Jesus left the town of Judea to go to Galilee. Jews usually take the long way around to avoid Samaria as they do not get along with the Samaritans; in fact, many of the Jews hate them.
The journey was long, especially on foot. We mostly walked everywhere. It was a luxury to be able to ride a camel, horse or even a donkey.
Despite the in-fighting between the Jews and the Samaritans, Jesus walked through Samaria to the village of Sychar which is near the field that Jacob gave his son Joseph. If only you could see the face of the followers that went with Him… if looks could kill, Jesus would have been murdered.
Jesus was tired from the long walk. Because of His weariness, He sat down beside the well (Jacob’s well to be precise) at noontime. A Samaritan woman came to draw water and Jesus asked for a drink. First of all, this was odd to see a Samaritan draw water out in the open during noontime when the sun was hot and shining at its fullest. Most people go to draw water for their families and animals in the cool of the morning or late evening. No one else was around. Usually, when this happens it’s because they don’t want to be seen. There are only a few reasons why a woman doesn’t want to be seen by the other women. She could be a prostitute, have an illness that kept her way from other people, or anything else that broke Levitical law.
I was surprised to see this woman out in the heat of the day. She was equally surprised to see Jesus, a Jew, there and speaking to her. As I said before, Jews were well known for disliking the Samaritans and vice versa. She asked Jesus why He would even ask her for a drink.
Jesus said to her “If only you knew who I was and the gift God has for you, I would give you living water.”
The woman asked the same thing I was thinking- “How can you give me living water when the well is very deep and you have no extra rope? And do you really think you are greater than our ancestors were who gave us this well?”
Jesus answered her- “Anyone who drinks the water from the well will be thirsty again, but the water I can give you will quench your thirst. You will never be thirst again. It will become a fresh bubbling spring within you, giving eternal life.”
You mean I can have enough water, so I don’t have to be thirsty again, even in this heat? Wow, I want some of that. Apparently, the woman did as well. She asks for this water, so she never has to come back to the well again.
Somehow, I don’t think Jesus meant physical water. Since the day I first met Him, I have wanted to know more about Him and sitting on the outskirts listening in is just not enough. As much as I get thirsty in this heat, I am thirsty to know more about this man who is called the Son of God.
Jesus then tells the woman to go get her husband. The woman proceeds to tell Him she has no husband. Jesus already knew this! He told her she has had five husbands and the man she lives with now is not her husband! Now I see why this woman came out in the middle of the day when no one else did. I bet the women of that town gossiped about her a lot. The men there probably avoided her. If she has already had five husbands, she has commitment issues and living with another man, she must be lonely and desperate to have someone in her life. I actually felt sorry for her. I wondered if her parents were divorced or maybe she was a child from rape. Maybe she had a very difficult upbringing. I don’t’ know her whole background story, I only know what I just heard, and it broke my heart.
The woman was amazed that Jesus knew this and she then realised He was someone special. She then goes on to talk about worship and discussed the issue of where to worship as this was a part of the contention between the Jews and Samaritans. Jesus explained that it will no longer matter where she worships. True worshippers will worship God the Father in spirit and truth as God is Spirit.
Wheels were turning in my head. I remembered Jesus talking to Nicodemus about being born again and in order to do so we have to be born of the Spirit. In order to worship God in spirit and truth, we have to be born of the Spirit.
The woman said I know the Messiah is coming, the Christ and when He comes, He will explain everything.
Jesus tells her – “I AM the Messiah.”
The disciples showed up and were shocked to find Jesus talking to a woman and a Samaritan woman at that. None of them though had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her or why were you talking to her.”
The woman left her jar beside the well and ran back to the village telling every “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So, the people came streaming in from the village to see Him. Many of them believed in Jesus because of what the woman said. They begged Him to stay in the village, so Jesus agreed to stay for two more days. Many more people in the village heard the message and believed. They realised that Jesus was indeed the Saviour of the world.
For further study:
John 4:1-20, 39-42