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The Value of a Waterpot

I have a three year old that does not like to sit still. I try to encourage reverence and respect but it is a work in progress. Yesterday at church we found ourselves outside the main meeting room and sitting in the foyer of the building where we were once more working on our reverence. As I sat there with my son, I had a chance to reflect upon a painting that hangs up on a wall near where we were sitting. The painting is a representation of the Savior’s interaction with the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well found in John chapter 4. This interaction between the woman and Jesus has always inspired me and so the painting itself always seems to catch my attention.

I love the images that come into my mind as I see this interaction take place. At first, Jesus asks the woman simply “Give me to drink.” Laying aside the social interactions between a Jew and a Samaritan, my mind turns to what seems to be the primary focus of the woman, and that is almost the daily practice of gathering water from the well.

As the interaction takes place, Jesus speaks of “living water” and how “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” The woman at first appears confused as she acknowledges that Jesus “hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.” But then her words show even more of her dependency on the daily practice of going to the well to retrieve water when she states “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”

I can see in my mind the weariness of this woman as she dutifully draws water from the well as often as it is needed. I can see her carrying the waterpot that she brought with her from her home inside the city walls to this well and then carrying that same waterpot filled with the life giving water back to her home and to the additional chores that await her. I can see her disbelief and maybe even a little cynicism as she hears of the possibility of a living water that will quench all thirst. It is not difficult to see this woman who is cumbered about with the responsibilities of her life and who may be looking for something, anything, that will make her daily existence a little more bearable.

As the conversation continues, Jesus speaks to his purpose and identity. It takes a while but eventually the woman concedes that “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” I can then feel of the love spoken when Jesus answers, “I that speak unto thee am he.” What happens next becomes a miracle to me. It simply states that “The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city.” She went into the city to call all to come and see the Christ. Sure, her eagerness to bring all to Christ was impressive, however, I cannot help but envision that empty waterpot, sitting there by the well, left and forgotten.

When I think of this scriptural experience, I always seem to focus first on that waterpot. When the conversation between Jesus and the woman started, that waterpot was her support and sustaining power. She needed water. She needed that waterpot. To comprehend anything else, including the living water that Jesus spoke of, seemed so foreign to her. Yet, finding the Savior changed her perspective. What she once valued so much was now of little value to her.

As I sat there yesterday with my son I was blessed with the opportunity once more to reflect on all the things that I place value on in my life and evaluate again their priorities. I expect that this is a practice that I will maintain throughout my life. My hope is that I will always remember to include the Savior in my thoughts as I take those moments to reevaluate my priorities because it always seems to make things a little more clearer in my view.