“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” (John 4:11-12)
Read: Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9
Relate: If I were to go to Jacob’s Well today, it would not be nearly as easy as it was back in Jesus’ days. Within three hundred years of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman a church building was built right over the well closing the site off from the public. From that time on, one church after another was built over Jacob’s well at Sychar. Today that well is a box like structure found underground in the basement of a crypt at Saint Photini church. The way down to this well I am told is a narrow passageway leading to a small enclosed room.
This just seems so different from what Jesus would have encountered. In his day it would have been in an easy to reach spot that was open to everyone. The well would be located located just outside of the town. In the cool of the day it would have been a common meeting or gathering place and would have seen a fairly lively ebb and flow of people. For many such towns the strength and accessibility of the well is an absolute necessity for the life and the livelihood of its town. It the well dries up, the people disappear.
React: After centuries of tradition many have done the same thing to the gospel. The story of who Christ is and what He has done should be something open and accessible to all but instead one church after another builds upon the past with centuries upon centuries of tradition. As a result the message becomes more and more cut off from the public. The church and its message should be the life and vitality of our world but instead it is a crypt. It is a place of sleep and death that anyone who is uninitiated into the cultural mores of the church finds cold and boring. The church should be community. Instead we have made access to the living water a very narrow thing, private, and segmented off from the rest of what happens in life. We have gone underground.
It is time to tear down the walls. It is time to let the light in. The accusation of the Samaritan woman is one familiar today. “Do you really think you’re better than us?” It is grace, not anything we have done, buried, boxed up, or hidden that makes us right with God. That grace should be open and free and easily accessible for all. It should be the very life and vitality of our communities. Let us be intentional in making it so once again.
God, I repent for anything I have done to make it difficult for others to come to You. I am sorry for anything I have done to cut off from the rest of the world Your living water that should be flowing freely from within me. Forgive me for making Your truth seem like a dead and dying thing. Bring life and vitality to me world. You are the center of life. Help us to tear down and raise up a truth that for so long, by so many has been boxed up and buried.