Some scholars have given the title of Bad Samaritan to a woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s well. These scholars have focused too much on the woman’s lifestyle before she met Jesus. By the story’s end, the woman came to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. She became an enthusiastic evangelist to her community and her entire village came to recognize Jesus as the savior of the world!
The Samaritan woman was so excited about her newfound faith and living water she left her water jar at Jacob’s well. She left behind water that could only quench a thirst for a short time. Water from Jacob’s well is a metaphor for every worldly promise of lasting satisfaction. People have tried and tried and tried in vain to draw satisfaction from the world’s well.
Prior to meeting Jesus, the woman’s life might be summed up in Solomon’s words, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” Solomon, the Samaritan woman and Judas Iscariot all took their turns drinking from the well of disappointment.
Edwin Arlington Robinson would be disappointed to find his Richard Cory has many offspring today. Many have tasted life and sing along with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” And they’ve tried and tried and tried!
A satisfying, abundant and eternal life can be found only in Jesus. He gives living water, “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Hunger and thirst after Jesus and his righteousness and find satisfaction. Then one can sing with Bono, “I’ve finally found what I’m looking for!” What he was looking for was Jesus and living water. Come to Jesus and draw upon his living water.
Ken Haskins is pastor of First Christian Church in Carson City.