Summary: The Samaritan woman came to Jacob’s well to get water and got forgiveness and a whole new life --- more than she ever dreamed of, but certainly what she wanted in her heart.
I grew up in Iuka, Mississippi. Iuka used to be famous for one thing, iron spring water. In 1904 at the World’s Fair in St Louis some of the iron water from Iuka won the gold medal for the purest and best mineral water. In the late 19th century many people traveled to Iuka for the curative power of the iron water and peaceful and tranquil park. All of that former glory was long gone by the time I came around. One spring is still running today.
In John 4 Jesus talks with a woman about drinking “living water” and never becoming thirsty again. Let’ learn more about this living water.
Please turn to John 4:1- 7 and stand in honor of the reading of the Word of God.
I. Who was this Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well
The text does not tell us her name, but it does tell us four things about her:
1. Samaritan --- the Samaritan’s were a half-breed group of people. They were half Jew and half Assyrian and because of this the Jews rejected any association with them.
Look at the end of verse 9. John the Apostle adds a footnote for his Gentile readers (Jews do not associate with Samaritans). The footnote at the down of the page makes this even stronger (they do not use the same dishes).
This story has been passed down among preachers how a young minister was visiting a backwoods family in the Appalachian hills of Kentucky 50 years ago. It was an extremely hot and humid day. The young minister talked with the father about coming to church for 15/20 minutes out in the hot sun by the water well. The man then lowered the bucket into the well and pulled up some cool water. The man grabbed a dipper and got a drink. He offered one to the preacher. He was powerful thirsty but didn’t like the idea of sharing the same dipper as the family, but knew it would offend them if he didn’t. He father scooped out a dipper of water and handed it to him. In a flash of brilliance he thought he would take his drink right next to the handle. As he finished, the father turned to the family and said, “Look he drank from grandma’s favorite spot.” The young minister looked at grandma to smile and about that time, grandma needed to spit out her chewing tobacco. ---- choose your place on the dipper carefully.
2. Woman --- Rabbinic custom stated that it was improper for a Rabbi to speak to woman he did not know. Jesus was not a Rabbi, but the woman was surprised that He spoke to her and especially that he asked her for some water.
3. Immoral --- verse 18 tells us that this woman had five previous husbands and the man she was living with then was not her husband. She was living in open sinful behavior.
It amazes me that particularly women will agree to a “live in” arrangement. A “let’s try living together” before we get married attitude. Ladies, if a man suggests this arrangement to you, then you have a clear indication he does not love you nor does he want to honor the Word of God and you should get as far away from him as you can.
Men, we have to raise the bar of expectation from each other and hold each other accountable to live and behave righteously.
4. Came at noon --- historians believe this woman came to Jacob’s well at noon intentionally. Most women came the first thing in the morning while the water would still be cool. This un-named woman came at noon so she didn’t have to associate with them. Because of all her husbands and immorality she must have felt rejected and ostracized. She had looked for love in these six men and had not found what she wanted. Now the people of the village shunned her and the Temple condemned her.
I believe this woman represents all of us who have shattered dreams and broken hearts. Maybe you know the pain this woman felt. Maybe through similar circumstances you have found the disappointments in life. I have good news for you --- Jesus can give you “living water” and quench the thirst of your soul.
II. Jesus offers her “living water”
Jesus explains to this woman the difference between physical water and the living water He is offering.
• physical water --- Water is called scientifically H2O. It is a binary compound that occurs at room temperature as a clear colorless odorless tasteless liquid; freezes into ice below 0 degrees centigrade and boils above 100 degrees centigrade. It is essential to physical life. A person would become thirsty again.
This happened at Jacob’s Well. Jacob was Isaac’s son whom the promise of the Messiah would come. The well was 100 feet deep and 9 feet wide.