Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
An ordinary Jewish man would have never approached this woman. He would have never come so close, never asked for anything from her. But Jesus isn’t just anybody. He breaks through every barrier. He is willing to reach out to anyone with His truth and His love. He doesn’t see us within the narrow definitions that we assign to ourselves or that others give to us. He sees us as we are, who He made us to be. And He looks upon us not with judgment, but with love and compassion.
We might all ask this question when approached by Jesus ourselves. How is it that He would come to us? We know so clearly who we are, what we’ve done, the secrets from our past, the skeletons in our closets. This woman bore the burden of a shameful past, a longing for love and acceptance, the prejudice of others, the scorn and judgment of her neighbors. But there is nothing about us or about our lives that prevents us from receiving Christ as our Savior. All of that messiness that comes from living here in this world can be overcome through Him.
This woman might have seen herself as nothing, a nobody. Perhaps she felt invisible and forgotten, even hated and cast out. How full of shame she must have been—from her past, who she was, who she saw herself as. But Jesus can relate to all of those feelings and identities that we sometimes place upon ourselves. Wasn’t He Himself cast aside? Wasn’t He hated, despised, rejected? Didn’t He bear the shame of that humiliating death on the cross? Didn’t He experience all those kinds of hurtful emotions that we feel, too?
Jesus sees us as so much more than the version of us that we see. He loves us no matter who we are or where we come from. He loves us no matter what has happened to us in our lives or the poor choices we’ve made. He values us even if we don’t value ourselves. We are worth something to Him even if we can find no worth in ourselves. We are all that woman who came to the well ashamed and alone, not expecting anything but finding grace from Jesus Christ. Perhaps what she wanted more than anything else was unconditional love, and finally she found it in Him, and we can, too.