“Sir, you have nothing to draw water with.”
The Samaritan woman is telling Jesus what we all fear hearing: You are not capable. You don’t have what it takes. She was essentially saying, “You are delusional to think you can give me water without a bucket to collect it. You clearly don’t understand what gathering water takes, unless your water is something I don’t understand—something that fills a thirst I can’t even explain.”
The grace that sustains us—Jesus’ living water—is something we struggle to understand. We continually try to fit this grace into our economy of works, and it just will not fit. But we still try. I try because sometimes believing in my own snake-oil righteousness is easier. If I ignore my wrongs, this snake oil is all I need. So I work and judge and criticize and long to be better in order to make my snake oil good enough.
We understand the snake oil scam of the Old West, but do we see our desire for a modern day concoction?
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you…”
This is the hard edge of faith: do you believe this gift and do you believe the Giver? Do you believe that the living water of Jesus will sustain you? Do you believe that your snake-oil righteousness is a charade? Are you saying, “Sir, give me this water”?
What a story the Samaritan woman can tell. She moves from the place of saying, “You have nothing,” to imploring, “Give me what you have.” This is a glorious story of the chaos the gift of God brings. It is the story of being so dug into our own economy of righteousness that we can’t see what real grace and righteousness look like. But Jesus sees it. And He knows that she, like us, needs what He alone can give.
Faith in this gift and the Giver is a daily battle of giving up the snake oil, of letting go of an economy of performance that feels comfortable but ultimately destroys. The God of peace wants your soul to rest satisfied with the living water, the gift that is yours to receive by grace through faith in Jesus.
May we become the ones calling, “Sir, give me this water.”
Written By Jason Tippetts