Listen Well

Arriving at the well midday, she avoided the other women in her community. She made her choices in life, maybe not the best choices, and she knew she lived with the consequences. She did what she did to survive.

A man approached as she drew water from the well. Hurrying to avoid a conversation or worse a shunning, she recognized he would arrive before she completed her chore. Little did she know on this day, her life would change forever.

Instead of judgement, He simply asked “Will you give me a drink?” John 4:7 (NIV)

Bewildered, she responded with her own understanding of culture and Jesus’ request. He agreed with her, stating clearly that He knew exactly who she was, and then He offered her “living water.” John 4:10 (NIV)

She continued to state the cultural norms and His responded inviting her to worship God, “in the Spirit and the truth.” John 4:23 (NIV)

Leaving this place, with no thought of the well or the need for water, she returned to town.

Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” John 4:29 (NIV) Not only did she feel heard, but she also felt seen. What a glorious day this truly was for her and her community! Many came to know Jesus that day.

Jesus met her as she was at that moment in time. He clearly stated her life experience, but He didn’t exclude her from His presence. Jesus listened well to her and reflected back to her the story of her life.

I’ve heard it described as reflective listening, active listening, intentional listening, and even incarnate listening. Listen like Jesus listened.

Today is not different. As Jesus’ followers we also are called to listen well. James recorded this beautifully, “My dear brothers and sisters understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” James 1:19 (NIV) We might not like what the other person is saying or doing, but the initial bridge to build relationships is to listen well. James goes on to say that “human anger does not produce the righteousness of God.” (vs. 10)

Take time this week to listen to someone at work, at home, or even in the grocery store. Listen well, reflecting back to them what you hear and see. Who knows what that moment may mean to them?

Do you want to read the full story of the Samaritan woman at the well? Turn to the Gospel of John 4:1-26 and read all about her.

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