It is VERY important to note that Jesus knows her. He knows her life, her thoughts, her feelings, her past, her sins, her insecurities and her fears. He had the 'advantage' of being God and being able to see her heart. For us to attain that level of intimacy with the people we are talking to requires an enormous amount of listening, asking questions and showing genuine care for their lives.
It is by listening and caring for others that will bring them to listen and care about what we have to say. Not the other way around. We cannot expect people to listen to us just because we have the Bible. The pill of Truth cannot be swallowed without the water of Grace.
Jesus, the three-times holy God, was speaking with a six-times sinful woman by a well. Knowing the depth of her depravity, there are so many statements He could have uttered to her at that point.
He could have said:
- Do you not know who I am ? I am perfect ! and you most certainly are not.
- Do you know how many times I have watched you sin ? how many times you have hurt me ?
- How could you have done all you did ?
- How could you look at yourself in the mirror ?
- Aren't you ashamed of yourself ?
- Don't you see what you've become ?
- Don't you see how others see you ?
- Don't you realize the sin you are in ?
- Didn't you know that sexual sins is the worst kind of sin ?
- Don't you think you deserve the social rebuking done to you ?
- Five husbands ? That's disgusting !
- You're living with someone who isn't your husband now ? In sin ?
- How can anyone ever love you again ?
- Don't you know what the Law says about you ?
- What would 'your father' Jacob say if he saw you now ?
- You know someone like me shouldn't be talking to someone like you right ? I'm doing you a favor!
- You know you are going to hell right ?
Amazingly and against all expectations, he doesn't say anything remotely close to that.
John 4:16: Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’
18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
What just happened ?
He makes a request knowing well what her state is. She answers back, truthfully I might add, probably looking at the ground in shame. Then Jesus does something remarkable. He states the fullness of her sin and then... stops!
He doesn't go into a long tirade about the gravity of the sin, about the depth of her depravity or about the guilt she should be feeling. He could have done so, He is God! Rather, He states it as it is and then changes the subject to talk about worship.
Jesus demonstrates that there is a line where it becomes important to stop when diving into the past. He does not shy away, belittle or bury the sin. That's Truth. He addresses it and shows her that the gift is for her... and then moves on to her other concerns.