John 4:27-30

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” Then the woman left her water-jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” They left the city and were on their way to him.

Of course the disciples are astonished. This doesn’t surprise me. Their male Jewish teacher is talking to a Samaritan, a woman, alone. More than that, he’s talking to a no one, someone they would have hardly noticed. Yet whatever their alarm, they apparently knew better than to ask. Or perhaps were becoming accustomed to being astonished. However it plays out, none of this is all that surprising.

What is surprising is that when the woman departs she leaves her water jar behind. I mean, that’s the whole point of why she came to the well in the first place, to draw water and take it home again. Yet she leaves it behind, not only not completing her chore but abandoning her jar altogether.

Which is, of course, John’s point. In meeting Jesus, this woman has discovered living water and, just as Jesus promised, she will not need her water jar anymore. And so she leaves it behind in her great excitement to tell others what she has found.

But what, exactly, is she so excited about? I mean, when she says that Jesus “told me everything I have ever done,” that’s a bit of an overstatement, don’t you think? He told her one thing, not everything.

But in telling her that one thing, Jesus saw her. He noticed her, paid attention to her, counted her worthy of his attention and concern. He saw her, not as a Samaritan or woman but as a fellow human being and child of God. And to someone who been overlooked all of her life – and is again dismissed by the disciples – this is, indeed, everything.

Being seen. Noticing others. Giving those around us, and especially those who rarely merit notice, our time and attention, is such a small thing. Yet when Jesus does it for this woman, he changes her life.

And guess what: when we do it for others, we have the opportunity to change their lives as well.

Prayer: Dear God, help us to see others and give them our regard, love, and attention, telling them in deed and word that they are your beloved children. In Jesus’ name, Amen.