The Gospel message has never been about being a “good” person. Using good as an adjective implies there is something we do to obtain special recognition from God. This is contrary to the Gospel. The Gospel says we can’t do anything to obtain special status. Instead, we must rely on a gift from God Himself.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” – John 4:10-12, ESV
Jesus makes it clear: salvation is a gift. That’s why He answered the woman, “If you knew the gift of God…” Since it is a gift, and since God has made it clear repeatedly throughout Scripture that our past doesn’t stop us from receiving God’s gift, as followers of Jesus Christ all this means we attempt to reach all with the Gospel. We don’t get the right to pick and choose. We share. Period.
It also means that God can and will forgive us and save us, regardless of our past. Nothing is too much for God to save. When He called Jacob, Jacob was a swindler and a liar. Moses was a murderer. So was Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus. If you haven’t believed until now that God can forgive you because of some issue in your past, let me encourage you – he has forgiven and saved men and women who have committed some of the most evil of deeds. He can and will forgive you, if you truly believe.
Jesus also mentioned living water. We aren’t going to find salvation in something earthly. We aren’t going to discover the path to redemption in something created. Water is not living. At least, the water we deal with isn’t. Jesus was using a metaphor, one which we understand to mean the Holy Spirit, God Himself. God’s gift involves the Holy Spirit. When He saves us, we receive the Holy Spirit. He is the living water. And He seals us with God’s promise of eternal life with Him.