It was yet another family member trip to the hospital, which, of course, portended more medical bills in the mailbox. His circumstance unchangeable, my friend sighed in disgust, “Oh well, it is what it is.” Overhearing him from the other room, his wife called back in a more optimistic tone, “But it’s not what it will be!” Pithy and profound, her rejoinder was the just the encouragement he needed to hear. They’ve re-told the story often in the ensuing years.
For woman at the well, “It is what it is,” was well-known at the time and remains well-chronicled today. By her own account, her very existence had begun two social rungs below that of the tired and thirsty stranger seated before her and seeking her help—“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”1 Living with a man not her husband, a fact she tried to conceal, dropped her another step down toward defeat in a frustrating life-game of Chutes and Ladders. Surely this was not the “happily ever after” of her earlier dreams, nor was it the fullness of Jesus’ plan for her. Of all people, it was this woman, mired in her “It is what it is” to whom He first revealed Himself as the Messiah—“I who speak to you am he,”2 Jesus told her. And from unsearchable depths, He offered her “living water,”3 a quenching of the soul from which she would never thirst again, a “spring of water welling up into eternal life.”4 “Sir, give me this water,”5 she accepted. Her “is what it is” was no longer; her “what it will be” had come.
We tend to view the Samaritan woman as she was on her way to the well that day, but this is not the same person who returned to her village, nor would it ever be again. Messiah changes things, and not merely so, for He makes us new. “If anyone is in Christ,” proclaimed Paul, “the new creation has come: The old has gone and the new is here!”6 Our sin patterns no longer define us—this is true of the woman who left the well, and it is true of us. We have met the Messiah, and we, like she, are new; we are different than when we came. Let no one persuade us otherwise.
Father, thank you for making me a new person in Christ. Help me to trust your faithfulness, your goodness, and your eternal care as you continue to make me like Him. In His name I pray. Amen.
1 John 4:9
2 John 4:26
3 John 4:10
4 John 4:14
5 John 4:15
6 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21