With Jesus In Your Life, You Will Never Be Isolated

Read John 4:5-42

Consider the setting at the opening of this story.  Jesus and his disciples have been traveling on foot for hours, They have arrived just outside of this Samaritan town called Sychar. It’s mid-day. It’s hot. They are hungry and thirsty. It’s lunch time. Jesus sends his disciples into town to get lunch . He doesn’t go with them. He waits at the well, in the heat of the noonday sun. I wondered what point the writer  (John) was trying to make when he clearly intended for readers to notice that Jesus remained alone at the well.

Maybe it was simply that Jesus was so physically weak and worn out that he couldn’t make it into town, and had to depend on his disciples.  Maybe the message was that in spite of physical weakness,  Jesus’ spiritual power is never exhausted. An interesting possibility, but then I realize that I don’t see any evidence, in any of the gospels, of Jesus as a physical weakling.

Maybe the point was to show how there should be a sharing of responsibilities among the people of the church. In this example, the disciples get the food and Jesus gets the water. But then as I get to the end of the story I realize that neither Jesus or the disciples ever get a drink , and as it turns out, Jesus isn’t all that hungry anyway.

Or maybe Jesus was testing his disciples. Just how obedient were they? Bearing in mind that they were Jewish (as was Jesus himself), and that Jewish people despised Samaritans.  Would the disciples really lower themselves to buy and eat food prepared in some filthy Samaritan diner? But then I realize that if this was a problem for the disciples,  Jesus would have known that before they entered Samaria, since it would have been obvious that at some point they would have had to buy food from Samaritans.

No, there must be some other reason that Jesus waited at the well in the heat of the noonday sun. As I read the rest of the story I realize that it must have something to do with the Samaritan woman. Without the Samaritan woman, there would have been no discussion between her and Jesus. And without that, there would have been no story to tell. It seems to me that Jesus is waiting at the well, alone, because he knows she is coming.

Oh, he doesn’t know in advance that this particular woman is coming to the well. But he does know that someone like her is coming. He knows that wherever he goes, whether it be in this town in Samaria, or Jerusalem, or anywhere in the world, he will always find someone like this woman. He will always find situations like what this woman is experiencing everywhere and anywhere, anytime.

The situation that this woman is experiencing is isolation. In this story the Samaritan woman, her Samaritan neighbors, their Jewish neighbors, and even the disciples of Jesus, are experiencing some degree of isolation from each other. And isolation leads to loneliness. As a result they cannot fully experience life in abundance as God intends.  We don’t know all the reasons as to why this woman is isolated from the people in her town. But it does come out that her relationships with men are beyond the bounds of what is acceptable to the community. They see her as an undesirable person. She’s already had five husbands, and now is living with a man she is not married to. So she comes to the well in the heat of the day, instead of in the morning or late afternoon, when it’s cooler, when all the other people of the town come to the well. She knows she is not welcome. But this time she comes and finds Jesus there. And as the story continues, and she opens her heart and mind to him, and she no longer feels isolated. As it turns out, she seems to have become a highly vocal and faithful evangelist for Jesus.

Until she met Jesus at the well, she was isolated for a number of reasons. First, because she was a woman, and therefore she was not supposed to be talking to a man in public. She is supposed to be inferior. She is only supposed to be good for things like drawing water from the well, and privately satisfying the needs of men. But this time she comes to the well, and finds Jesus there, a man who is prepared to do something for her.

She is also isolated because she is a Samaritan. She and all her Samaritan neighbors are isolated from their Jewish neighbors in the surrounding territory. This isolation is based on a hatred that goes back about 500 years. But this time when she comes to the well, she finds a Jewish man who says that they are all part of the same community of faith under the same God.

Jesus remained at the well because he knew that someone like this woman would turn up.  He knew that this person would need to  be assured that if  she let him enter her life, she would no longer have to feel isolated, no matter what her society said about or did to her.  Jesus waited at the well because he knew that if she would only trust and believe in him, she would not only overcome her own isolation, but would be the means by which her society could overcome its isolation. Jesus knew that God wanted them all to experience the joy of the abundant life, but that they could not experience that as long as they lived in their isolated worlds.

The truth is that today we live in a world where too many people, including many who believe in God, are isolated from each other, and as a result, are missing out on the joyful experience of the abundant life that God wants us all to experience. It seems to me that now is as good a time to ask if and how we,  individually and collectively, are isolating ourselves from each other. To the extent that we are isolated from each other, we are not able to fully experience the joy of living which God intends. But when we come together, as did the Samaritan woman and her neighbors, with Jesus in their midst, we will experience the abundant life that Jesus has prepared for us, as we live in this world, and then eternally in heaven. I believe that is what we can all hope for, and expect God to fulfill that hope, by giving us the grace to become like that Samaritan woman, whose life was changed from suffering isolation to joyful abundance, when she met Jesus at the well.

Grace and  peace,  Ray


We welcome any comments and questions you might want to share with us and others. We expect to publish a new Bible study on or about May 16.

(you can contact us by e-mail at E-mail at (pastorray8070@yahoo.com)


We have also written an extensive reference – How to Study the Bible – which you can always access by clicking on the “Study Guide” tab above.

You might also find it helpful to view web-sites which contain complete texts of various  versions of the Bible, as well as additional material helpful for Bible study, such as (www.biblestudytools.com) and  (www.biblios.com)

 We also invite you to view our other web-sites:

* Our blog, Today’s Enlightenment at www.rohmnj.wordpress.com.

* Ray Gough’s e-book , noted below, which can be read, downloaded, or copied free at http://www.pastorrayhopesfulfilled.wordpress.com/home

              HOPES FULFILLED

                  A Spiritual Autobiography

    How God fulfilled the faith-based hopes

         of an ordinary guy from Jersey City

This entry was posted in Bible, Good News, Hope, Isolation, Jesus, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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