There is Surrender in Becoming an Esther

Written by Alena Xuan, Veritas student in Chile! Alena is a student at the University of Pittsburgh in studying Spanish & Portuguese. She is studying abroad not to just learn a language, but learn a culture and other way of life as well.


I have always loved the story and character of Queen Esther. I love her attitude of, “I will do it because I have to, and I am not afraid.”

I wish I had that.

But as I dive deeper into the book I thought I knew so well, I’ve found a woman that I connect to more than I ever thought.

In John 4, you’ll find the story of the adulteress Samaritan woman who finds Jesus at the well. I have always previously written her off because adultery is not something I relate to.

But she is so much more than just her sin. She is meLost, tired, aggravated, ready to just…be done.

And then Jesus shows up.

I love how the story starts, because it says, “He (Jesus) had to go through Samaria” (verse 4). He literally had to go through Samaria. Not just because of travel reasons, but because He knew His purpose there: to save this woman. To literally change her life.

So let’s change this: He had to go through Pittsburgh. He had to go through that church in McKees Rocks because He knew that there was this girl who needed Him so bad.

Jesus is sitting at the well and the woman shows up, and I can just imagine her face and feel the sigh she lets out as she sees a man there, when all she wants to do is get water and leave. I can see her hesitation in her eyes. He asks her for a drink.

And she turns, asking, “how can you ask me for a drink?” I can just hear the aggravation and offense in her voice.

Jesus is there in that church and I show up, and I know how I felt. He asks me for trust and faith. And I turn, asking, “how can you ask me for that?”

You see, this woman and I have so much in common. I get her. She was tired when she got to that well. She didn’t want to talk to anyone–she wanted to do her work and leave to go back to the sin that she was comfortable in. And that was me

She was so offended and surprised when Jesus asks her for a drink. I can imagine the indignation in her voice at His question, because that was the same that was in mine. Who is this Jesus, the savior of the world, to ask me for anything when I am perfectly capable of living comfortable as I am?


Here in Chile I am learning all over again just how legitimately weak and pretty useless I can be when my focus is off of where it should be.

I am being strengthened by learning how easily breakable I actually am.

As the initial euphoria for the country is wearing off, I am beginning to see the reality of this country. And the truth is that there are a lot of women at the wells here, there are a lot of people who need Jesus to find them and tell them who He is.

On my way to the subway every day, I walk through the center of my city and if I turn left onto this one street, I walk into an area that our program specifically told us to avoid. Well, today, I had to go to buy a bus ticket and myself a couple friends walked through there and I understand why we were told to avoid it. There is so much heartbreak just one turn away from me every single day. There are women begging for money for their children with cancer and children begging for money for their dying mothers.

I forget that everywhere I go, on the Metro, in my university, in my program office, that those people need Jesus just as desperately as the people living in sheer poverty. And as redeemed woman, it is a responsibility of my calling to bring Jesus to them.

That is when I have to become Esther. But I cannot be Esther without first being the woman at the well.



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