Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman
1The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?”
13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
25The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”
Today we are reading John 4:1-26 where we see Jesus traveling through Samaria in order to reach Galilee. Now most Jews did not take the direct route from Judea to Galilee because Samaritans (Jews who had mixed with many other nationalities) were considered unclean. Therefore, most Jews went out of their way to avoid going through Samaria. Jesus, however, was not like most Jews.
Jesus was traveling through Samaria around noon, it was hot, and He stopped at a well for water. A woman was drawing water from Jacob’s Well, and Jesus asked her for a drink. She was immediately taken aback because Jews did not mix with Samaritans. Not only did Jesus ask the woman for a drink, he relayed her life’s story to her and then offered her a drink of living water.
There is something wonderful in the term “living water.” Have you ever been around a pool of stagnant water? If not, let me tell you what lurks there.
- The surface of the water is not clear, but instead is covered with a film and in that film are the bodies of insects who, after drinking of the water, die.
- Flies lay nests of eggs in stagnant water
- Bacteria grows in stagnant water
- There is often times an unpleasant odor emanating from stagnant water.
Conversely, living water has these characteristics:
- The surface shimmers with the reflection of the sky, trees, clouds.
- The water runs somewhere, and there is a source of fresh water
- Life grows in these living waters
- The waters are sweet to the smell and to the taste
Jesus told this woman that the place she worshipped did not matter, but the way she worshipped did, indeed, matter. He said she, and indeed all people, are to worship God in spirit and in truth. The Samaritans claimed the God of Joseph as their own, but in actuality worshipped an assortment of gods based upon all of the cultures into which they had married. Jesus made a revelation to this woman that had as yet been unspoken, even to His disciples. He said He was the Messiah upon whom the world had waited.
Do you know how huge this is? First he explains that with physical water, thirst always reappears. But the living water of the Spirit of God is self-replenishing and as long as we dip our cups into that water we will be renewed. The next big thing that happens is that this woman, weighed down by her sins, saw Jesus for who He was, and asked to be given these living waters. Then Jesus admits to being the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Jesus had always spoken in parables to prevent those outside of his realm of followers from knowing His identity lest His time be cut short, but here, in plain language, He admits that He is the Messiah.
Have you partaken of the living waters offered through the Holy Spirit or are you still trying to satisfy yourself with things of the world, things that hold no lasting pleasure, things procured not through the Spirit of the Living God but through your own endeavors? If so, I urge you to dip your cup into the Living Waters. Let Jesus satisfy your needs and your longings that you might, at long last, be saved.
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