Let’s step out of the story for a minute and try to imagine what this woman may have been like today. Was she insecure? Was she constantly seeking comfort from different men? Was she stable and secure emotionally? Maybe she was past her prime and had been through so many failed marriages that she now just shacks up with the latest guy. Maybe she has developed a drug or alcohol problem in an attempt to cope. Maybe she is one of those people with the barely suppressible anxious panic because it seems it’s all slipped too far to ever be redeemed. Or that person with the overly enthusiastic personality and constant joking who can’t hide the glint of terror in their eyes. Or someone who has become numb and is just living out days without meaning, direction, or purpose. Of course this is all just speculation in order to make a point and bring the story to light in a modern context. But one thing is for sure - she was a sinner as we all are. Everyone has been battered and stained by sin and it’s evil fruit. The stain is just different colors on different people.
“Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet…” The Lord has begun to open her eyes to divine truth as He must do for all of us. The supernatural divine glory of Christ and His truth begins to shine into the darkness of her sinful reality. Without the working of the spirit opening our eyes to the truth of who Jesus is we will never come to Him. And then the Lord shares with her the greatest truth there is, “I who speak to you am he.” He is the long awaited for Messiah.
Here we see the transition from a spring of living water - the grace of the gospel, to the terrible bondage that keeps the woman and all others from it - the bondage of sin, to salvation in Jesus Christ. This is a model that Jesus is giving us of how the gospel works in the human heart. Jesus shares with her an image of the boundless grace and glory that is in Him, then He brings to light the sin that keeps her from redemption and eternal life springing up as living water, and then He shows her the way out of sin and into eternal glory which is Him.
It is a grave and destructive error to detour around the gospel and try to come to the message of salvation through a method or program of man’s own creation. To cast aside the reality of sin may be to cast aside the reality of salvation in Jesus Christ. Have faith in the gospel and proclaim it as Jesus did and as He commands us in His Word to do. Never back down from the truth. Stay on the narrow path in our life, our ministry, and our witness.
Jesus brought her sin to light in a gentle and loving way - as we all must do because we all are sinners.