Christian Fellowship 1996-07-01 - The Woman at the Well

Jesus and his disciples came to the town of Sychar, where Jacob's Well was. The disciples went into town to buy food. And Jesus stayed behind at the well.

JOHN 4:7-42 (NIV): [selected verses]

[7] When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her: "Will you give me a drink?" ... ... The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?"

Jews never associated with Samaritans, who they thought were unclean, and who considered to worship God in an unacceptable manner. Samaritans were well aware of these things and were probably accustomed to rejection; expecting it, to them, it was a fact of life.

[10] Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

Jesus was not asking for water because He was thirsty; He refuses to eat the food His disciples bring back. Jesus intentionally engaged this woman in a conversation, and is steering it and her toward the Living Water.

[11] "Sir", the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

She has an awareness of her heritage, considers Jacob her father, and wants to know if Jesus is a greater man of God than Jacob.

[13] Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I 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 won't get thirsty and have to keep coming her to get water."

[19] "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

She wants to know: "Who is right? Where should we worship?" because she has a Prophet "right here" and considers that if anyone can settle the matter, a Prophet can. What's more, the Prophet is on the mountain with her and not in Jerusalem, "maybe", she thinks, "we are right after all..."

[21] Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship him in Spirit and in Truth.

Jesus is not only telling her who was right, but answering her deeper need, revealing the worship the Father greatly desires.

[25] The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

Jesus is speaking to this woman because she, and her people, were waiting for Messiah, and believing that he would explain everything to them. The Jews who should have been earnestly waiting for him weren't, but the Samaritans were, despite their ignorance of the Law. Jesus, who didn't outrightly declare to the Jews that He was the Messiah, does so to the Samaritans.

[28] Then leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

She doesn't get just her "husband;" she gets the whole town! Looks like they all went to see if indeed the Messiah that they were waiting for had come.

[31] Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something." But he said to them, "I have food you know nothing about." Then his disciples said to each other, "could someone have brought him food?" "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish His work."

[39] Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They 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 is the Savior of the world."

Here is the fruit of what Jesus taught them, they received Him as the Messiah. Jerusalem the city of the King rejected and was soon to totally reject its King, but Sychar, a city of Samaria, welcomed Jesus as the Messiah. Because they were expectant, they had a revelation from somewhere that the Messiah was coming, and that He would be the one to set all things straight. Jesus, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, intentionally strikes up a conversation with an adulteress and tells her "I am the Messiah you are looking for." The disciples go into the town and don't tell anyone about this Jesus they are with. And what fertile ground the town was -- they were ripe for the harvest. All it took was the testimony of an adulteress and WHAM they were on their way to the well to see Jesus, many already believing in him because of nothing more than her testimony. Its too bad the Jews were too "clean" to associate with the Samaritans; perhaps they could have brought these lost sheep back to the house of Go. Maybe if they had been ministers of mercy, all would have been waiting for Messiah together.

I think there is a lesson here for many of us: Never look down on anyone that we think has less light than we do. These Samaritans didn't even know where to Worship God, but they did know what to expect from Him, and their trust that the Messiah would come, and that when he did He would explain all the stuff they didn't understand, caused God to divert His ministry to Judah for 2 days. Jesus spent 2 days with them, explaining, no doubt, the many things they needed to know. In fact He started with the woman at the well. We should expect to see massive moves of God in the denominations that have lost some of the truth of the Word. There maybe whole congregations in them that are more eager to receive the deeper things that God will restore to His Church in these last days, than in many of the more "enlightened" denominations. God looks on a person's heart, not at his membership card. As the Word says "Knowledge Puffs Up, but Love Builds up!" And, as we know, "Faith Worketh By Love."

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All verses are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.

CFD | July 1996 | Yesterday's Devotion | Devotional Topics