John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

An Equal Opportunity Savior

The only thing more conspicuous than a woman going to get water from a well at high noon would be a Jewish rabbi deigning to talk to a Samaritan woman (at a well at high noon) who had been married several times and was currently shacked up with a guy. But that’s exactly what we find in John 4, and it gets even stranger! Jesus asks her for a drink, but she notices he doesn’t have anything to drink with — no cup, no bucket, nothing. Does he intend to drink from her water jar? Doesn’t he know how gross that is?! She’s a Samaritan. She’s a woman. She’s living in sin. She might as well be wearing a scarlet “A” right across her chest. You couldn’t get any further “outside” for a typical Jewish rabbi.

Ah, but Jesus is always far from typical.

The story of the Samaritan woman at the well is remarkable on its own merits. But read alongside the previous chapter — the bit where Jesus has his encounter with Nicodemus — it’s earth shattering. Here’s a Messiah who comes to the upper-uppers and the lower-lowers, the high and mighty as well as the down and out. Men and women, wealthy and poor, moral and immoral, proud and ashamed — no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve been up to, Jesus, the Equal Opportunity Savior, comes for you.

Some people have a hard time believing he came for people like them. Other people have a hard time believing he came for people unlike them. When you remember that he comes for all, it’s easy for you to go.