He’d been traveling all morning heading back to Galilee. It was hot. The road was dusty. He felt a prompting to pass through Samaria. This was a bold move as it’s an area that Jews avoided as Samaritans were considered unclean. Exhausted, he sat by a well. He wiped his forehead, squinting from the glare of the sun. It was high noon. His disciples shuffled off to buy food. Then along comes a woman to fill her water jar.
Women in her time drew water in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. Perhaps trying to avoid contact with her peers because of her checkered past, or perhaps because she was looking for love in all the wrong places, she went to the well at noon. Jesus, breaking all social rules of engagement, starts chatting with her.
“Give me a drink,” Jesus says. Shocked, she responds that Jews and Samaritans don’t share things – certainly not well water. Not to mention that if Jesus drinks from her water jar, he’ll be ceremonially unclean. Jesus is after something far more important than water.
Jesus leans toward her and says, “If you knew who I was you’d be asking me for living water.” Confused, she missed the metaphor. Continuing, Jesus gestures toward the well and says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Again, missing the metaphor, she asks for this mysterious water so she doesn’t have to come to the well all the time. Gently, Jesus tells her to…
“Go, call your husband and come back.”
Curtly, she said, “I have no husband,” hoping to end the conversation.
Jesus said to her, “I know. You have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”
It quickly dawns on the woman that this conversation was never about water. And that this was no ordinary man. This was a prophet, but there was more. He knew everything about her questionable past; yet, he spoke with love and grace and warmth. That he spoke to her at all was amazing! His manner pierced her heart, touched her soul, stirred that deep longing we all have to be loved, completely.
“Is this the Messiah? Is this the long-awaited King of kings everyone’s been hoping for?,” she wondered. Jesus smiled. Then he revealed who he is. He didn’t have to hide it like he had to in Jerusalem, where they would force him to be king, or kill him for saying such things. Raising his eyes, he looked at her and calmly said, “I am he.”
Unsettled and startled by the returning disciples, she left her water jars, and ran back to her village with a simple testimony. “Come see this man who told me everything I ever did! Is this the Messiah?”
As we all do (whether with work, money, academia, success, or relationships), this woman had gone to the well of relationships repeatedly only to have them dry up and disappoint. Then she encountered Jesus – she got to know him, just a little bit. He loved her completely. His love had an instant impact on her.
Her simple testimony (“He told me everything I ever did.”) drew many in her town to discover the Savior of the world. She was no longer hiding from people – she was openly sharing about her life and helping others discover Jesus.
Along came a woman whose life was dry. Then she meets Jesus, and a spring of living water overflowed from her heart.
Thanks for reading,
(Adapted from John 4 – NIV, ESV, as well as a Tim Keller sermon)
Woman At The Well (A Modern Dialogue)