John 4 records a conversation between Jesus and a lone Samaritan woman. We don’t even know her name but her particular one-on-one conversation with Jesus is the longest one recorded in all Scripture. The setting for their conversation was at a well where Jesus stopped to rest midway on a journey. Jesus asks her for a drink as she draws her own water into a bucket, and then uses this moment to illustrate an important lesson on where we each draw on, in our own lives.
Often without realising it, we drop our buckets into wells in our lives to draw contentment and purpose. Often these wells are filled with pain, regret and consequences. For this woman, men had been her well – trying to find satisfaction in relationships. At the time she spoke with Jesus, she had already had five unsuccessful marriages. Success, careers and money are other common wells that we can try to draw from to sustain our lives. A life lived together with Jesus is the only well that will bring an eternal quenching of the thirst for hope, fulfilment, identity and contentment.
The last image that John leaves us with is that the woman leaves behind her bucket as she and Jesus leave the well. The earthly vessel that she had been using was made redundant now that she had found true life in Jesus’ words. Have you left your bucket behind?