The Woman at the Well

"For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."  Luke 19:10.  Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.  He said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick....  For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."  Matthew 9:12, 13.  In the fourth chapter of John we have a demonstration of this truth.

Jesus and His disciples departed from Judea to go north to Galilee.  Most Jews traveled east skirting around Samaria.  "But He needed to go through Samaria."  John 4:4.  He came to Sychar, a small city, where the patriarch Jacob had dug a well.  His disciples went into the city to buy food.  Jesus was alone, resting at Jacob's well.  "It was about the sixth hour."  John 4:6.  The sixth hour was not six o'clock our time, but rather noon.

 

A Samaritan Woman

"A woman of Samaria came to draw water...."  John 4:7.  In verse 21 Jesus addressed her as "Woman."  Unlike Nicodemus, the religious Pharisee of John 3, we do not know her name.

Jesus caught the woman by surprise, when He did something unheard of.  He asked her for a drink of water.  "Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, 'How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?'  For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."  John 4:9.

Samaritans were descendants of Jews, who intermarried with heathen after the fall of Israel several hundred years earlier.  They were not full-blooded Jews.  They were despised by the Jews, who would never drink from a Samaritan's cup.  A Jewish Rabbi would rather go thirsty than ask a Samaritan woman for a drink.  A Rabbinic law of a.d. 66 stated that Samaritan women were continually menstruating and were therefore unclean.

The woman of Samaria was fully aware of the many prejudices that Jews held toward them.  That's what made the request by Jesus so unexpected.

It would be good to memorize Jesus' response to the woman, as recorded in John 4:10.  "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.'"  Jesus told the woman at the well that there were two things she needed to know: (1) the gift of God, and (2) who Jesus is.  Jesus elaborated on the gift in verse 14, saying, "Whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

 

A Sinful Woman

 The woman didn't have a clue as to what Jesus was talking about.  Those who have never been born again of the Holy Spirit don't understand spiritual things.  1 Corinthians 2:14.  She asked, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.  Where then do You get that living water?"  (Archeologists have discovered Jacob's well and found it to be about 100 feet deep.)  "Jesus answered and said to her, 'Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again.'"  John 4:13.  She answered, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."  What a chore it was day after day to draw water from that deep well!  She wanted that living water so that she wouldn't have to draw water from Jacob's well again.  She asked Jesus for that water.

The gift of God, the living water, is the Holy Spirit.  This is clear from John 7:37-39.  "On the last day...Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He would believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive...."

The woman at the well had a sin problem.  Jesus brought it to light, when He continued, "Go, call your husband, and come here."  The woman answered, "I have no husband."  The Lord said, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband."  Repentance of sin is preceded by recognition of sin.

Instead of repenting of her sin, she suddenly becomes of all things religious.  "The woman said to Him, 'Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.'"  John 4:19, 20.  Today some people would say, "I'm confused.  There are so many denominations.  Which church is the right church?"  Like the Samaritan woman, they would rather talk about religion rather than repentance.  For some it's easier and more convenient to go to church than come to Christ.

"Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.'"  John 4:21-24.

The woman at the well responds with a statement that is in reality a question.  "The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming.  When He comes, He will tell us all things.'"  In reality she was asking, "Are you the Christ?"

Those who deny the deity of Christ often teach that Jesus never claimed to be the Messiah.  They're wrong!  "Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am He.'"

The sinful woman of Samaria got the message.

 

A Saved Woman

The woman was so excited that she left her waterpot at the well, and ran into the city.  In addressing the men she asked a question, which was really a statement.  "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?"  John 4:29.  In essence she was saying, "This Man is the Christ."

How much do you have to know to be a witness for Christ?  How simple!  "Come, see...."  They were also the words of Jesus to John and Andrew in John 1:39.  "Come, and see."

God blessed the testimony of the woman.  "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all that I ever did.'"  John 4:39.

"So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  Many more believed because of His own word.  Then they said to the woman, 'Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.'"  John 4:40-42.

Jesus Christ saves Jews, Samaritans, and heathen Gentiles.  He saves young and old, male and female, black and white, the up-and-out and the down-and-out.  He is the world's only Savior.

This Samaritan woman seemed like such an unlikely prospect for salvation.  You'll remember that Jesus and the woman met at the well at noon.  In the hot, dry climate of Samaria women usually drew water in the cool hours of the morning.  This woman drew water alone.  She was looked upon as an immoral woman, who was living in sin.  In the eyes of others she appeared to be hopelessly lost.

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."  1 Timothy 1:15.  Self-righteous hypocrites are like whitewashed tombs, full of dead men's bones and uncleanness.  Corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of God before them.  Jesus saves sinners.

He sought out a sinful Samaritan woman at the well.  Today He is still seeking the lost.  He receives sinners.  Will you receive Him?  "Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near." Isaiah 55:6.  "For whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."  Romans 10:13.

 
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