The Woman of Samaria

Scripture Reading

Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

John 4:29

A drink of water

This week’s scripture reading is like one of those movies that starts with the end and then works back from the beginning. This statement was made when a woman came to draw water from Jacob’s well only to have an encounter with Jesus who had stopped at the well for rest and a drink of water. Upon Jesus asking her for some water to drink her response was likely customary because as she rightly claimed the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans in that culture (John 4:9).  But despite this simple question to Jesus he then responds to her with a most profound statement 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]

The gift of God

With this statement, seekers of faith need to stop right here and take note of what Jesus just said to the woman of Samaria for it says many things. Jesus is stating two things right off the top and the first one is that salvation is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9) and that the person she is talking to is the one who will give her that gift of salvation (and who it is that saith to thee). Another important point to note is that although Jews did not speak with Samaritans, here is Jesus himself speaking not only with a Samaritan but also a woman which was very uncommon in that culture (John 4:27). Getting back to the words of Jesus, this is why he described the gift of God as living water, because he will give eternal life to whosoever believes in him (John 3:16).

Now comes the missing-the-point comment back to Jesus as the woman of Samaria starts telling him that the well is deep and that he does not have anything to draw water out of the well. Therefore, she then asks him how he will get this living water and proceeds to have the audacity to ask this man before him whom she did not know if he was greater than their father Jacob who gave them this well. Jesus responds in a polite manner by contrasting the water in the well merely results in someone having thirst thereafter but now read the water that he will give people in this passage, “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.” [John 4:14] Such profound words Jesus shared with this woman of Samaria by figuratively speaking about his living water as something that will never result in thirst and instead will spring up into everlasting life!

…thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

John 4:10b

Many husbands

With this statement, Jesus now has the attention of the woman of Samaria because she is asking Jesus for this water but quite mistakenly so that she does not have to come back to the well or become thirsty. Then, and rather interestingly, Jesus asks her to go and call her husband and come back but as she admits, she does not have a husband. In fact, as Jesus then states, she has had five husbands and the man she is with is not her husband, meaning she is not in a marriage. Despite her background of many marriages, Jesus acknowledges that she answered correctly by telling her that she has no husband and knew that she had five husbands already. As these facts are acknowledged, the woman of Samaria now realizes that she is not speaking with any ordinary man but says to Jesus that she perceives he is a prophet (John 4:19).

From there, it is quite notable that she then transitions into a question of religious worship by contrasting how the Samaritans worshipped in this mountain in comparison to how the Jews worship in Jerusalem. From this landing point, Jesus then commences upon an intriguing discourse to highlight that the Samaritans do not know what they are worshipping and that the Jews know what they worship for “for salvation is of the Jews.” [John 4:22] But Jesus again does not stop with this point and to remind readers, he is speaking to a stranger, a woman of Samaria, to whom the Jews have no dealings with as part of their culture.

Spirit and truth

Now Jesus embarks on a great message to bring an awareness to the woman about true worship. This starts out by his statement from this passage of scripture, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers 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 4:23-24] This statement brings the profound truth that God is a Spirit and the repetition of worshipping him in spirit and truth is mentioned twice to reinforce this premise. In other words, God is not some man made idol or physical object to worship; rather he is the invisible God that resides in the heavens (Col. 1:15, 1 Tim. 1:17). Further to this the Lord proclaims, “…beside me there is no God.” [Is. 44:6]

After Jesus made these statements to the woman of Samaria, it is questionable whether she comprehended the words which he spoke since her response gave some evidence of this, “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” [John 4:25] And with this, the discourse ended between the woman of Samaria and Jesus. She left her water pot at the well and went into the city to tell people that she met someone who told her everything about her life and said, “is not this the Christ?” [John 4:29] She was indeed onto something with this statement and although Jesus told her that he was the Christ, she was no doubt intrigued with the dialogue that took place with Jesus.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:24

Everlasting water

To close off this study on the woman of Samaria, this would have been an exclusive opportunity for anyone alive to have had a one on one, face to face conversation with the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God. Here was this woman just going through the motions of daily life, drawing water from a well and yet she met the one who would give her everlasting water. Did you know this everlasting water, or rather everlasting life is still available today from the Lord Jesus? It is available for whosoever will come to him and believe on him that he is Christ come in the flesh to save people from their sins. Why not make this decision now to believe in him for eternal life today for you can have this assurance of having your sins forgiven and knowing that no one will be able to take you out of the hands of the Lord (John 10:28).

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

John 10:28

Bible Study Questions

  1. In this study on the woman of Samaria, what is the gift of God as described in the scriptures?
  2. Who is the one who will give the gift of God to whosever believes on him?
  3. Why do you think Jesus highlighted the fact that the woman of Samaria had five husbands?
  4. Fill in the blanks from this verse, “The woman saith unto him, I know that _________ cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us __________ things.”
  5. In John 4:24, it describes God as (a) a human, (b) a spirit or (c) an angel? Hint John 4:24
  6. True or false, after the woman of Samaria spoke to Jesus she left her water pot and went into the city to tell the men that she met someone who could be the Christ. Hint John 4:29
  7. If you made the decision to come to Jesus and believe in him for eternal life, please consider sharing this study within someone you love.

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