And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman from 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.) 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.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.
- The Samaritan woman was an enemy: The Samaritans occupied the country formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The capital of the country was Samaria, formerly a large and splendid city. When the ten tribes were carried away into captivity to Assyria, the king of Assyria sent people from Cutha, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim to inhabit Samaria (2 Kings 17:24; Ezra 4:2-11). These foreigners intermarried with the Israelite population that was still in and around Samaria. These “Samaritans” at first worshipped the idols of their own nations, but being troubled with lions, they supposed it was because they had not honored the God of that territory. A Jewish priest was therefore sent to them from Assyria to instruct them in the Jewish religion. They were instructed from the books of Moses, but still retained many of their idolatrous customs. The Samaritans embraced a religion that was a mixture of Judaism and idolatry (2 Kings 17:26-28). Because the Israelite inhabitants of Samaria had intermarried with the foreigners and adopted their idolatrous religion, Samaritans were generally considered “half-breeds” and were universally despised by the Jews.
- It was about the sixth hour: What is significant about this? Typically, women in a village would go to gather water together early in the morning. It would actually be one of the most social aspects of a woman’s life for this region and point in time. This woman did not only go at a different hour than the other women, she went alone. This speaks loudly of her hidden self. She either did not like others or she did not like herself.
- Jesus personally addresses the woman: Not only did Jesus break social taboo by speaking to a Samaritan, but one step further, he was speaking to a woman. Women and men, especially when not family or married, would not be seen speaking to one another alone.
- Jesus is slightly mysterious with the woman: God often uses unusual circumstances to communicate His Truth. Jesus calls on the woman’s lack of knowledge to begin a discussion about “living water”. Ezekiel was the prophet who spoke of “living water” and Samaritans did not have access or believe in the prophets. The woman knows a portion of her past, but she does not have the full picture of her heritage.
- The Samaritan woman deflects: The woman, rightly so, questions Jesus’ motive and possibly his sanity. He is speaking of offering water, yet he is exhausted and has nothing to draw water with. Knowing his nationality or “Jewishness” she deflects to Jacob and asks if Jesus is greater than the namesake of the Jewish people, Israel.
- Jesus remains on point: Jesus is establishing Truth with the woman – taking things from the temporal and “flesh and blood” to the eternal and spiritual. Jesus is offering this woman access to eternal life.
- The woman keeps things temporal: Intrigued by endless provision, the woman challenges this man and asks him to back up his words with action.
- Jesus calls the woman out: Jesus, knowing why the woman was at the well all alone, tells her to call her husband. She has no husband; indeed, she has had 5 and the man she is currently with is not even her husband.
- The Samaritan woman deflects: The woman says she has no husband. Jesus calls her out (see above) and because of his odd knowledge of who she is, the woman again deflects. She 1. Compliments and calls Jesus a prophet and 2. Poses a religious and philosophical question to Jesus.
- Jesus speaks to religious, social, philosophical, and personal questions of the woman: Jesus uses the concept of “Spirit and Truth” to address the woman’s question, but at the same time to Love her past her deflections and deficiencies.
- Do you have enemies or difficult people that you try to Love? Who are the Samaritans in your life? Do they deserve to be enemies? Are they actually difficult to Love?
- Do the difficult people in your life hide? Do you hide from others? How do they hide? How do you hide?
- Have you ever overcome social norms in order to reach out to someone different than you? Has it ever happened that someone has done the same to you?
- What power does knowledge or information play in reaching out to or conversing with others? Can you think of a time when your lack of knowledge got you into a tough situation?
- Do you ever use deflection as a defense mechanism? Is deflection always a defense mechanism? Do others deflect with you?
- Do you have the ability to remain on point? Can you focus on Truth through deflection or awkwardness?
- Was the Samaritan woman being sarcastic? Do you use sarcasm or challenge others who are penetrating your defenses? Do you encounter this with difficult to Love people?
- Has Truth ever called you out? Do you use Truth to call others out?
- How do difficult people challenge or change the subject? Do you change uncomfortable subjects?
- How do Spirit and Truth work when it comes to deciphering ourselves and others?