Women in the Word – Woman of Samaria

66436_503757426332165_1534000282_n (1)In Bible times the water well was sort of meeting place where people from surrounding towns would meet and fellowship as they were drawing the needed water for the day.  God records several instances in the Bible where significant events took place at a well.  Moses met his second wife, Zipporah at her father’s well in the desert.  Isaac’s wife, Rebekah was found at the well of Mesopotamia, and Jacob fell in love with Rachel at the well of Haran.  Our story today begins at the ancient well of Jacob as the Lord Jesus stops on his journey to Galilee.

It was the middle of the day and the journey was a long and tiresome walk.  Much to the surprise of his disciples, the Lord Jesus chose to travel through the Land of Samaria. (John 4:40)  The Jews and the Samaritans had a racial hatred that kept them apart; they were devout enemies.  God always has a purpose and a plan for the decisions that he makes and chosing to travel through Samaria was no different.   Once they arrived at the well, Jesus sent his disciples into the nearby village to purchase bread.  This is one of the few times in the Scriptures that we see Jesus alone, by himself.  He was alone in the desert when tempted by Satan and he was alone in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to his crucifixion.  As with those incidents, there was something very moving and appealing about this particular event in the life of our Lord.

Our story continues as we see Jesus sitting alone at this well, staring down into the cool spring water.  His concentration is broken when he hears the sound of sandals walking upon the stone pathway.  When he looked up he saw a woman with her water pot on her shoulder approaching the well.  This was indeed an unusaul site in that not only was she alone, but it was in the hottest part of the day.  In Bible times it was the custom for groups of women to go out to draw the days water early in the morning, or at the evening hour, when it was cooler.  They would chatter among themselves, perhaps sharing highlights from the previous days events.  However, this woman came alone, in the hottest hour of the day.

As with others in the Bible, God has chosen not to reveal her name, only referring to her as the Woman of Samaria.  We can conclude that she was not wealthy because the women of affluence did not draw their own water in those days.  From what is written we gather that this woman was not old, perhaps middle-aged.  Her face had lingering traces of a departed beauty.  From her conversation it is evident that she had a quick, engaging, and pleasing mind.  She had given herself to passion and now the fires of passion had burned themselves out in her.  Despised by her neighbors, she comes to the well alone, weary in body and depressed in spirit.

Upon seeing her, Jesus asked her for a drink of water.  The Woman of Samaria was able to discern by his appearance that he was a Jew and she expressed her surprise that he would even talk to her let alone ask for help.  The Bible does not indicate that she was in any way discourteous to Christ or that she intended to refuse to give hm a drink..  In fact, the woman’s way of talking must have pleased Jesus, for she did ask him why he, a Jew would ask for a drink of water from  her, a woman of Samaria.  Her honesty is revealed in that she did not attempt to hide the fact that she was a Samaritan.

Jesus answered by telling the woman that if she only knew who he was, and what he could do for her, she would ask him and he would give her living water.  The Samaritan woman did not understand that the Lord was referring to the Holy Spirit, for she asked him how that she was to draw this living water when he had nothing to draw with.  The Lord Jesus further explained to her that the water her referred to came from a deeper well and was so much better that with one drink of this water, one would thirst no more.  He emphasized that whosoever drank of the water from Jacob’s well would thirst again, but those who drank of the water that Christ gave to him would be from a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

This conversation had begun with Jesus asking the woman from Samaria a simple question, now it had evolved into her making a request of him.  She perceived that Jesus looked and spoke as though he could make good what he said, so she asked him to give her this water.  She liked the idea that she would no longer thirst and would not need to make the long hard journey each day from her village with the water pot on her shoulder.

The Samaritan Woman did not anticipate the response that she received from Jesus.  He asked her to go call her husband.  We are made aware of her penchant for telling the truth when she answered that she did not have a husband.  Jesus was impressed with her honesty and replied, “Thou hast well said”, I have no husband, for thou hast had five husbands and the man who thou are living with is not thy husband.  She was amazed that Jesus had knowledge of her history and her life.  She was certain that she was not dealing with any ordinary man for she said, “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.”  A sense of reverence and respect for Jesus must have  overwhelmed her to the point that she was ashamed that he would know of her sinful life.  She must have desperately wanted to change the subject.

Jesus then explains to her that God is a spirit, and they that worship him must do so in Spirit and in truth.”  The woman was aware that the Messiah was coming which is called the Christ and when he did come that he would make known all these things.  Jesus then confessed that, ” I that speak unto thee am He.  By the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the woman acknowledged the truth of Christs Messiahship.  Her ignorant mind had grasped the secret of true worship and of Christ’s mission.  In the glow of her newborn faith, she had to tell others and share with them all that she had heard and experienced.

The disciples were somewhat astonished when upon returning they found Jesus talking to the Samaritan Woman.  In those days, women were considered inferior to men and men did not speak to women in public, not even to their wife, sister or mother, let alone a woman of such despicable character.  Jews especially never spoke to a Samaritan because of their long-standing hatred of each other.  However, Jesus disregarded these social barriers when he talked with the Samaritan woman. Upon seeing the disciples,  the Woman of Samaria hurriedly left, leaving her water pot behind.  She was determined to return and learn more from Jesus.  Full of her great discovery and with the passion of an evangelist she declared the truth unto the men who knew her only too well.   She invited them to come and see a man who told her all the things the she ever did.  Christ had awakened her to a new and better life, she was a new creature, old things had passed away.  The men of the city must have discerned the change in this woman  and because of her earnest witness many of those men went out to see Jesus.  For two days they listened to His teachings , and came to believe in him, and accept Him as the Christ, the Saviour of the World.  This was not only because of what the first native evangelist in Samaria had said of him, but also because they had heard Him for themselves.

The Woman of Samaria became such a witness and a testimony for Christ that when Philip came to preach in Samaria he experienced such a great revival of souls in Samaria that there was great joy in the city.  Christ had met the woman of Samaria at the well and eagerly reached out for her soul.  He appealed to her knowledge of her sinful nature; presented her with the remedy of the Living Water; then acknowledged that he was the one who could provide that Living Water.   This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ…………….He is still reaching out to souls today.  Won’t you accept the Living Water that Jesus has to offer?

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