Summary: The story of Jesus' encounter with the nameless Samaritan woman at the well continues to teach that Jesus was fully Divine and Fully Human, and the Living Water from Heaven.
A Nameless Woman Meets the Messiah (John 4:1-15)
God’s Divine Providential plan! I am always amazed with the way that God ordains things and in His Will He fits all the pieces together. I don’t believe in coincidences: In chapter 3, Nicodemus, a powerful respected, Jewish trained theologian, a ruler and aristocrat comes to Jesus under the cover of night to secretly meet with Jesus. He comes with certain expectations but leaves having heard quite another story.
In chapter 4, Jesus’ weariness and thirst provided a Divine Appointment with an “unclean”, unnamed, uneducated Samaritan woman, with a despised reputation and without influence, who meets the up and rising Jewish teacher, Jesus, in broad daylight at a well with a history as old as Israel itself, having been used by Jacob and his family 2000 years before. (Incidentally, you can still travel to this well for a drink today!)
Listen to the story in John 4:1-15: Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. (Samaria lies between Judea at its south and Galilee on its north.) 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. (If John is using a Jewish time, this would be noon; if he is using Roman time it would be 6PM.) 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."
11 The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock." 13 Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." 15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water."
The meeting time, place, and person were improbable “coincidences”. Women normally came together to gather water early in the morning not in the heat of the day or in the evenings. Travelers often carried an empty pot or skin of some sort to draw water, but Jesus did not. Jesus most likely could have acquired water along with His disciples in the town where they went to buy food, but He did not because, as the text tells us, “he was wearied from the journey.”
In order to reveal Himself to this woman, Jesus goes into enemy territory. He travelled straight through territory where he knew that Jews were not welcomed and He spoke to a woman who was considered “unclean” and asks her to share her unclean water pot with Him. How often have you risked the safety of your own comfort zone in order to provide a “divine GOSPEL appointment” for someone who needs Jesus? Jesus meets with all sorts of people in all sorts of social, economic situations and conditions and any appointment with Jesus is a “Divine” meeting. He works through us today through those unique opportunities to reveal the Savior: powerful points of God’s providence, working through us as messengers of His Love and grace according to His Kingdom purposes!
Jesus, the weary traveler
John’s account of the story portrays Jesus as a weary traveler. Jesus was beyond thirsty; living in an arid climate and traveling along hot dusty roads WITHOUT water can soon cause exhaustion. You may remember that John’s main theme is that Jesus is Divine, that He is fully God, but here John demonstrates that Jesus was also fully human, becoming weary from the heat and tired from traveling the hot dusty roads.