The Woman at the Well

The Woman at the Well

John 4:4-28


  1. He leaves Jerusalem and heads to Galilee (probably a 70 mile journey), to get to Galilee he passes through Samaria, a route that is often bypassed by most Jews so that they can avoid Samaria. The Jews don’t like the Samaritans and the Samaritans don’t like the Jews. But Christ does not govern his life and choices by the cultural biases of His time. So probably after an all day journey, he finds himself at Jacob’s well. A great place to stop and rest. They are by a water source and near a town so that they can go and buy food. So He sits and rests while his disciples go into the city to buy food. 
  1. The woman finds herself at the well in the evening. Perhaps she has been working in some nearby fields or her home is closer to this well than the others. In her days, such work in the fields was given to the poor women. She might have also chosen this well over the common well in the village where surely there would be a crowd to socialize with, because of her lack of acceptance among them. I would imagine that she was somewhat disappointed when she approached the well, and saw that she did not have the well to herself, and even worse, there was a Jewish man sitting near. You know the feeling, those moments when you enter an elevator and find that instead of being empty, you have to share the space with strangers with whom you have little desire to strike up a conversation with, no imagine that you just stepped into the elevator with someone whom you have been taught, by your culture and beliefs, to dislike and distrust. 
  1. “How is it that thou, being a Jew, asked drink of me?” Maybe her response was a little sassy, maybe she was suspicious and unsure of the intentions of this man who also happens to be a Jew. She might not feel accepted within her own community and is accustomed to people treating her unkindly, so she might naturally be a little cautious of people, so it might be even more difficult to believe that this Jew was actually treating her respectfully and with love. Or she might have been taken by surprise by His sincerity in asking for a drink and actually addressing her. Maybe by his simple request she could quickly see that this Jew was not like the other Jews that perhaps she has interacted with, and perhaps not even like other men she has interacted with. Of course Christ’s request for a drink of water was done with respect towards her, kindness, and gratitude and she must have felt and sensed his sincerity.  
  1. Nothing to draw with…greater than Jacob? How can you offer me something that you don’t have, are you claiming to be capable of offering something as great as our Father Jacob? The phrase “living water” might have been familiar to her. Though the Jews and the Samaritans have differing religious beliefs, they share the same belief of Jacob’s role as a prophet. 
  1. “Give me this water”  I don’t think she’s looking for some magical water, I think she might have had a beginning of an understanding that this man, whoever he was, was offering her something more than just water. Something that she had been searching for in her life. She must have understood that He was saying that He could offer her living water which would not only quench her spiritual thirst but also provide the source for a new life, a better life. Surely this was something that she was already craving in her life, something she was seeking after and desirous for. His words and invitation must have been welcoming to her ears and renewed her hope. She must have seen that this man was no ordinary man, even though she still does not see who He is, not yet.  
  1. “Call Thy Husband”  Therapist on podcast talking about the challenge of helping couples to see what they’re doing that’s getting in the way of the marriage….By this point, Christ knows who she is, He knows her, and I think that in this moment Christ sees her honest desire for a new life, a better life. He sees her sincere desire for goodness. So he ever so tenderly, approaches an area in her life that needs to be confronted. In order for her to change, she needs to see herself honestly. She needs to confront and address her poor choices. Christ knows that. He knows that it does not serve us well to turn a blind eye to our mistakes and poor choices. The only way to grow is to confront them with the Savior so that we can be healed and become better. In a very tender way, He draws her attention to an area in her life that she needs to address.
  1. “I have no husband” It is not comfortable to look at yourself and to see your short-coming and poor choices honestly. Human behavior tends to ignore our flaws. And maybe she’s not sure how much of her past she wants to disclose to this Jewish stranger even if she is beginning to trust him and see that he is kind and respectful. 
  1. “I perceive that thou art a prophet” This is a significant statement. In the beginning she saw him as a typically Jewish man, but now she sees him as a prophet. Have you ever been corrected by someone before? It is not a comfortable place to sit. And yet, she replies “I perceive that thou art a prophet.” She’s not denying or defending or making excuses for her actions or her mistakes, rather she is taking full responsibility for her choices. She recognizes that this Man is no ordinary man. She doesn’t respond with any defensive attacks, no clever jabs, just an honest recognition that this Man isn’t there to harm her, hurt her, or to mock her, or to diminish her because of her choices, or because she is a woman and from Samaria. She sees His goodness and she trusts Him. That’s more than many of the Jews were able to see, for their self-righteous lifestyle blinded them from seeing Christ as more than a man, yet this woman, in her short conversation with Him is able to see and accept that this person is no ordinary man. AND she is able to see past him being a Jew. She is more able to see Christ, even with the walls of ethical discrimationg, than many of the Jews who don’t have the challenge of accepting him because he is already Jewish. But the fact that this prophet is a JEW not a Samaritan. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to accept that someone great comes from her community rather than from the group of people who have diminished and distanced themselves from? She is not blinded by her bisas!
  1. “Ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship” I’m confused. You’re a Jew and I believe that you’re a prophet, but I believe that this is the place where we should worship, but Jews say that Jerusalem is the place to worship. If I believe that you are a prophet then that conflicts with my current religious beliefs. The Jews and the Samaritans have conflicting religious beliefs. And now she is trying to make sense out of the possibility of this Jewish man being a prophet when the Jews religious beliefs contradict her beliefs. But it is possible to worship God if you are unable to fully embrace his truths? Even if she renounced her religious beliefs and converted to Judaism, she could never be able to fully embrace Judaism. She may never be able to fully worship the way that the Jews do, she’ll never be accepted as a Jew. Even if she converts, she cannot go to the temple in Jerusalem. If her religion is wrong, then she has nothing left.
  1. “The true worshippers shall worship the Father” The Samaritans are missing some key principles and doctrine within their religious beliefs, some key principles and doctrine that the Jews still have that will lead to salvation. But even though the Jews have the religious teaching that will lead them to salvation, their self-righteousness, their religious pride and their hypocrisy gets in the way. It does them no good to have the truths if their lives are full of superficial faith. What matters even more, is those who can be true worshippers within their circumstances. The Jew who can be a true worrisher, it’s not enough just to be a Jew and to have access to the truth. And if you are a Samaritan and unable to truly embrace in a formal way the Jewish religion, you can still embrace the truth in your heart. There is more to being a “True Worrispher” than the Jews and the Samaritans teach, and the Father seeketh True Worshipper to worship him. 
  1. “I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ” She already believes in Christ, she is already anxiously awaiting his arrival. She was already looking for him, waiting for him, believing in him. And her religion puts her at an advantage for recognizing Christ, for she has learned that Christ will come as a spiritual leader whereas the Jews are looking for a military leader. Perhaps her struggles increased her hope in the coming of the Messiah, perhaps the Messiah is the only thing left for her to hope for. Even in her flawed, incomplete religious understanding, she believed that somehow this Christ that would come could restore hope and peace and joy into her life again. She was already looking for him. She already knew that she needed Christ, that He was her only source of hope left in her world. Can you imagine how she must have felt when he said: 
  1. “I am he.”
  1. I have grown to love more deeply this tender moment when the Savior sat and talked and listened to the woman at the well. A woman. A samaritan.  An individual who did not adhere to the religious practices of the Jews . He talked with her when the culture of His time taught that Jews and Samaritans don’t talk to each other. A time when even Jewish Rabbis didn’t talk to and teach women, even their own Jewish women. Yet, the Savior saw her. He saw that while physically healthy, was in spiritual distress, and so He sat and talked and listened.  
  1.  Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Throughout this conversation, her eyes and heart began to see more and more in this man. He went from an inconvenient Jewish man sitting near the well interrupting her time to be alone, to a man who was kind and different from the rest, to a Prophet, and then she saw him, though she had seen him from the moment she arrived at the well, she then saw him for the first time as her Savior. There are many instances when we don’t recognize Christ in our life. The men who walked the road to Emmaus did not recognize Christ in that moment as they walked and talked with Him just as the Samaritan woman did not immediately recognize Christ when she sat and talked with HIm. But while they were with him and while she was with Him, they felt something different. The men that walked with Christ after reflecting upon their experience said, “Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way and while he opened to us the scriptures?” There must be moments in our lives when we do not immediately recognize Christ in our life, sitting by our side as we approach the well to quench our thirst, or as we walk the road filled with sadness and morning reminiscing over the recent tragic events. Are there times when He and His power are right there and we don’t see Him or recognize Him? Perhaps we need to take moments to sit and reflect and ask ourselves, “Did not my heart within me burn? Was I not filled with peace? Didn’t those words fill my soul? Surly that must have been Christ in that moment and I just did not recognize him yet. It is my desire that I can open my heart to see Christ.