Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
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.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “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 livestock?”
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.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You 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 just said is quite true.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, 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 the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
- John 4:1-26
“”Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink’ ” (John 4:7). How many of us are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “You shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8). That means lives of pure, uncompromising, and unrestrained devotion to the Lord Jesus, which will be satisfying to Him wherever He may send us.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Chambers points out something that I don’t think I have ever noticed in this Scripture. I apologize for the long quote from Scripture, but I wanted to capture the entire interaction with the woman at the well.
The story starts off with Jesus wanting to quench His thirst. The conversation is focused upon Jesus, serving Him, and His needs. Jesus is thirsty, but He has no means to draw water.
Once the woman discovers that there might be a reward involved, the living water, the focus turns to the woman. The woman asks, “How can I get this living water?” Jesus asks her to go and speak to her husband, and the revelations ensue.
Once the woman realizes that she is in the presence of someone of note, the focus shifts back to Jesus, but in a manner of worship instead of service. She thinks that Jesus is a prophet, to know so much about her. She is even bold enough to bring up the subject of the Messiah, and Jesus says that He is the Messiah. Once the disciples got to that point, Jesus admonished them to keep it quiet.
Since Jesus is 100% human during these years on earth, He needs water and sustenance, but as God, He needs nothing. God made man for man to choose to worship Him. As such, the best ‘service’ that we can perform is to worship Jesus.
At first, Jesus is an unknown by the Samaritan woman at the well. The woman is wary, since Jesus is a Jew and she is a Samaritan. She had nothing to draw water herself. This begs the question of why she was there in the first place. Maybe she was there to beg for water that was drawn by someone else, but no one goes to the well at that time of day. Her presence is a bit of a mystery. Since she had a checkered past, being alone is natural, but being alone, at a well, and no means to gather water? Does that even make sense? It did to God, for many believed that day after she spread the word. Notice that a woman was spreading the word among her Samaritan brethren. The first to experience the risen Savior were women.
Why no one at the well at noon? I am assuming here, but if it is like India, the women gather water in the morning about dawn. They’ve already cleaned the clothing and gathered firewood. Their third long trek of the day is to gather water while their husband starts the fire. Note: No cards and letters please. These are my observations. I cannot help being a people watcher and making notes on how other cultures handle such things. Water gathering is probably the most joyful occasion of the day. There is a great deal of laughter while the water is drawn and the women help each other stack filled, heavy water pots on each other’s head.
I only saw one woman crying as she left toward home. She had dropped her pot and was holding what remained in her arms. By the time this had happened, there was no one left at the well to help her draw water. The family would not have a full meal that night. I wanted to stop, but my driver was flying by quickly and I did not know how to communicate with him. It may have been a driver, a few cars in front of us, that caused her to stumble.
But this Samaritan woman had nothing to use for drawing water and she showed up when no one would be expected at the well. God must have called her to the well.
Now, when the woman learns of living water, the conversation turns briefly to what can she get out of this, but Jesus introduces a request for her to fetch her husband. That starts the revelations.
Once the woman learns that Jesus is something special, maybe a prophet, she asks a question regarding worship of God. She suddenly becomes bold in asking who is doing this properly, the Jews or the Samaritans. Jesus evades her question with the concept that neither location will be the focus of worship. Indeed, in the New Jerusalem, there will be no temple, because Jesus is with us all the time. Our worship will be directly to Jesus, and before we reach the new Jerusalem, we need to establish that intimate relationship with Him.
Some might think that the Samaritan woman is dodging the issue at hand. She is in the midst of greatness. Why not ask more about Him? Instead, she brings up this age-old argument between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, but for her, this was the reason for the marginalization of her people. Sure, Samaritans were cousins to the Jews, but cousins who had intermarried with the locals. Proper worship should have been at the temple, but Jeroboam established false gods on high places in Israel, making the true God angry. She should worship in Jerusalem, but the Jews would not want her there. She was trapped. She was an outcast.
So, it was perfectly logical. She was in the presence of greatness, greatness that needed to be worshiped, but now, the most important question –By what method and where?
In the end, she gathered the people in the town, those that would listen, and took them to meet Jesus where many believed. She worshiped in the modern way. She spread the Good News.
The Samaritan Woman at the Well was the first lay-evangelist. She had not training. She had no tracts to hand out. She just brought people to the feet of Jesus so that they might believe. And while Jesus was still thirsty, He found satisfaction that she took this form of worship.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory. a