The Woman at the Well, John 4:7-19

Christ’s deity was discussed in “Christ at the Well, John 4:1-8”, posted on 7-5-17, though it is a subject which by far cannot be covered in so few words.

Jesus Christ is called in the Scriptures, “the Word”, (the Logos, “the express image of His [God’s] person”, Hebrews 1:3), John 1:1; “Rock”, 1 Corinthians 10:4; “Teacher”, Matthew 8:19; “Mediator”, 1 Timothy 2:5; “Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords”, 1 Timothy 6:15; “Shepherd and Overseer of your souls”, 1 Peter 2:25; “the light of the world”, John 8:12; “the resurrection and the life”, John 11:25; “I AM”, (same as YAHWEH, Exodus 3:14), John 8:58; to name a few.

This Man, tired and hungry, waits at midday for the arrival of a simple Samaritan woman.

“A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink.’ For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, ‘How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?’ For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” John 4:7-9.

The last sentence, “For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” is not part of the woman’s question; rather it was added by the writer to clarify her question.

If you know the animosity of prejudice then you can imagine how completely out of stereotype this conversation is.

The woman is immediately taken in by the complete lack of lust or hatred in the eyes of Christ, as well as the humble rather than imperious tone of voice.

There has been a great deal of the study of body language today and still many are unaware of the subtleties of the eyes. It takes only a second for someone to see hatred in them, and it takes a lifetime to erase it from them.

The voice too can either be condescending or humble, often without our knowing it. If we think hateful thoughts they will come out in the eyes; if we feel superior it will come out in the voice.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3.

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 2:3.

“Though the Lord is on high, yet He regards the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.” Psalm 138:6.

Having started the gravest of conversations in the most mundane manner, the Lord Jesus continues by saying to the woman.

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10.

What the Lord is offering the woman is eternal life.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

And the filling of the Holy Spirit, for that is what the water represents.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. ‘But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.’” John 8:38-39.

In the next two verses, the woman asks two questions.

“The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?’” John 4:11.

The well was indeed deep, some 78 plus feet deep and 9 feet across, the question is a good one, yet it shows that she, like most people, is not thinking on anything other than a physical plane.

“Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” John 4:12.

Samaritans are foreigners brought into the land after the Assyrians carried away many of the Jews (721 B.C.) and over time introduced a heathen population who later married some Jews and adopted a corrupted version of Judaism.

See 2 Kings Chapter 17 for this account. Also note for clarification that Israel as a nation was divided into the northern kingdom, Israel (Samaria) and the southern kingdom Judah after a rebellion about 931 B.C.

With this in mind the woman’s question “Are You greater than our father Jacob….?” is kind of reaching for it since Jacob is the father of the Israelites.

As you follow the conversation you will see that while the woman has some great insight, there is also a lot of ignorance, just as you find in this country today.

“Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.’” John 4:13-14.

This is a simile comparing water to the Holy Spirit. And while you will have physical thirst it is possible never to thirst spiritually, this is not all though, it will become a fountain of water.

And this is where many Christians fail. It is true you receive the Holy Spirit when you accept Christ as your Savior; it is true that this is good enough.

But you cannot live a mediocre Christian life and expect extraordinary things anymore than you can expect to putt a couple hours a week in your backyard and become a great golfer.

Read about the lives of some of the greatest sports figures, they have one thing in common; they beat their brains out straining for the goal of being the best that they could be.

Is it possible for one to experience great power in prayer or miracles without pressing toward the goal? Or are we like this woman who wants something to satisfy her temporal needs?

Or is the sacrifice worth it to be able to do powerful things that will stretch all the way into eternity?

Powerful things are not necessarily becoming a great evangelist with huge crusades; it is as simple as being available to God, loving others, feeding the poor, showing kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, humility (see Galatians 5:22-23). Simply put, following Jesus.

“The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.’” John 4:15.

Do you see how hard it is to jackhammer through the physical mindset to reach the spiritual in a person?

We are encompassed by powerful bodily needs, things we desire, and the work it takes to survive. The things you cannot see are the farthest from your mind. Yet this is where life begins.

The Lord pulls her up short to face reality by showing her His omniscience. Without answering her request Jesus changes the subject.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Go, call your husband, and come here.’” John 4:16.

It must have been embarrassing as she stood before this godly man, perhaps she looked down as she replied.

“The woman answered and said, ‘I have no husband.’ Jesus said to her, ‘You have well said, “I have no husband,” for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.’” John 4:17-18.

Jesus’ reply to this woman is no red faced diatribe detailing her sins, rather just a gentle statement of facts.

“The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.’” John 4:19.

Finally she realizes that this is not just about water and with that she asked the questions on her heart; the eternal questions.

The Woman at the Well, John 4:7-19 taken from
posted on 7-30-12 and updated on 7-10-17.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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