The Woman at the Well (John 4)
The Resurrection Manifest in St. John’s Gospel (04) - A Woman at a Well
John 4:1–42 - 7 There *came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus *said to her, “Give Me a drink.” . . . “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.” . . . 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus *said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” . . . 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. . . 39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified. . . .“It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”
Well Source - The “woman at the well” passage in John 4 is well known for several key teachings: Jesus gives living water; worship in spirit and truth; fields are white for harvest; and one sows and another reaps. All of these new covenant teachings demonstrate the main theme of John: see Jesus in these signs and actions and believe. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (1:12). Have you gone to the well?
Well Example - John 4 gives unlikely model of faith: a serial adulterer Samaritan woman, then her townsfolk. The Samaritans were despised mongrels (1Kgs. 17:25ff) who engaged in worship on Mt. Gerizim until the destruction of their temple in 128 BC (by Jewish Hasmonians) and again in 52 AD. Samaritans were despised by Jews. “Good Samaritan” was an oxymoron. This is another proof that John shows glory unveiled in Jesus, speaking louder than impressive powers and worldly testimony. This sinful woman was thoroughly unqualified to be a witness on Law and Order. Yet, she is more effective in sharing her faith than anyone else in the book. Would you let her represent you?
Well Water - Are you like this woman? Or are you like the Pharisees that Jesus left? Jesus gives living water to those who trust in Him. This water quenches the thirst of the soul for an actual Savior of the world (v42); while leaving dry-mouthed those who seek a Pharisaic legalistic “messiah.” Before a person receives this water, whether Pharisee or Prostitute, they must come to actually see with their sin. They acknowledge: “I have no husband.” Jesus must say, “this you have said truly.” Therefore: We must deal with a person’s deepest need before the lesser magistrates of sin. You can’t clean yourself up and come to Jesus. Come just as you are, honestly, and letting go of all pride. Do you have this water from Jesus?
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more