Jesus And The Woman At The Well

By Harrison Woodard

The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming–the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!” — John 4:25-26 NLT

Based on John 4:1-43

For years there were whispers about the woman in the village of Sychar. After five marriages, she was now living with another man that was not her husband, and that was a bit of a scandal. She was a Samaritan, a people descended from marriages between Jews and foreigners that had settled in the area. There was a deep division between the Jews and the Samaritans. Jews would routinely travel around Samaria rather than through it.

To avoid the daily gossip, this Samaritan woman would go to Jacob’s well in the heat of the day to fill her water pot alone. She wanted to be accepted into her community, but her life had been full of rejection, and that weighed heavily on her self-esteem.

On this day there was a Jewish man sitting by the well. This was highly unusual. As the woman began drawing water, the man spoke to her.

Jesus And The Woman At The Well

“If you knew who was speaking to you, and the gift God has for you, you would ask me for living water.”

“Please give me a drink,” asked Jesus.

Astonished that a Jew, much less a man would even speak to her, she responded, “I am a Samaritan and you are a Jew. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus answered, “If you knew who was speaking to you, and the gift God has for you, you would ask me for living water.”

Curious, she asked, “The well is deep and you have nothing to draw water from it. Where would you get this living water? Our ancestor Jacob gave us this well. Are you suggesting that you can provide better water than he provided?”

Her mind was still on earthly things, while Jesus was talking about Spiritual things.

“People who drink this water will thirst again. The water I give is eternal, and those that drink it will never be thirsty,” explained Jesus.

Intrigued by this notion of living water she asked, “Give me this water and I will never have to come to this well again.”

She was still misunderstanding what Jesus was offering. But he was patient. Jesus needed her to look beyond the natural and realize that he was talking about something much greater than water.

“Go call your husband and come back,” said Jesus.

This was a difficult question that probed a little too deep into her life. Up to this point, their banter had been interesting. Now it was stirring some difficult emotions inside.

“I have no husband,” she said bluntly.

It was a shrewd answer that was both true and painful for the woman to admit.

“What you said is true. You have had five husbands,” explained Jesus. “And the man you live with currently is not your husband.”

Jesus, by the spirit of discernment, understood this woman completely. This was not a condemnation of her past. It was recognition of her deepest need. She needed true love in her life that can only come through Jesus.

“You are a prophet!” she exclaimed.

Instead of talking more about her personal needs, she starts a theological discussion about worshiping in Jerusalem versus their place of worship on Mount Gerizim. Her questions revealed a deep interest in God, and a desire to know Him better.

Jesus gently guided her back to what is most important, “Its time to worship God the way He really wants it, in Spirit and Truth. The location will not matter.”

She boldly confessed, “I know the Messiah is coming. And he will explain everything to us!”

And in a rare admission of who he really is, Jesus said, “I am the Messiah.”

This was a wonderful revelation that she had to share. She left her water pot and ran to her village announcing to everyone she saw,

“Come see the man that knows everything about my life. Is he not the Messiah?”

Meanwhile, Jesus’ disciples returned with the food they had bought and were a little surprised to see him talking to a Samaritan woman. After she left, they urged Jesus to eat.

“I am nourished by doing God’s will. Look all around you. The harvest is ready,” said Jesus.

The harvest was truly ready. Many Samaritans believed because of the woman’s testimony, and a great crowd followed her back to Jesus. They were hungry to hear his words and asked him to stay with them. Jesus stayed there teaching for two days.

And even more believed in Jesus after hearing his Words in person.



Some Things To Think About

Jesus always did his Father’s will. So it is not surprising that in John 4:4 it reads that he HAD to go through Samaria. His visit with this Samaritan woman was a divine appointment. There is nothing coincidental with God. The harvest was ready in her village and she was going to be the spark. Note her confession that she KNOWS the Messiah is coming, and that he will explain everything. That statement is not something that comes out unless she had been expecting and/or praying about his arrival. She may have not been an expert on theology, but she knew someone was coming that would be. And, she was expecting him to come. When she finally meets Jesus, recognizes him as the Messiah, she immediately shares the Good News with her entire village. The village received her testimony joyfully, and they desired to spend as much time as possible with their Savior. Compare this passage with other events in Jesus life, such as the man possessed by Legion (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-21; Luke 8:26-39). After Jesus cast out the demons that possessed the man, the nearby villagers simply wanted Jesus to leave immediately. Here in Samaria they desired him to stay, and Jesus remained there two whole days teaching. Whenever Jesus finds hungry people, he feeds them. And no matter where you may find yourself, from the darkest, most evil corner of the globe, to the most spiritually dead church on the planet, if you are hungry and thirsty for God, He will quench your thirst and satisfy your hunger. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you just like the Samaritan woman. (Isaiah 44:3, 55:1-5; Matthew 5:1-16; John 6:22-58, 7:37-39; James 4:7-10)

The text doesn’t say whether her husbands died, or that they divorced her. There is no reason to believe she was a prostitute, or any more immoral than any other person in her village. Based on the willingness of the villagers to heed her invitation to meet Jesus, it would seem that she was not a complete outcast, and/or they saw a dramatic change in her personality from the few moments with Jesus. When I read this story, I see a woman desperate for love and commitment. Going through five marriages, regardless of how they ended, cannot be pleasant for anyone. A failed marriage can trigger feelings of failure, lack of confidence, loneliness, and in really bad situations, even thoughts of suicide. Having so many failed marriages can only make it worse. What I love about this story is that it shows once again that no matter where you are in life, no matter what you have done, no matter what kind of failure you are by the world’s standards, God can change you. He can wipe those sins away and forget them. He can recreate you, giving you a brand new reborn spirit. And anything that was stolen, he will restore abundantly. This woman was living an unpleasant and unspectacular life before she met Jesus. And after a few moments with him, she was instrumental in getting her entire village to experience God’s love. When you are Born Again, and you really start to believe that God loves you just as much as He does Jesus, then love should start flowing to others, along with all the Spiritual gifts and fruit of the spirit. We can catch a glimpse of this change in the actions of the woman at the well. (1 Samuel 2:8; Job 42:10-17; Psalm 103; Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 3:1-21, 10:10; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Galatians 5:22-26)

You can sense the shame in the woman’s words, “I have no husband.” Surely, this was a point of contention for years. The numerous marriages, and now living with a man that was not her husband, was not something easily hidden from her neighbors. But God knew everything about her – and loved her. Too often people want to run away from God. Interestingly, in the Garden after they disobeyed God, Adam and Eve’s first decision as fallen humans was to attempt to hide from their Creator! That is why God detests sin so much, it separates you from Love Himself. Now that Jesus paid the price for everyone on the cross, even when you miss it, you have an advocate that is on the job pleading your case – and always winning! You can run to God and enjoy His mercy, and restoration of fellowship with your Heavenly Father that is broken by sin. Note the woman’s personality change after she realized that she had nothing to hide. She was free to be what God intended her to be. Get your eyes off your problems and your past, and keep them always on Jesus. And Love will do the same for you. And finally, there is no fear or shame in Love. God is an expert at taking the world’s failures – murderers (Saul/Paul), widows (Ruth), deceivers (Jacob), slaves (Joseph), and the insignificant (Gideon, David), and transforming their lives into something magnificent. (Genesis 3; Psalm 147:11; Isaiah 64:8; John 14; 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; Hebrews 4:12-16; 1 John 4:7-19)



Faith Building Exercise

Faith comes by continually hearing God’s Word. When you confess (speak) God’s Word out loud you are planting God’s incorruptible seed in your heart (spirit). In time, God’s Word will take root in your spirit (heart) and produce a plentiful harvest of all God’s blessings and promises in your life.

Confess these out loud every day until you believe them in your spirit. They will build your faith. Look up these verses and read them as they appear in your Bible. You can always trust God’s Word because He cannot lie.


I am made in God’s image. He knows me intimately and loves me.
(Genesis 1:26; Deuteronomy 23:5; Psalm 23, 139:17; John 15:13)

God gives me the desires of my heart and the requests of my lips.
(Psalm 21:2)

I am confident I will see the goodness of the LORD in this life.
(Psalm 27:13)

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. Even in darkness, I cannot hide from you. You saw me before I was born. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! When I wake up, you are still with me! Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
(From Psalm 139)

I pursue righteousness and love, and find life, prosperity, and honor.
(Proverbs 21:21)

I am willing and obedient, and eat the best from the land.
(Isaiah 1:19)

I listen carefully to God and enjoy His abundance.
(Isaiah 55:2)

God SO loved me, that He gave me Jesus. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate me from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither my fears for today nor my worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate me from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate me from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus MY Lord.
(John 3:16; Romans 8:38-39)

I cast all my anxiety, cares, and worries on God because He cares for me.
(1 Peter 5:7)

I confess Jesus is the Son of God and I have God living in me. I know how much God loves me and I completely trust His love.
(1 John 4:15-16)


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