The Woman at the Well

Who gets rebuked and called out on their sin and then gets excited and goes to tell everyone they know to come meet their rebuker? What is going on?

As I was listening recently to a wonderful message by Jono Linebaugh here, I was reminded of the story of Jesus and the woman at the well in John 4:

27 At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?” 30 They went out of the city, and were coming to Him. John 4:27-29 NASB

I marvel at the hidden message here. After transgressing all kinds of cultural taboos to begin talking to her, Jesus began to turn the conversation around to His agenda. He knew things about her, things He couldn’t possibly know. He didn’t just know random things about her. He knew things she would rather keep hidden — her sin. He called this forth and declared it out in the open, straight to her face. She wanted to discuss theology and politics and life’s irritations, so He obliged, but now He began to focus on her sin. These were the things that she feared would be the basis for her rejection.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

Here is the thing I notice. There was something about the way this went, something about the way that Jesus called out her sin, that comforted and thrilled her! You would expect her to get upset, to throw something at him, or perhaps to slink off in shame. Instead, she runs off excitedly and starts to tell everyone she knows that here is a man that knows everything about her, and that this seems to her to be evidence that He is the Christ! He called out her sin in a way that suggested mercy and grace. He called out her sin in a way that inspired some kind of hope.

Who gets rebuked and called out on their sin and then gets excited and goes to tell everyone they know to come meet their rebuker? What is going on?

It was because he called out her sin in love. There was love and forgiveness and compassion in His eyes and in His heart for her, as He called out her sin. He called it out to forgive her and not to shame her. The net result was not embarrassment, but a stronger and more unbreakable acceptance. If our secret shame and fear gets spelled out in order to be forgiven, we have true freedom and real acceptance in that relationship. We hold back what we think is the deal-breaker for the other person, and if this is called out and yet we are still accepted, we have the release of liberty with them. This is the way to rebuke, the way to evangelize. God focuses so squarely on our sin, not to shame us or to judge us, but to release us from our fear and cowering guilt. First comes love and mercy, and then comes repentance. I love Him so much!!!!!!!!

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  1. Great observation on this passage.

    I think this is the way we can distinguish between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemning whispers of the devil and our own self-condemnation. The Holy Spirit will draw our soul to a place where we sense God’s love even when He points out our sin. I’ve experienced this a lot.

  2. Dear Brother Ken!
    Thanks so much for all your forwarded articles – can barely keep up (we don’t go “online” on a daily basis) but have enjoyed them very much. Wanted to let you know not to bother forwarding any audio messages – our Linux computer (gratis son Sebastian) won’t transmit audio messages and other “hi-tech” stuff – we really are still “out in the boonies”!
    I’ve written a couple papers myself over the past year or two about the dread-and- dream aspects of the Lord (along the line of some of your earlier forwards) – when I have a chance to gather them up, I’ll forward them to you – haven’t shared them with many others besides John and a couple of Christian friends.
    Good to be in touch with you folks again – in whatever ways the Lord leads!
    enfolded in Christ – Naomi

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