The Woman, the Well, and the Water of Life

The Woman, the Well, and the Water of Life

Last month we talked about the outcasts in our lives and how to reach out to them. Today we journey with Jesus to the Samarian town of Sychar where he engages a Samarian woman, an outcast of her town. Read the following piece (John 4:5-30, ESV) slowly and take some time to think over its deeper meanings. Keep in mind that Jesus likes to overturn social norms to get people thinking differently about their lives.

So he [Jesus] came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, 

“Give me a drink.” 

(For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him,

“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?”

(For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, 

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 

The woman said to him,

“Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 

Jesus said to her, 

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him,

“Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, 

“Go, call your husband, and come here.” 

The woman answered him,

I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, 

“You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”

The woman said to him,

“Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”

Jesus said to her, 

“Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

The woman said to him,

“I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.”

Jesus said to her, 

“I who speak to you am he.”

Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 

“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 

They went out of the town and were coming to him…

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony,

“He told me all that I ever did.” 

Dig Deeper

Write down any questions or comments you think of. What sticks out to you in this story?

1.  The sixth hour is about noon, in the heat of the day. Normally women would draw water closer to dawn or dusk. Why do you think the Samaritan woman came to draw water when no one else was there?

2. How does Jesus respond to the woman’s harsh comments?

3. What effect do his responses have on her?

4. What is the main point of everything Jesus says to the woman?

5. Do you notice any change in the woman’s behavior at the end of the story compared to the beginning?

6. What is the result of the woman’s boldness in going to her town with news of who Jesus is?

The woman at the well has lived with six men, probably been heartbroken and abused and cast away many times, filled with shame and hurt and regret and the pain of rejection and self-hatred. She’s bitter and sarcastic and prideful towards Jesus. But in His gentleness, He sees her for who she truly is, His child and creation, loved more deeply than she could ever understand. When he speaks to her it is in love, respect, and kindness that she is taken aback by. 

Jesus isn’t afraid of brokenness. He doesn’t shy away from awkward conversations about the Gospel. He overlooks offenses, responds instead of reacts, and sees her broken heart. He lives in a continual state of forgiveness. Jesus is the ultimate friend.

Spend some time with God asking him what he wants you to take from this story. Ask him to fill you with compassion, patience, and love for others.

Copyright © 2024, Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center. All Rights Reserved