Destiny

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The Song: Destiny

Was this his true destiny
Or could he still make changes
Someone else’s nightmare
Into which he’d stepped
Damage limitation
Couldn’t save the situation
And that’s why Jesus wept

The Bible: The woman at the well

The Gospel according to Luke, Chapter 2, Verses 22 to 40 (Luke 2: 22 – 40), and
The Gospel according to John, Chapter 4, Verses 1 to 42 (John 4: 1 – 42).

The Story:

When Jesus was a baby, his parents took him to the Temple to dedicate him to God. There was a man there, called Simeon, whom God had told would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Simeon took the baby in his arms and said, “Now I can die in peace, because I have seen with my own eyes the salvation that God has sent to bring revelation to all the world and glory to Israel.” And he told the baby’s mother, Mary, that Jesus’ destiny was to be a sign of God’s presence that many would accept and many would reject. People’s reactions to Jesus would reveal their secret thoughts.


Fast forward thirty years. Jesus and his travelling companions are in Samaria, on the road from Judea to Galilee. Tired from the journey, Jesus sits down by a well whilst his friends go to town for food. Just then, a Samaritan woman comes to the well to draw water.

Judea and Samaria had history. A thousand years’ worth, going back to what happened when King Solomon died. The kingdom was divided in two – Judah in the south, with Jerusalem its capital; and  Israel in the north. Later, when Israel was overrun by Assyria, it was known as Samaria – and many foreigners married Samaritans and converted to their faith in Yahweh. They even built their own Temple on Mount Gerizim. Jews didn’t like Samaritans.

So the Samaritan woman was surprised when Jesus asked her for a drink of water: “You’re a Jew, and you’re asking me for a drink?!”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew who was asking, you’d be asking me for my living water.”

“What? You have no bucket. How are you going to get this water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob who gave us this well?”

“If you drink the water from this well”, said Jesus, “you will get thirsty again. But if you drink my water you will never be thirsty again.”

And the woman said, “I’ll have some of that water!”

Line drawing by Annie Vallotton
from the Good News Bible

As they chatted, Jesus told the woman some things about herself that she thought he could not have known. “I see you are a prophet, sir”, she said; “did you know that our ancestors used to worship on this mountain, though you Jews say you can only do that in Jerusalem?”

“You know what”, said Jesus, “the time has come for people to worship God in their hearts, not on this mountain or in Jerusalem.”

And the woman said, “I know that when the Messiah comes he will explain everything to us.”

“That’s who I am”, said Jesus.

“I am!” Even the Samaritan scriptures had the story of how God told Moses that his name was Yahweh, I Am. This Jew was claiming to be Yahweh!

Leaving her water jar by the well, the woman hurried back to town to tell the people she thought she had found the Messiah. The townsfolk came and asked Jesus to stay with them. Which he did, for two days. And many of the Samaritans believed that Jesus was the Messiah – the saviour, not of the Jews only, but of Samaritans too, and, indeed, of all the world.