The woman at the well, was a woman of Sychar, a city in Samaria. She is presented in the bible in John 4:7-42. This portion of scripture is one of the most well-known incidents regarding women in the bible.
This meeting takes place when John the Baptist was still baptizing people, (John 3:23-24) and probably word of his preaching had spread to Samaria. Jesus has departed Judea and is on his way to Galilee, but scripture tells us John 4:4 “And he must needs go through Samaria.” He must needs, our omniscient Lord knew the events that would transpire there in the city of Sychar, at Jacob’s well. V5-6 “Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.” V8 tells us that the disciples of Jesus “were gone away unto the city to buy meat.” The plan of the Lord to be alone and to have quiet time for the meeting which he knew was to take place.
Verse 6 “..Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.” What a statement. The Lord of the Universe, but weary as a man. V7 “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.” The woman is surprised that he, whom she recognizes as a Jew, would even speak to her, and addresses him thus, V9 “How is it that thou being a Jew, askest drink of me, a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” She as yet has no clue that the man seated before her is God incarnate.
And now the Lord Jesus begins to speak to her of deeper things than a mere glass of water. Water could satisfy the physical thirst of a man, but the Lord was about to show this woman that unquenchable thirst that all sinners possess, whether they know it or not, the thirst for something more than this life can offer. V10 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” the gift of God, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.“. This is the first suggestion to the woman that this was no ordinary request for a simple drink of water. He speaks to her of “living water” and we are reminded of John 7:38-39 “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
The woman now respectfully calls Jesus ‘Sir’, attentive, but still not knowing who He is. V11 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with,and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?” All she sees is that he has no waterpot, and no way to draw water, therefore she is beginning to wonder where the living water is. (V11) in V12 She dares to even wonder if he is greater than Jacob. The Lord Jesus is very patient and continues to speak to her heart, not her mind. V13-14 “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” And now this woman realizes her own deep thirst, an inner need she was not aware of before, and she pleads with him V15 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.” It is not a simple request, but almost a demand Sir, give me this water. She is desperate.
But first the Lord Jesus must reveal two things, that she is a sinner and that He is omniscient. V16 “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.” The woman makes a very wise choice to speak the truth, V17-18 “The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou has well said, I have no husband: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.” And there it is, the woman is living with someone she is not married to. She is shown to be, in God’s eyes, a sinner, as we all are.
V19-20 The woman now sees the Lord Jesus as a prophet, and so she tells him of where her fathers worshipped, and that the Jews say that Jerusalem is where people ought to worship. Still ever patiently, our Lord teaches her that true worship is not a place, it is a deep, personal relationship, and the time for that worship has come. V21-24 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
The woman acknowledges her belief that Messiah will come, V25 “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things” and then Jesus speaks to her those wonderful words V26 “Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” How much clearer could He be? Here is the Lord’s proclamation to this simple woman. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16:31. What mercy he is showing to her, and all she need do is believe “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast”
Imagine what she must have felt at that moment – her eyes are opened to the truth: that this tired, thirsty, gentle man who has so patiently and kindly spoken to her, IS the promised Messiah.
And now, and only when our Lord has completed the task of coming to the well to speak with this woman, his disciples arrive back on the scene V27 “and upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?” and then the woman V28-29 “left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” She went and told the men, not the women, evidence that it was important to her that she share this news with those who had the responsibility for headship of their families. She has already left her old life behind, and has become a witness for the truth, to tell others of our Lord Jesus. It was not her responsibility to bring them to the Lord Jesus herself, but merely to testify to them of what he did for her personally. and in V30 “then they went out of the city, and came unto him.” V39 “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.” Is not this a lesson for us? Perhaps we should concentrate more telling people of what the Lord has done for us personally.
And so the Samaritans who listened to her, a woman who has had five husbands, went to Jesus and pleaded with him to stay with them. And so Jesus stayed in Samaria for two days V41-42 “And many more believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” And this is very important, the woman sowed the seed by telling the men about the Lord Jesus, but it was by them going to Jesus personally and listening to him that they believed on him.
This woman of Samaria, had no idea what would befall her that fateful day. That she would meet the Saviour, and be shown the grace and mercy of our Lord to her, a sinner, who only had to believe on Him who spoke the truth. Such blessed hope for all of us. Praise the Lord.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”