The Samaritan Woman at the Well Meets Jesus John 4:1-38
Updated: Sep 28
Begrudgingly, I picked up the ceramic water jug and balanced it on my head as I headed out to Jacob's well. The oppressive heat was daunting, and I had to blink a few times to fend off the dizziness caused by sweeping down with the jug fast in order to swing it up high to my head. Looking forward to getting refreshed by cold drinking water and more importantly cleansed without the women from Sychar to shun me or move away from me like I was a leper, I took solace in the noon hour. No one would make the trip to the well now with the sun at its highest point and that was a great relief. I must admit, I do miss the days long ago when I was accepted and enjoyed conversations at the well. Now, I would only end up being the conversation rather than enjoying one. Keeping my eyes shaded by looking down at the stoney path, I didn't notice the stranger sitting by the well until I was almost upon him.
Breaking the silence, he says, "Will you give me a drink?" Immediately, I realize that he's a Galilean Jew with his accent, and I stood shocked that he would even venture to speak with me. Of course, he would feel that I was beneath his company. He must be desperately thirsty from his travels. Hmmm, I think I'll call him out on this!
"You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?"
The stranger looked me straight in the eyes. There was gentleness and no frustration with my remark to humiliate him. He returned with, "If you only knew what a wonderful gift God has for you, and who I am, you would ask me for some living water!"
Bewildered and captivated by his remark, yet wondering if he is being haughty, I press again, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"
The stranger continued, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Finding him completely intriguing and something within me yearning for his words to be true for my life is running empty and dry and just worn-physically worn. Only picking up that he can provide rest from this chore. "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
I was surprised greatly by his retort, "Go call your husband and come back."
I answered, "Sir, I have no husband."
Still looking into my eyes yet not with condemnation, he said, "Your are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true." Completely caught off guard, my heart and breath seem to stop, yet my mind was racing through my past.
Collecting myself and taking a deep breath from my shame, I replied trying to divert the conversation from my past, "Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
He continues with the focus on worship, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth."
Wondering if this man was the long awaited Messiah, but hesitant to give that glory to a prophet, I venture to make the suggestion, "I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
As if he expected me to say that, he declared, "I who speak to you am he."
The words seem to sink slow motion first into my ears, then into my brain and finally into my heart. Bursting into joy, I lay down my water jar and grasp my hands together looking up in earnest to God in request if this is true?!? Just then, a small crowd of men who seem to know this stranger walk over to him. They address him as Jesus. The men's stares did not conceal their displeasure of my presence. I quickly ran back toward town to tell others to come to the well to confirm if this truly was the Christ-the Messiah. Hardly able to run with the folds of my dress twisting around me, I could not stop for I wanted to spread the word and get back into the presence of the one they called Jesus. I just knew this man would touch my life in a way that no man has ever done before. Why did I think the man was so thirsty, for it was I all along who thirst for the living truth. He met me with no judgement or prejudice and offered me a wonderful gift, and I am coming back for it ...with others!
Questions for Reflection:
Do you ever feel left out - ostracized from a crowd or group? Or flip that, do you find yourself discriminating against another because they don't feel or see things like you do?
Can you remember a time you noticed a lonely heart and included them? Maybe it occurred in our workforce, school, church or on the streets with the homeless; we should be aware of reaching out to someone who doesn't feel included or remembered. Jesus asks us to be his hands and feet..heart to others.
"Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brother's (sisters) of mine, you did for me."
Jesus shows no prejudice to the Samaritans. We should take care that politics, religions, race, gender identity doesn't get in the way of loving and getting to know others. If you desire to share your views with someone who thinks differently than you, be sure they know how much you enjoy who they are and what they think too. Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. "How well do you treat others with different views? Do you feel you can improve in this area and why?
What do you think it means when Jesus said, "true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth?"
This story is only mentioned in the book of John chapter 4. The last verse of the book of John (John 21: 25) states: "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." We are missing out on so many other events and will have to wait until Heaven to hear the rest. The stories are to provide evidence of God walking the Earth as man. We can be sure that Jesus brought living Truth to mankind by the miracles that transformed lives with no prejudices to their status for all were important. The comment, "to the Jew first and then to others" held the meaning as a promise that God made to King David that a Messiah would come through his Jewish lineage. Jesus is like living water granted to all mankind and needed to have eternal Life and not eternal death.
She came to the well one day for physical thirst, but instead had spiritual thirst awakened.
Jesus said the Father (God) seeks a true worshiper which is one that worships in spirit and truth.
Everyone has a spirit and a soul. The soul is your personality and emotions, but your spirit is the eternal being that must be birthed or awakened to the spiritual companionship with God. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5
"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to the spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit."
Here we see the water - the Living Water of Jesus Christ reviving the life of the spirit by being birthed or awakened in us. Also, we see that we should never judge who will desire to receive the Living Water to new life. Jesus certainly displayed this with the "despised" Samaritans.
Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. John 3:20
Living by the truth doesn't condemn and shame the person for their past, it reminds them that they are delivered from it and it is past.
We must be born twice -once by flesh (physically) and once by spirit, so we die only once -(physically).
Those who are born once- by flesh (physically) will die twice (physically) and spiritually (separated from God and will reside in Hell)
Asking the savior Jesus to awaken your spirit to God while forgiving you of your sinful life is your wonderful gift to eternity with God.
Interesting, how this woman first addresses the stranger as "A Jew" then within a few minutes to "Sir" to "Prophet" then "Messiah". Jesus didn't pray with her or give her a sermon or tell her to repent. He gave her evidence of the truth of who he said he was by telling her of her life. He knew of her past mistakes and shame in society, but he offered her the "wonderful gift" ... His exact words,"If you only knew what a wonderful gift God has for you, and who I am, you would ask me for some living water!"
We too don't have to preach a sermon or tell someone to repent or pray ...just keep bringing them to the evidence of what Jesus did. Share stories written in the Gospels of Jesus touching others with miracles and He has a miraculous touch for them too. He has his life written out in four different books- the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, so His days on this Earth and what He did does not get missed! The person will thirst for the sermon, repentance and prayer naturally.
She left her pot and ran to town is noted in scripture. Her excitement to share the good news with others superseded her tasks of the day. She stopped "life" to share "the life she had just found." She didn't need a sermon, she just told people of her evidence of his reality and brought them to Jesus.
We can share the word with others too by bringing them to Jesus ...bring them to church or give them a podcast or a devotional and like a ripple in a water drop... the rings keep spreading wider and wider as they too will do likewise once they taste and see the Living Water that touches them.
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 1John 3:14 NKJV
Read the event in the Bible as it is recorded: