Summary: Jesus’ Conversation with the Samaritan Sinner at Sychar
Have you heard the latest on the CIA’s snooping capabilities? According to WikiLeaks, the U.S. spy agency is able to activate your smart TV’s internal microphone and record your conversations. You’re probably thinking: “I’d hate to be the agent tasked with listening to my recordings.” “Why d’ya change the channel? I was learning how to make Brussels sprout soup!” “Hey Chris, it’s your turn to get the nachos.” “Dad! Brock won’t give me the remote!” No, I don’t think I’d want to eavesdrop on your conversations either.
But wouldn’t it be interesting to eavesdrop on the conversations of someone famous? Like what exactly did President Trump say about Prime Minister Trudeau after they met? This morning we’re going to eavesdrop on a candid conversation Jesus had with a certain Samaritan woman. Let’s even pretend to be intelligence agents who are trying to make sense of this well-side, well-said conversation.
OK agents. It looks like we’re all here including Agent Jolie with her markers and note pad so let’s get started with today’s briefing. At twelve noon yesterday our listening device on Jacob’s well in Sychar, Samaria picked up an interesting conversation between a Jewish man and a Samaritan woman. Now, as you know, those two peoples, the Jews and Samaritans, never speak to each other if they can help it. But perhaps the Jewish man was desperate. It seems that he had been on the road all day and was tired and thirsty. So when the Samaritan woman approached the well, he asked her for a drink to which she responded: “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9)
If the Jewish man was really thirsty, you’d expect him to beg and plead for that drink. Instead this is what our microphones captured him saying: “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” (John 4:10). Can any of you agents make sense of that? The Samaritan woman couldn’t. She noted that the man had nothing to reach down into the deep well with which to scoop out water. Then she seemed to sense that he was perhaps talking about a different kind of water, and so she asked this man: “Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” (John 4:12)
You have to admit. It was a good question. I mean in a dry land like that, it’s impressive that the ol’ well was still pumping out water 2,000 years after this Jacob guy had dug it out. You’d think with a comeback like that the conversation would be over. But the Jewish man replied: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13, 14). What do you make of that agents! A water that quenches thirst forever? Do you see why we’re analyzing this conversation? If such water exists and we can get our hands on it, well, our armies could march across the world and never suffer dehydration! The woman too was keen on getting her lips to this water, but when she asked for some, the man told her to go get her husband and come back. Was there enough of this water for more than one person? Is that why he told her to get her husband? I don’t think so because when the woman reported that she had no husband, the Jewish man said: “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true” (John 4:18).
Where did that man get his intelligence because he was dead on and the woman admitted it! While I’d say that this man was some kind of undercover agent, the woman surmised that he was a prophet—you know, one of those religious fanatics through whom God supposedly speaks. Perhaps that’s why she continued with a seemingly unrelated question. She wanted to know where the right place to worship God was: Samaria or Jerusalem? But the man said: “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).
I’m a little baffled by that answer, but so was the woman for she said: “I know that the Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us” (John 4:25). Now, I did a little digging and learned that the Jews and Samaritans were waiting for someone, the Messiah, to save them from their troubles. And here’s the bombshell. That Jewish man we have been listening to? The one who was so tired from walking that he stopped for a rest at this well at Sychar? He said, “I, the one speaking to you…am [the Messiah]” (John 4:26). At this point on the recording you can hear others approaching. Then the woman abruptly stands and her footsteps quickly fade away while a voice calls out: “Hey, you forgot your water jar!”