"A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 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.) 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.” 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? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 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.” 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.”
Most of us are probably pretty familiar with the story of the Woman at the Well. But how often have you stopped to really consider the meaning of it all? This story was one of the first stories I read when I first got saved. At first, I just skimmed through it and shrugged my shoulders, but when I heard someone break it down and explain what was really happening, it became one of my favorite Bible stories ever.
I think you may feel the same way.
Here are some of the most important things that this story tells us about Jesus...
During this time period most Jewish people would go all the way around the city so that they did not have to interact with the Samaritan people. Samaritans were considered even more unclean than prostitutes and people with disabilities. In the beginning of the story, it states that Jesus chose to go through the city, not around it. Then, we learn that he doesn't just talk to any Samaritan man...He talks to a Samaritan woman. This goes to show us that Jesus came to save all people—every gender, every race, every nationality.
He speaks to her profoundly. He speaks to her with wisdom. He speaks to her with gentleness. He brings up scenarios of her past to prove that He knows and understands her. He also brings up her past because He wanted to show her that she was in need of Him. He wanted to emphasize her brokenness so that she could recognize His goodness. She’d been divorced five times and was living with a man who was not her husband. She was in complete isolation from her community because they looked down on here. Most women would go to get water from the well in the morning (so that it wasn't hot). However, this scripture states that she went in the afternoon, when no one was around. She probably was by herself so she wouldn't have to face their judgmental glares and hear them whispering about her. But Jesus does not judge her; instead, He reveals who He is to her!!!!!!!! Out of everybody He could have told, He chose to tell the outcast and the one who felt unloveable.
After talking to the Samaritan woman for a little while, He offers her living water. In other words, He offers her salvation. This woman who has a bad reputation, a shattered heart, and is living with constant shame—Jesus sees her and He offers Himself to her, fully. No strings attached.
What I find interesting is the fact that the woman didn't understand at first. She asked questions like, "How can a Jew ask a Samaritan woman for a drink?” “Where will you get that living water?” “Are you greater than Jacob?” But Jesus answered none of her questions. He was not unresponsive to her inquiries, but He refused to be sidetracked by them. Instead he focused on helping her see her thirst. Only after she saw her thirst did He answer her objections.
Jesus went to this well even though it wasn’t a place that Jews would usually go. He met the Samaritan woman where she was. He didn’t ask her to come to Him, or make her earn salvation in any way. He went to her city, her well, and revealed Himself to her there. He does that for us, too! He meets us right in our sin and our brokenness and calls us to Himself and gives us salvation because He wants us.
This story teaches us that God loves us in spite of our bankrupt lives. God values us enough to passionately seek us and to invite us into an intimate relationship with Him. After Jesus’ conversation with her, only a person like the Samaritan woman, a disgrace from her own people, could understand what this means. To be wanted, to be cared for when no one, not even herself, could see anything of value in her. This is grace.
Have you ever thought that you were beyond saving? That you were too dirty, broken, and messed up for Jesus to save you or even want you? This story shows in a very vivid way that you are never too far from Jesus, and that He will always pursue you. All you have to do is believe.
Read the whole chapter of John 4. Pay close attention to every detail of the story.
How is Jesus pursuing you right now?
Are you resisting Him because of your shame or believe that you are too far gone from Him?
Run back to Jesus today and know that He will welcome you with open arms.