John 4:1-26 JESUS AND THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA | JESUS TALKS TO A WOMAN AT THE WELL
News reaches Jesus that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was gaining more disciples. Scripture states a fact that Jesus was not doing the baptizing, but rather His disciples were doing the baptizing. Already there is a rising against Jesus and the resentment of the Pharisees. It was not time for Jesus to confront the Pharisees, so Jesus left Judea and went back to Galilee. To get to Galilee, he had to go through Samaria and in Samaria he came to a town "called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph." Jacob's well was still there. (Genesis 33:18-19) Around noon, the hottest time of the day, Jesus sat down by the well to rest. Verse 6 mentions that Jesus was weary, which is a comfort to know that Jesus felt what I sometimes feel.
Samaritans were rejected by pure blooded Jews as scum. When Judah (Southern Kingdom) was conquered and exiled to Babylon, the lower society class were left behind survivors. These left behind intermarried foreigners (became religiously mixed and impure). 2 Kings 17:24, "And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities." The route through Samaria was shorter. Jews crossed the Jordan River and intentionally bypassed Samaria. Jesus could have bypassed Samaria, but He did not. There are things in my life I would rather bypass. There are people in my life I would rather bypass. Jesus gives us an example to be brave and hit things head on, even if we would rather avoid them.
Jesus's disciples left him and went to town to buy food and a Samaritan woman came to the well. The well was usually outside the city on the main road. It was unusual for a woman to come to the well alone and at noon (normally in the morning). Did she come at this time alone because she was a social outcast within the Samaritans? Jesus speaks first and asks her for a drink. The woman was taken aback because she never expected Jesus to associate with her, exclaiming such. During Bible times, a Jewish man did not speak with women in public, not even his wife. As a woman, an outcast in society, a Samaritan, and, as we see below, full of infidelity, with four strikes and your out, it was a shocker to the women that this man (Jesus) would even speak to her. Jesus really does love all people regardless of sex, status, citizenship, or sin!
Verse 10, "Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” Of course, the woman did not understand His comment, thinking and stating aloud how Jesus had nothing to draw the water from the deep well and wondering if Jesus could be greater than Jacob, the one who originally drew from the well many years ago.
Verse 13 and 14, "Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Living water is spiritual water that quenches spiritual thirst, making one alive spiritually, not water from the ground. Baptism could be called living water. Psalm 42:1, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God." My soul needs spiritual food and water just as my body needs earthly food and water. Don't deprive my soul and get skinny on faith!
The woman still did not understand! She wanted some of the water so she never had to come back to the well again, totally missing the words about eternal life. Jesus was giving her something awesome and she was circumventing it due to technicality excuses (no bucket, are you greater than Jacob, well is deep.)
Jesus proceeded to prove Himself by telling her to go get her husband. She replied that she had no husband and Jesus replied telling her all about her 5 husbands and her infidelity! Wow! I can imagine the dropped jaw and astonished look. Her mind must have been churning. "How does he know all about me?" "Why did he still talk to me even though he knows all this about me." "This man really is a prophet!"
The woman avoids the issue of her sinfulness, changes the subject, and continues by exclaiming Him as a prophet and saying the ancestors of the Jews worshiped right on that mountain, but now the Jews want people to worship in Jerusalem. The woman tries to escape and ignore what Jesus says to her by using religious excuses. Jesus tells her about a time coming, which has come now, where worship is for all and everywhere. Worship is not about a location, but rather about an attitude towards Christ. Verse 22 references "salvation is from the Jews" in that Jesus is born from the line of Jews. "God is spirit" would be that God is not limited by physical places, but rather is present everywhere for all to worship.
Do I ever change the subject when Jesus points out my sin to me? When praying, sometimes I ask God to show me the sins I am not aware of, letting my mind go blank. Sometimes something I had not thought of before pops into my brain. When my conscience wears on me, do I address the issue with Jesus in prayer or am I a quick change artist beginning another topic? In the case of the woman at the well, Jesus allowed her to change the subject and certainly He may do the same to me as well because He loves me and wants to hear all of my concerns, but eventually, the topic of my sin and what is on my conscience will come around again. He also loves me so much that He wants my confessions and repentance so that His forgiveness follows.
The woman says she knows the prophecy of Christ, the Messiah. Jesus says, "I who speak to you am He." I sure would have liked to have seen the expression on her face! This man is telling her that He is more than a prophet, but the very promised Messiah! It would seem she did not get to reply because the disciples came back and interrupted them. What timing!
We all come to Jesus in different ways. Why did the Samaritan woman come to Jesus? She came and was not even looking for Jesus! Sometimes Jesus finds us!