When my husband, two sons, and I moved to an apartment for a few months due to a job transition, our youngest (a kindergartener at the time) repeatedly asked, “When are we getting a house?” I finally figured out that he thought being surrounded by boxes was a fact of apartment living. When I unpacked the boxes in his room and he was surrounded by his favorite things, he no longer felt impatient or confused. He felt at home.

I often think of that story when I ruminate on my past. Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has gently and consistently unpacked the lies that held me captive as a young person and replaced them with His scandalous grace and truth. I also remember Jackson’s unsettledness when I read Jesus’ encounters in Scripture. The Son of God regularly asked questions of those he healed, revealing their motivations and uprooting their expectations. Jesus also overturned the expectations of his disciples, the Jews waiting for a Messiah, and the religious leaders. In one example, a noonday meeting with a weary woman at Jacob’s well, he broke through barriers of gender, race, and religion. Their interaction unpacked her shameful past and transformed her idea of worship, leading her to her true home in him.

This unnamed woman came alone at noon to draw water while most women came in groups during a cooler part of the day. Perhaps she wanted to avoid being shunned or mocked by the other women that day. And suddenly, a male, Jewish teacher asked her for a drink. Can you imagine her surprise?

Her words show that she was shocked by his audacity. Most Rabbis would not talk to a woman--even their wife--in public. Also, the enmity between Jesus’ race and hers ran strong. Jews called Samaritans “half-breeds,” and Jews held onto the assumption that Samaritans were unclean because of a long history of religious differences between them. Thus, a Jew drinking after a Samaritan would be unclean.

Jesus not only asked for a drink, but he also engaged this woman--who was publicly known to have committed sins of a sexual nature--in theological conversation. In doing so, he shared publicly for the very first time that he was the Messiah.

From his intimate knowledge of her checkered past and announcement about his deity, this unnamed woman believed. She was so excited about Jesus that she left her water jar--the reason she had come to the well in the first place. She no longer needed earthly water because she had found the Living Water. Gone were her concerns about where or how to worship, because she had met the only One worthy of worship.

She then became an evangelist, and this conversation--the longest of Jesus’ recorded in the New Testament--was written into Scripture. She couldn’t stop telling people about the man who had told her everything she’d ever done and treated her like no man had treated her before. Luke wrote that “Many people believed in Samaria because of her.”

Truly, when we see Jesus for who He is, we will be transformed…and we will transform the world around us. Jesus asks us to drop what we think will fill us up and instead trust Him for true contentment.

He drew her, and he’s drawing us:

  • Out of isolation and into community.
  • Out of shame and into freedom.
  • Out of the shallows of sin and into the depths of grace.
  • Out of poverty of spirit and into the riches of His mercy.
  • Out of striving and into rejoicing.
  • Out of wandering and into purpose.

Once we drink of His living water, we can find boldness through the Holy Spirit to fearlessly break through the same barriers Jesus did. Let us follow His example (and the Samaritan woman’s) in leading people to their soul’s true home.

Dena Dyer is a professional author, speaker, and book coach, as well as the author or co-author of ten books and hundreds of articles. In her day job, she serves as Executive Assistant to Jamie Aten at Wheaton’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute. Ministry roles she’s held include worship leader, youth minister, non-profit director, and teacher. Her book (co-written with Tina Samples), Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts, was named the Golden Scroll Non-Fiction Book of the Year in 2014 and was a finalist in Serious Writer’s 2020 “Book of the Decade” Contest. She lives in Texas with her husband, youngest son, and their rescue pup. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook.