I have committed to writing a weekly blog for Jesus Wept Ministries. As with anything in life, it takes commitment to not only conceive thoughts, but to follow through by crystallizing thoughts into words and actions. This week I was wondering if I would run out of topics for the future. It was just a passing thought, because I immediately reminded myself that I honestly seek the Lord for topics to write about and His well NEVER runs dry. That thought led me to do a study on wells, and particularly the Samaritan woman who spoke with Jesus at Jacob’s well.
In Biblical times water and bread were symbols of life-sustaining elements. A neighborhood well had great value and was the source for everyone in the community to draw from each day to meet their families need. How often do we go about our daily chores in a ritualistic manner not expecting our lives to be irrevocably changed by a divine encounter? This is exactly what happened to one particular lady from Samaria.
The circumstances that were about to unfold in this woman’s life occurred because Jesus left Judea and had to pass through Samaria on his Spirit directed journey. He and his disciples had been walking on foot for some time, and Jesus was “wearied in his journey”. (John 4:6). Scripture goes on to say that it was the 6th hour of the day which is 12:00 noon. This was the common time of the Jewish meal, and this was possibly the reason why his disciples were gone away to the city to buy meat. (John 4:8).
Now the Samaritans were a mixed race of people – part Jewish and part foreign. The Jews had pride in their lineage and, because of the mingled blood line, considered the Samaritans a half-breed people and were shunned. It was significant that Jesus planned his trip around this encounter with this woman at Jacob’s well. I am sure if the disciples had been there they would have tried to discourage him from even talking to the woman who approached the well with her water jug balanced on her shoulders. Not only was she from Samaria but she was a woman, and the culture of that time did not permit a man alone to strike up a conversation with a woman. God had orchestrated the details of this day, because the woman came to Jacob’s well at an unusual time of the day. Most women drew their water early in the day and probably had to wait in line with their vessels. This woman came at mid-day because, as we will soon discover, she didn’t want to be seen or hear the gossip concerning her from the neighboring women.
Now it is significant that the Lord was weary and thirsty. It is only when we understand the dual nature of the Lord that this event is illuminated. As a man Jesus was exactly like us and got tired and endured the common human needs as all men. But, as we shall see in the telling of this beautiful story, Jesus Christ was both man and God. Jesus was sitting near the well when the woman arrived. In his humanity he was dependent on her, for a moment, to fulfill his need for water. Oh, the unfathomable grace and humility of God that He would leave the glories of heaven and subject Himself to His own creation.
“There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.” (John 4:7)
“Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” (John 4:9)
This woman senses something extraordinary about this solitary man sitting by the well. She was struck by the fact that he spoke to her. He must have looked Jewish or she would not have recognized him as a Jew, and as we shall see her surprise only deepens as Jesus begins to speak to her.
“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” (John 4:10)
I’m sure at this point the woman’s curiosity was more than she could even deal with. This man’s manner was different than anyone she had ever met and she says “Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?” (John 4:11-12) In modern vernacular she is saying “We’ve been drawing from this well for years and how on earth do you have the audacity to say you have a water greater than this water?”
Jesus patiently understands her every thought and says “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (Jn. 4:14) I can only imagine the inner turmoil this woman was going through. This unusual man was talking about something totally beyond her realm of comprehension. Everyone knows that if you drink you will get thirsty again in a little while. And now he is talking about “everlasting life”.
As this woman was processing the gracious words of this man resting before her, she discovered a thirst in her that she had never experienced before and said, “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not neither come hither to draw.” (John 4:15) She probably thought that if she could get some of this “living water” then she wouldn’t have to go through the daily grind of drawing water from the well and supplying her own needs and the needs of others she was serving. We know she wasn’t getting paid for bringing water to others or she wouldn’t want her financial stream to dry up.
“Jesus saith unto her, go call thy husband and come hither.” (v 17) Then the bombshell explodes in her mind as she knows she can not lie to this man and she simply says “I have no husband.” (v.17) Since Jesus, as God in flesh, knew every detail of this woman’s life, including the number of hairs on her head, he responded, “Thou has well said, I have no husband: for thou has had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” This woman was probably the talk of the town and everyone knew her reputation. Again, isn’t our Lord gracious? As He is exposing her sin he commends her for telling the truth.
Now Jesus is talking about more than water and is peering deeply into her soul. She is an intelligent woman and thinks that if she can distract Jesus he will get off the subject. She still has no clue who she is talking to, but she decides to flatter him a little and says, “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” She is probably thinking let’s get the subject off of me and discuss a theological question.
The story unfolds in greater revelation. “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21-24) Jesus answers her question precisely, but makes it clear that the Jews, and not the Samaritans, know what and who they are worshiping. “He came to His own and His own received Him not.” However, he draws her attention to a future time when salvation would go beyond the Jews to anyone who would worship God in Spirit and truth.
Now the scales are falling off this woman’s eyes as she continues her discussion with Jesus. Samaritans believed in the law of Moses, and this woman knew of the prophesied Messiah. “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” (v.25)
With profound simplicity, “Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” (v.26)
Suddenly the disciples appeared, and it is interesting that they were held back by the Spirit from coming sooner. God’s timing is perfect. They were in shock seeing Jesus talking to this woman, but no one dared ask him why he was talking with her. I believe the awesomeness of the presence of the Lord was so thick when the disciples arrived that they knew something momentous had just occurred.
“The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29) One can only imagine the joy that was in this woman’s heart. Jesus had met the deepest longings of her heart, and it is significant that she left her water pot behind. She “laid aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us”. Notice, she did not go to the women, but to the men and proclaimed that the Messiah had indeed come. Her testimony was so powerful that the Apostle John tells us that “many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. ” (v.40) Soon our lady friend returned, with the men from her village, to the well where she met Jesus. Scripture tells us that they began to question Jesus and pleaded with him to stay with them for awhile. Jesus and his disciples stayed there in Samaria two more days.
“And many more believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)
So a Holy Ghost revival broke out right there on the outskirts of Samaria by Jacob’s well. An ordained encounter with a sinful woman ended up in many believing. Those of us who are filled with the Holy Ghost have great testimonies, but we must always take someone to Jesus after sharing our testimony. This woman’s testimony was powerful, but the men of Samaria wanted to know Jesus for themselves and not just on someone else’s word.
If you are ever in the Mesquite, TX area we cordially invite you to Emmanuel Pentecostal Church. I promise you will find Jesus there.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)