Jesus was travelling through Samaria with his disciples. While his disciples went into the city to buy something to eat, Jesus sat down at the well. A woman came to draw water.
Jesus surprised the woman by asking her for something to drink. This was surprising to the woman for two reasons. First, this man was speaking to her, a woman, in public – that just wasn’t done. And secondly, this man was a Jew and she was a Samaritan – Jews did not have time for Samaritans. So she asked him, “How can you – a Jew – ask me, a Samaritan woman, for water to drink?” (John 4:9 NET).
Jesus reply also surprised her. “If you had known the gift of God and who it is who said to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). This surprised the woman because the man obviously had no way to get water from the well because it was very deep – surely he wasn’t claiming to be greater than Jacob, who had dug the well!
Jesus then explained that his water was different: his water would give eternal life! That sounded too good to be true! “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water” (John 4:13-15).
Jesus then told her to call her husband. When she replied that she had no husband, Jesus proceeded to relate her history: she had been married five times, and the man she was living with wasn’t her husband. Again, she was surprised!
Then it came to her: this man must be a prophet! Quickly changing subject from herself, she asked a question that seems to have been a point of debate between Samaritans and Jews: where is the correct place to worship, on the mountain in Samaria or in Jerusalem? Jesus response, I am sure, gave her another surprise: the time is coming when neither place will be the one place to worship, although the Jews were correct at that time. The time was coming when true worshipers would worship in spirit and truth – this is the type of worshiper the Father desires.
The next response was revealing. “The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (the one called Christ); ‘whenever he comes, he will tell us everything.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I, the one speaking to you, am he’” (John 4:25-26). The woman ran back to the town, leaving her water jar behind, to tell people to come and meet this man: “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Surely he can’t be the Messiah, can he?” (John 4:29).
What is our reaction to Jesus? Are we like the woman who initially just thought he was a man? Or do we credit him at least with being a prophet? Or, because of all that he said and did, do we realize that he is indeed the promised Messiah?
“Now many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the report of the woman who testified, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they began asking him to stay with them. He stayed there two days, and because of his word many more believed” (John 4:39-41).
When we believe that we have found the Messiah, like Andrew (John 1) and the Samaritan woman (John 4), we won’t be able to keep quiet but will have to tell others.
Let us always be proclaimers of the good news of Jesus!
Readings for next week:
17 October – John 6:1-40
18 October – John 6:41-71
19 October – John 7:1-24
20 October – John 7:25-53
21 October – John 8:1-30