Summary: A sermon about the first non-Jewish Evangelist in Samaria.
“Look How She’s Changed”
By: Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport
Samaria was a region located between Galilee to the North and Judea to the south.
In Jesus’ day, Jews would try to avoid going through Samaria--by going around it.
You see, the Jews and the Samaritans didn’t get along very well.
The Samaritans were a mixed race, and the Jews--keeping with their purity system
considered Samaritans impure.
The Samaritans, on the other hand, refused to accept the Temple of Jerusalem as their
Temple, they helped the kings of Syria in the wars against the Jews, and around the time Jesus
was born, some Samaritans profaned the Temple in Jerusalem by leaving human bones in
After that, the Samaritans were prohibited from entering the Temple.
There were also religious differences between the Jews and the Samaritans.
For example, the Samaritans only accepted the first five books of Moses as Holy
Scripture, so the Messiah they were looking for was quite a bit different than the one the
Jews were looking for.
The Jews were looking for a nationalistic Messiah, while the Samaritans expected a
Messiah like Moses.
In spite of all this, or perhaps because of it, Jesus decided to pass through Samaria,
where he arrived at a city named Sychar, where He felt tired and sat down near a source of water
called Jacob’s well.
It was the middle of the day--when the sun is the hottest--and a woman from the
region approached the well to draw water.
This is odd in itself.
It’s odd that the woman would draw water at this time of day.
Usually it was done at dawn or sunset.
She was also alone!
Where were her friends?
Where were the other women from the town.
Could it be that the woman had been pushed to the edges of society for her behavior?
Was she being judged by others?
Was she an outcaste?
Did she suffer from very low self-esteem?
I would say, “Yes.”
At any rate, the woman must have been quite startled to see a Jewish man sitting there!
What went through her mind?
Of course she had spent her life being used by men....
....one of her thoughts may have been....
Here’s another man coming to take something from me.....
Why else would he be here?
She must have been astonished that all Jesus asked her for was a drink of water!
Now, the rules of social behavior did not look favorably upon men conversing with
It was said by the teachers of the time, “Don’t detain yourself for a long while to speak
with a woman.”
In other words, “A conversation with a woman is a waste of time.”
On top of this, the Jews considered themselves to be superior to Samaritans...
So here was this Jewish man, engaging in conversation a Samaritan Woman with a
questionable reputation out in the open in the middle of the day!
And unlike every other man that this woman has ever come in contact with....Jesus isn’t
trying to take something away from her....He is giving her something....
Jesus ignored social norms in His preaching, teaching, healing and other actions.
He disregarded the hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans, and He was even speaking
with a woman!
Jesus was concerned with new relationships between human beings in which there is no hate
but rather mutual love and concern, and where no culture, race, or gender is superior to another.
Two thousand years later....we still have not caught up with Jesus in this regard.
In any case, Jesus offers the woman “living water”....
At first she doesn’t understand what He’s talking about....
See Jesus wasn’t talking about H2O...He wasn’t talking about the kind of water that you
drink through your mouth in order to refresh your body.....
He was talking about the Holy Spirit....that’s what He was offering this woman.
The Holy Spirit is what Jesus offers...
The Holy Spirit is the Living Water which becomes a spring in the person who recieves
it....welling up to eternal life!
Jesus is talking to this woman about being born again/or born of the Spirit.
And without this new heavenly birth, no one can enter the kingdom of God.
It’s not through the material things of this world like real water that we can taste, touch,
and see--that we enter God’s kingdom....
--It is through the Holy Spirit of the Living God.
As Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter 3: “That which is flesh is flesh. That which is
Spirit is Spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying that you must be born again.”
Notice that the woman tells Jesus that she wants this water...”
She doesn’t understand what He’s talking about, but she believes Him, and she asks Him