“The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”” (John 4:28-29)
About two decades ago, I broke my husband’s beautiful pitcher…shattered in a million pieces of cobalt-blue shards. And, I smacked it on a good friend in the process.
All accidental, of course. My sweet friend Chuck, who has recently joined Jesus in heaven, came over to help us out when a hose behind our refrigerator began leaking.
As Chuck grasped the fridge to wiggle it out of its spot, I failed to pay attention to my beloved’s pitcher on top. It wobbled and flipped forward, landing on Chuck’s head and crashing to the tile floor. Gone in a heartbeat. Leaving Chuck with a knot on his noggin.
I felt awful. I had inadvertently injured my friend, and I smashed a favorite item belonging to my husband, Mark. Mark had purchased it as a souvenir from the Metropolitan Museum of Art giftshop in New York before we ever met…making this a pretty big “oops” for me.
For some reason, after all these years, I thought of that pitcher when our wedding anniversary approached in July. On a whim, I checked online auctions and found one exactly like it, with the museum sticker still attached! Mark was pleased to have his cobalt pitcher again, and I had finally redeemed myself.
When our pastor preached through John 4 a few Sundays ago, I was struck by a phrase about a pitcher during the Samaritan woman’s unforgettable encounter with Jesus Christ. In the conversation at her town well, Jesus offered her a new way of life, declaring Himself as the Messiah.
Three words in this section jumped out, however. She left her waterpot at the well to hurry back to her village. It’s not clear if she forgot it or deliberately abandoned it. Maybe she thought she’d return shortly to collect it.
The reason doesn’t matter. The waterpot and her original duty to draw water were suddenly unimportant. She had a more pressing errand now—to testify to her neighbors (despite her status as an outcast) that the Son of God was here.
Earthenware waterpots in ancient Israel were weighty things. Carried on heads and shoulders or by hand, with or without handles, these vessels were heavy even when empty. Once filled with water, they made the return trip a burdensome, longer task.
This Samaritan woman had a choice. She could trudge back with her water or sprout wings on her feet by leaving the pot behind. Obviously, she got her priorities straight…she left her material things, along with her desire for water, in order to share the “living water” Christ had given her.
This lady’s waterpot/pitcher represents a choice we make every day. We’ve been given an extraordinary privilege to speak the truth about Jesus—to our friends, family, and strangers. But too often, at least in my case, we get bogged down in the daily drudgery of tasks and responsibilities. We fail to leave our pitchers behind.
While the woman was gone to her village, Jesus’ disciples returned. He reminded them of their mission, saying that the fields were ripe for the harvest of fruit for eternal life. Like the 70+ disciples Jesus had instructed to “travel light” (see Luke 10:1-16), this woman was a fitting example. Her water pitcher remained there at the well for them to observe while she was off and running as a missionary evangelist.
When Jesus calls us to heaven, we’ll leave all our pitchers behind. But in the meantime, we need to abandon a lot of other things in order to tell others about Jesus. Our to-do lists and agendas. Feelings of pride, embarrassment, unworthiness, fear. The heavy sins that hold us back. Plain old laziness.
You and I need to remember we have an amazing story to tell, so unimaginably wonderful that we simply can’t hold it in. Let’s leave our weighty “pitchers” behind for the joy of pouring out the good news about Jesus—the only Water we’ll ever need—to the world around us.
Lord Jesus, You are the Living Water who redeems us, refreshes us, and offers us eternal life. You are our Salvation. Fill us with an overflowing joy every day, so contagious that we can’t help sharing Your good news with others. Teach us to travel light, unencumbered by the burdens of the world. In Your blessed name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.