Jesus stopped at Jacob’s Well located at Sychar while traveling through Samaria on His way from Judea to Galilee (John 4:1-42 NIV). He was tired and thirsty. It was about noon, and His disciples had gone into town for food. When a Samaritan woman came by to draw water from the well, Jesus asked if she would give Him a drink. At first she questioned His intentions, since it was not the custom of Jews to interact with Samaritans. Jesus simply stated that if she knew who she was speaking with, she would have asked Him for a drink of water; and He would have given her Living Water.
Jesus the Sower:
Most people have heard this story, but many only remember about the sins of the woman, since she admitted to Jesus that she currently had no husband, but had been married a total of five times. But this story is really about how Jesus worked His ministry here on earth. It is about sowing the seeds of Truth, and reaping a harvest of souls. The divine appointment between the woman and the Holy Son of God at Jacob’s Well was just the opportunity Jesus used to sow His Good News to a whole town of Samaritan residents . Jesus already knew about the marital history of this woman. She confessed that what Jesus said about her was true, and He agreed with her honesty about it. She recognized Jesus as a prophet but her reaction was doubt. She evaded the topic of Living Water that He introduced. Realizing that He knew personal details of her life may have made her uncomfortable or distrustful of how those facts played into the mysterious Living Water topic Jesus mentioned. Instead of being immediately receptive to His Word, she changed the subject to a long standing controversial religious topic .
“20Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem. “
Jesus patiently explained that neither place is a valid location for true worship any longer. She must have been shocked when Jesus said,
“23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Jesus had just made an earth-changing prophetic statement, and she blew it off. Of all things! A prophet who sounds like a false teacher! – One who speaks with authority claiming the only acceptable worship to God is something called “worship in the Spirit and 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, the one speaking to you – I am He.”
Whereupon the disciples returned with lunch, and the woman made her hasty escape; leaving her water jar at the well. She missed the most perfect opportunity of a lifetime to ask important questions of the True Messiah, for He had just told her, in effect: “You are speaking to Him. What would you like for Me to explain?” Instead of receiving His teaching right then and there (perhaps intimidated by the arrival of the Jewish disciples), she dropped everything and ran straight into town. She spread the news that a prophet had just arrived at Jacob’s Well claiming to be the promised Messiah; and convinced the town folk to follow her back to the well for further investigation into the matter.
39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
It sounds like they only believed that he was a prophet of God, however. Jesus stayed two days at Sychar at the invitation of the Samaritans in order to teach them the Truth about Himself – That He IS The Living Water.
Jesus the Reaper of the Harvest:
41And because of His words many more became believers. 42They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
See, the woman only spread the news that a convincing prophet was traveling by, and asked the townspeople to investigate as to whether he might be the promised Messiah. “Is not this the Christ?” she asked of them. I have to believe, as do many Bible scholars, that the Samaritan woman truly accepted Jesus as her Savior Messiah at some point during His visit to her town. The scripture account does not specifically say either way, but she did testify of Jesus to others, and because she blew the shofar, so to speak, many became believers. Aside from John the Baptist, she is known as one of the first or possibly the first witness for Jesus as the Messiah. Her example for spreading the news of His arrival has been told for centuries. This story of a woman who took immediate action and verbally testified of her meeting Jesus, has inspired thousands of believers to share that Jesus is the Messiah.
I am not surprised that many more believed that Jesus was the Messiah than the first bunch of “prophet followers” after the whole town heard His complete teaching on Living Water. That was His true purpose for stopping in Sychar and asking a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. He used the woman to announce His coming into the town. He wanted to give a drink of Living Water to as many as would believe more than He wanted to be given a drink of well water.
Through Personal Testimony:
In verse 37, while the woman was heralding the town for a trip back to the well to confront Jesus about who He was; Jesus had just spent his lunch teaching His disciples about the truthful saying, “One sows and another reaps”. Yet Jesus was not only the Sower in this story, but He was also the Reaper of the harvest. Here is a wonderful example of Christ’s zeal for serving the Father. He did the Father’s work, and did it with perfect completion. He gave His own personal testimony to the world. He planted. He taught the Truth. Before He left town after a two day visit, He reaped a big harvest for God’s kingdom. Jesus showed us that personal testimony is crucial to sharing the Good News of His Gospel. Throughout His ministry He taught new believers to give personal witness to His works of healings, miracles, signs and wonders; so that many more would believe. HALLELUJAH – PRAISE HIM FOREVER MORE!!!
Sharing the Good News:
Have you believed in Jesus, The Living Water? If not, I encourage you to trust Jesus with all your heart now, for today is the joyful day of salvation. Here is a helpful link:
The Eastern Orthodox Church tradition about the Samaritan woman at the well is found at wikipedia.com under Interpretations. The traditions tell of her faith, baptism, persecution, and martyrdom. Interesting stuff.