Seeing Through Love’s Eyes

Author:  Beverly Hahn  
When I read the Word, I ask questions.  I question what I’ve been taught in the last many years I’ve been saved, I question the stuff no one else seems to question.  I especially am more curious now that I read through the eyes of love and grace that I didn’t have before when reading.  That being said, I was reading John 4 several weeks ago about the Samaritan woman at the well.  She’s going about her business, drawing water for the day, and this Jewish guy asks her for a drink of water.  She basically says, “Why should I?  You Jews don’t want anything to do with us, and you’re asking me to be KIND to you?”  I detect a little sass in this response, but that’s just me.  Then Jesus starts this conversation with her.  She has really no idea what He’s talking about with Living Water, but she responds to Him, she asks for more information.  I mean, this is a great deal!  Water given so I never thirst again?  “Okay fella, you’ve got my attention, let’s hear a little more about this…”   
These people of Samaria just can’t turn on the tap and get sparkling water like we can.  I try to put myself in her shoes (sandals?).  I’m living in this really hot, dry, dusty land.  Water is a valuable commodity.  It’s something you have to work hard to get.  In verse 15 she’s asking, “Let me drink that water so I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to come back here to draw water.”  Now Jesus asks her to call her husband.  If I were her, I’d be thinking, “Oh dear, here’s the catch, the deal breaker.  I might as well be honest and tell Him I don’t have a husband.” Now here is where I started reading with love eyes.  Jesus tells her she has had five husbands and the one she’s living with now isn’t her husband.  Now, I’ve been taught that Jesus’s attitude is, “Aha!  Sin!  Sin!  Sin!  Let me reveal that you’re a dirty rotten prostitute no one even wants to be seen drawing water with!  Gotcha!”  But, through the eyes of love and grace and compassion, could He have communicated, “You’ve had one hard life.  I sympathize.”  Really, where does it say she’s a prostitute or even a defiled woman?  She had five husbands, maybe they died.  Or maybe they abused her, each in their own way.  Maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to commit to the man she’s living with.  Perhaps she’s tired and feeling pretty used and abused by men right now.  Just sayin’.  
To me, she doesn’t seem to be on the defensive about what Jesus has revealed about her life.  But what I’ve also been taught, “Oh the woman is uncomfortable, so she changes the subject to worship.”  Really?  Where does the Scripture even hint at this?  She goes on and asks Him a spiritual question.  She’s hungry to know about worship.  Let’s take a little walk through grace’s path here.  Maybe this woman is a worshipper despite her circumstances.  Maybe she wasn’t uncomfortable at all in Jesus’s presence.  Perhaps she was SO comfortable, feeling SO loved, she felt free to ask a question that was really on her heart.  A question about worship.   Verse 25 shows this woman’s heart, “This is all so confusing, but I do know that the Anointed One is coming—the true Messiah. And when he comes, he will tell us everything we need to know.” This woman is waiting for the Messiah.  I can’t vouch for her earthly circumstances, but she has a hope.  And it’s beautiful what Jesus says, “You don’t have to wait any longer, the Anointed One is here speaking with you—I am the One you’re looking for.”  He doesn’t reveal this plainly to just anyone.  This woman had to have touched His heart deeply in some way.    
There’s more I question about this woman.  She goes to the men of the city, probably the elders, and they listen to her and act on what she says.  Here again is a “really?” moment.  If she’s so awful and sinful, why would they listen to her?  I’ve heard it taught, “These men listened to her because they’ve had interaction with her (wink. wink.).” Where’s the grace in that?  Where does the Scripture say that?  Through the eyes of love, I ask myself, “If she was some flighty prostitute, would these men be seen with her and follow her to Jesus?”  Why do we brand these people with accusations and judgement?  Yes, this woman is “living in sin.”  But I remember my pastor saying that everyone has a story about how they got to where they are.  Jesus knew her story and showed compassion.  He answered her heart-felt questions about worship.  He revealed Himself as the fulfillment of her hope for a Messiah.  He gave her a testimony, and she was joyful and excited!  
Her testimony was the Messiah is come!  I think this guy is IT!  Because of love and compassion, many of the city believed.  Jesus never accused her of anything, that’s not His style.  He knew her story, that she was broken, yet she worshipped and waited for the Messiah.  It was an interaction of love and mercy.  Let’s always read the Scripture this way.  With hearts of compassion knowing Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.