Jesus and the Woman at the Well


In John 4, a very unique event takes place in Jesus’ ministry.  While passing through Samaria to go to Galilee, the Apostles go into town to get food.  What follows is as powerful a story of the life, bread, water, blood, and ministry of Jesus that is recorded in the gospels. 

I remember some years ago seeing a modern-day drama depicting this woman’s encounter with Christ, and it was powerful to say the least.  The thing is, ya gotta read between the lines to get the whole story.  Beginning in verse 15, the woman bites the hook Jesus puts out there in front of her.  “Sir, give me this water (living water) so I will not be thirsty or come all the way here to draw.”

So the response by Jesus?  “go get your husband, and come here.”  What?  Has this guy been a fly on my wall or something?  There’s no telling what she might have thought.  You have to pause here… I wonder what the time span was before she answered him with, “I don’t have a husband.”  Even in the Samaritan standards, this woman had apparently lived an extremely immoral lifestyle.  She’s had 5 husbands?  I wonder how immoral she was – having disappointed 5 men enough to be divorced.  And now – the man she’s with is not her husband either.  We’re not told about it… but I would guess that this woman had not ONLY had 6 men in her life.

How did the people look at her in town?  How would she have been regarded by her peers?  When she walked up to a store window (indulge me here), and a family of 4 was there looking at the goods window-shopping, how might the family have treated her?  My mind’s eye imagines a father wrapping his arms around his children and his wife by the shoulder and quickly scurrying off so as not to be seen with such a woman.  But Jesus… offers her living water. LIVING WATER!  What in the world would that be…

This is NOT about marriage, divorce, and re-marriage.  This is about a woman at the end of her rope, in need of something she can’t get anywhere else.  Immoral?  Absolutely… but she has faith to some level.  And she declares, “I know Messiah is coming…”  Why would she just randomly bring that up?  Had this man shown her that he could be the one?  Jesus offers her enough evidence in his speech (and he plainly states that he IS) to convince her that He IS Messiah.

In verse 39, the text clearly says, “many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman…”  While we could finish the story and talk about the belief of others here, the greatest point to me is that this woman had apparently changed!  How else would “many of the Samaritans” believe because of her?  Jesus brought living water to this woman, and she changed.  How could she not?  After spending time with the Master, experiencing his boldness, kindness, his very existence – she would undoubtedly have no choice but to quit the awful life she had chosen to live.  That is what encounters with the Christ are about!  May God bless us with encounters with Christ ourselves, and give others simple reasons to believe in Him!

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5 thoughts on “Jesus and the Woman at the Well

  1. this passage in the bible shows that no one is too far gone in sin to be saved by Jesus. God’s mercy has no limits, His love no boundaries, His desire that we come to Him is forever.

    Thanks be to the Lord God Almighty. I love Him.

  2. This passage does relate to marriage and divorce. There are many who say that only one marriage is a marriage and that divorce and remarriage does NOT end the first marriage. Jesus said (Matthew 19:9) that for a man to divorce his wife is cause for her adultery and his and those who believe that there is only one marriage use this as a proof text. They say it is adultery because “man’s” divorce does not end a marriage. However, Messiah did NOT say to the woman that she had ONE husband. He said she had had five husbands. This truly means that each one to whom she was married was as much as husband as the first.
    To those whose spouse has divorced them, specifically in this day when 2/3’s of all divorces are initiated by women, for a man wrongfully divorced and wondering if he is right to remarry I say yes. Yes if he is lead of the Lord. Yes if he commits his ways to live in righteousness. (Please note: I am assuming the man was innocent in the divorce and that the problems which caused his wife to divorce were her problems. In other words he was a man of good character and obedient. If his behavior was such that his wife felt compelled (he was an adulterer, abuser, etc.) such that unless he changed she would leave IF he remarried then he would be carrying his problems into another marriage.)

  3. Drew, this is one of many instances in the Gospels of the radical change which Christ makes in a life. I think also of the demoniac of Gadara. If ever a man would have a team of psychologists working his case, he would be one. Once Christ changed him, he was in his right mind.

    Excellent post. Write on, brother.

  4. This shows that Jesus does not show favortism at all. Every person is a soul. We really need to be act like Jesus in this day and time. It makes me ask myself who the “woman at the well” is in my life. We all need to take a step back and have an out-of-body experience and stop even letting a thought of judgement run through our minds and just see the soul and see the need.

  5. This most certainly applies to James 2. For many of us, this would be a huge cause for favoritism towards this woman – we would look to get away from her and find someone “less sinful” to be seen with. But Jesus ignores the woman’s past and offers her God’s gift, not showing a lick of favoritism. And really, are we not all sinners? Just because this woman has made mistakes does not mean that we can judge and decide our sins “are not as bad” as hers, making us unfit to be seen around such a person. We are just as guilty in our sin and God does not show favoritism to us.

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