only God can fill.”
That’s true for many people, men, and women, young and old.
Sometimes the problem isn’t the problem at all.
The real problem is deeper.
Some jump from job to job, or church to church, or relationship to relationship, looking for something they never find.
Some eat or drink trying to satisfy a hunger or thirst that never gets filled.
Sometimes it’s a God-sized hole in the soul.
Jesus met a woman who asked a religious question.
“Where is the right place to worship?”
In a sense, Jesus’ answer was: “it’s not where. It’s who!”
In a sense it is true; a person can worship just as well at the fishing bank or camp site as in a church building.
It’s not where; it’s who!
But let’s not kid ourselves—it is the rare person indeed who worships the King of Glory and the Lord of the Cross outside of the fellowship of other believers.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
Jesus met a woman with a deep spiritual thirst.
She was never the same again.
Two surprises follow in the story.
The disciples return from an errand to the village and are surprised that Jesus was actually talking to THAT woman.
Sometime later the villagers are surprised to find THAT woman inviting them to come meet the one who had changed her life.
And many of the people of Samaria believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony.
A woman went to a well and met what she never expected to find—a man who understood her, inside and out.
Today, right here, a woman—or maybe a man, or a teenager—went to church.
She may have come expecting one thing or another—to meet some friends, to find a few moments of peace, to just get out of the house, maybe to be inspired, maybe to even be entertained. But she can meet Jesus—a man who understands.