The Woman at the Well (John 4:5-26)
When Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, "Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John" He withdrew from Judea in the south and started back to his home in Galilee. Traveling from Jerusalem in the south to Galilee in the north, Jesus and his disciples took the quickest route, through Samaria, the territory north of Judea.
On their way, they came near a Samaritan town called Sychar (mentioned only once in the Bible). They stopped by Jacob's well, about a half mile away and near the plot of ground that held the tomb of Joseph, buried there after the Exodus from Egypt.
The town was near the foot of Mount Gerizim, a holy mountain in ...view middle of the document...
Gerizim, where the Samaritan temple stood. It was about noon, the hottest part of the day, and a Samaritan woman came to the well at this inconvenient time, to draw water.
The Samaritan woman came to draw water at the hottest part of the day, instead of the usual morning or evening times, probably because she was shunned and rejected by the other women of the area for her immorality with having five husbands and living now with a man without being married.
But Jesus knew her history but still accepted her and ministered to her. He asks her for a drink of water from her jar.
Had the disciples been present they would have bargained with the woman for the use of her rope and pitcher; but in their absence Jesus himself asked her for a drink. He met her on the ground of a common humanity, and conceded to her the power of conferring a favor.
In His encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus broke with three Jewish customs: first, he spoke to a woman in public; second, she was a Samaritan woman, a group of Jews despised by the Jews of Judah, and considered heathens by them; and third, Jesus asked her to get him a drink of water, which made him ceremonially unclean by using her jar.
This also shocked the Samaritan woman. "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" This woman knew Jesus was a Jew by his appearance and dress, and she surmised that he was a Galilean Jew from his accent.
Jesus told the woman he could give her "living water" so that she would never thirst again. Jesus used the words living water to refer to eternal life, the gift that would satisfy her soul's desire and only available through him. At first, the Samaritan woman did not fully understand Jesus' meaning.
Jesus uses the water as a metaphor to teach this woman. He speaks about the living water, which gives eternal life, divine grace, or God's life within the soul. The woman craves this type of water, because she wants to have eternal life. But first Jesus has a lengthy but candid dialogue with her. He makes her understand that she needs to confess her sins and change her life before she can obtain this life-giving water — grace.
Although they had never met before, Jesus revealed that he knew she had had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband. Jesus now had her attention!
She makes an effort to avoid discussion of the embarrassing question of her personal life on earth and the status of her soul before God.
As they talked about their two views on worship, the woman voiced her faith that Messiah was coming. Jesus dismisses her claim of worshiping only either on the Samaritan mountain or in Jerusalem.
He delineates Samaritans from Jews, speaking as a Jew, drawing a comparison between the God-created worship of his people and the man-created worship of the Samaritans. Though the Samaritans possessed the Pentateuch, they were without the revelation of God and His...