As I read the story about the woman at the well, (John 4) I am struck by the transformation that occurs.
Before Jesus, she was dictated by her past.
The town shunned her. She out in the hot sun, alone.
At their meeting, Jesus asks her for water.
She reminds Jesus about the social barriers.
He offers her living water. She questions the living water. Many commentators after the Protestant reformation think her question cheeky, crass or even vulgar.
Here was a stranger who first asks her for water in an awkward social setting. She justs points out the social barriers to him. Later, his disciples also notice the social barriers. A stranger makes some claims about living water. She simply ask him what he asked her to ask him.
Jesus gives her the living water in the next part of the conversation, his presence and understanding of her life. After some conversation. Jesus answer her request by asking to see her husband. The story already has the clues to indicate that she probably didn’t have the best reputation and most likely didn’t have a husband (the time and that she came alone). So when she answers Jesus, that she has not husband, her request at first could seem the conversation is going to end with the stranger starting to shun her as the rest of society.
But when Jesus tells her the details of her past, She experiences divine acceptance. It is his presence that becomes the catalyst to transform her standing as she leads the rest of the town to meet Jesus.
The story makes me wonder is evangelism simply means sharing our experience with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Before Jesus we are defined by our past.
After Jesus, are we defined by our relationship to Jesus?