The Samaritan woman Jesus meets at Jacob’s well brings with her many teachings. When she discovers his identity as the Messiah, she puts down her pitcher of water, just as the disciples left their nets, and becomes an effective evangelist for her community. below are the testimony of the Samaritan woman.
This Bible study from John 4 explores what the story of the Samaritan woman at the well can teach us today. She is never named, yet her encounter with Jesus is the longest between the Messiah and any other individual in the Gospel of John.
Representing the lowest of the low, a woman is shown in a society where women are degraded and despised, who also belongs to a race traditionally repudiated by the Jews, and live in shame as a social outcast.
This woman not only has an encounter with Christ but also receives eternal salvation.
And his testimony also convinces an entire people to believe. What was the significance of the Samaritan woman at the well and why is her story important to Christian believers?
Throughout this Bible study, we will be explaining it in detail and discussing the importance of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman.
Backstory in Samaria
To understand the meaning of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman, we must know some background.
The Samaritans were of mixed ethnicity and religion; They were not Jews, but they practiced elements of Judaism and worshiped Yahweh along with other gods.
The Jews resented the Samaritans as hated half-bloods. Both Jews and Samaritans were hostile toward the cultural and religious practices and places of worship of others ( Luke 9:53 ).
When we come to the scene in John 4, at a well in Samaria at noon, there are invisible lines in the sand; unknown to modern readers but well known to John’s first audience.
Cultural, religious, ethnic, and gender lines mark dramatic rings around that particular well.
But this is the thing about Jesus: He is not afraid to cross lines.
And these crossed lines would forever change the woman of Samaria and many others in that region.
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Who was the woman at the well?
The story of the Samaritan woman at the well is one of the most iconic encounters in the Bible.
Narrated in John 4: 1-42, it describes how Jesus, traveling through Samaria on his way to Galilee, sat by a well in the city of Sychar.
There, around noon, while his disciples were in town buying food, he met a Samaritan woman who was coming to draw water from the well. He asked her for a drink and the conversation started from there, culminating in her salvation and that of many more of her people as well.
We are told some key facts about this woman. Although her name was never revealed, we know that she was a Samaritan woman, belonging to a race that the Jews did not associate with, as the Scripture explains. She had had five husbands and the man she currently had was not her husband.
We also know from an understanding of the cultural and historical traditions of that time that women used to draw water in groups in the morning and it was often a social occasion.
The fact that she was drawing water by herself at noon probably indicates that she was a social outcast.
And we can also deduce that he was very curious. She felt comfortable enough not only to talk to Jesus but also to ask direct questions. Her answers to those questions and her subsequent dialogue reveal much more, adding even more meaning to this Samaritan woman’s story.
Why was the woman at the well?
As the story progresses, we learn that this Samaritan woman comes to the well regularly at this time of day ( John 4:15 ). She has been married 5 times and currently lives in unrepentant sin by living with her boyfriend ( John 4:16-18 ).
These circumstances point to his desire to avoid the embarrassment that would come from attending the well when other women were present.
And yet, Jesus, in His divine intention, sought to meet this specific woman at this time.
What did the woman at the well ask Jesus?
Your questions, without understanding inflection, tone of voice, facial expressions, and other characterizations, seem raw and pointed. She asked Jesus a series of questions when he asked for a drink:
How can you ask me for a drink? (v. 9) Where can you get this living water? (v. 11) Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his cattle? (v. 12)
His responses were equally direct and astonishing. In short, Jesus told him not only who He was, the Son of God, the Messiah, but that He had come to offer living water, of the type that “will become a spring of water that gushes out to eternal life ” (v. 14).
What is remarkable is the way all of this is revealed, and the way she seemed to see through His parables and glimpse the truth behind His words when many others, including Jewish scholars and experts, could not.
What happened during Jesus’ talk with the Samaritan woman?
After Jesus asked for a drink, the Samaritan woman asked how she could ask him for this, since she was a Samaritan and Jesus was Jewish. He answered:
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you to drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (v. 10).
She pointed out that Jesus had no cup, then asked about this supposed living water, as well as whether he was bigger than Jacob. While the text does not reveal whether his tone was sarcastic, rhetorical, or sincere, many scholars suspect that he was probably joking.
After all, Jacob was the grandson of Abraham, the son of Isaac, and the traditional ancestor of the people of Israel, who probably founded the city in addition to providing the well where they spoke. Jacob’s notoriety was great. But the clear and sincere response of Jesus, in dwelling on this living water that He could provide, prompted her to ask for it.
It was then that Jesus moved on to the next phase of their dialogue, revealing that not only did he have what she needed, but he knew things about her that were surprising and revealing: that she had been married five times and was not married to the person with which lived (v. 18).
Now, inferring that Jesus was a prophet, he began to speak on religious matters, specifically noting that the Jews believe that the place they should worship in Jerusalem (v. 20).
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, the time is coming when you will not worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you don’t know; we worship what we know, because salvation comes from the Jews.
However, a time is coming, and now has come, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, because they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth ”(v. 21-24).
Then Jesus declared what he had not made public in many circles: He is the Messiah (v. 26). Her friends returned at that moment, and the Samaritan woman ran off, putting down her jug of water and proclaiming, ” Come, look !” (29).
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What happened after your talk?
After Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, she seemed amazed at how Jesus knew such truths about her. As he told the other Samaritans, ” He told me everything I did ” (v. 39).
Intrigued, they approached Jesus, and he stayed in their town for two days talking with them. From what Jesus shared with them, ” Many more became believers ” (v. 41). Their testimony led them to salvation.
How is Jesus revealed in this story?
Through the conversation with the Samaritan woman, we see Jesus reveal himself three times throughout the story. First, Jesus is revealed as the Living Water ( John 4:13-14 ).
After asking the Samaritan woman for a drink, he responds by offering her something bigger. He says:
” If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you to drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water ” ( John 4:10 ).
He is the Living Water that she needs, the spring of life. Next, Jesus is revealed as a prophet. John 4: 16-19 says:
“He said,” Go, call your husband and come back . ”
” I don’t have a husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her: “You are right when you say that you do not have a husband. The fact is that you have had five husbands and the man you have now is not your husband. What you just said is quite true . “” Sir, “said the woman,” I can see that you are a prophet. “
Shocked by the truth of His words and the exposure of her sin, her eyes are beginning to open to the truth of who He is. Through this statement, He shows her that His word is true.
Finally, we see Jesus revealed as the Messiah.
“I know that the Messiah is coming (the one called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things. “Jesus said to him,” I am the one who speaks to you. “- John 4:24-26
Jesus is the Messiah. Now He has explicitly told the woman that He is the last anointed King who has come to seek and save the lost. The ESV Global Study Bible puts it this way:
“The terms Messiah (Hebrew) and Christ (Greek) mean” anointed. “In the New Testament and early Judaism, the” Messiah “combines many Old Testament expectations of an” anointed one “who would guide, teach, and save the people of God ”(study note on John 1:41, cross reference on John 4:25).
Jesus’ encounter with this woman brings to light four fundamental beliefs or exhortations that Christians today can learn.
What can we learn from the woman at the well?
This story teaches us the following:
1. Only Jesus is the Living Water that fills our emptiness
Just as the Samaritan woman looked for men to satisfy her soul, we also look for things outside of Christ to give our hearts meaning and purpose ( John 4:14 ). Yet when Jesus revealed Himself to her, He tried to show her that He was the endless water for which she was so thirsty ( John 7:38 ).
Jesus is the living water we need. When we put our faith and trust in Him as the Living Water, we can count on the fact that the well will never run dry ( Psalm 37:4 ). He will never tire of us.
He will never be unsatisfied. He will never reject us. He is the inexhaustible source of peace, joy, love, self-control, truth, hope, and satisfaction ( Galatians 5:22-23 ). The abundant life can only be found in Him ( John 10:10 ).
2. Jesus is unfazed by our sin
The Samaritan woman perceived Jesus as a prophet because He softly called out to her sin: “He told me everything he had done ” ( John 4:29 ). Jesus is sovereign and sees sin within our hearts ( 1 Timothy 5:15 ).
He knows our desires and yet He still pursues and loves us ( Romans 3:23 ).
He is not surprised by our evil desires but seeks to reconcile us to the Father despite them ( Hebrews 7:25 ). Colossians 1:19-20 says:
” Because God was pleased that all his fullness should dwell in him, and by him reconcile all things to himself, whether they be those on earth or in heaven, making peace with his blood shed on the cross .”
Jesus saw our sin and was willing to shed His blood and endure immense suffering for our satisfaction and eternal life.
” God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us ” ( Romans 5: 8 ).
3. Jesus is our Savior-King
Just as the Samaritan woman did not fully understand who Jesus was at first, we also need Jesus to open our eyes to the reality of who He is ( Psalm 146:8, Ephesians 4:18 ). It is only in Jesus that we will be saved from our sins and renewed in Christ ( Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:20 ).
Jesus puts our sin and shame to death on the cross and calls us to walk in His light ( John 8:12, 1 John 1: 7, Psalm 27:1 ). He gives us new desires and a new purpose, which will not be found in anything earthly, but only in His kingdom ( Colossians 3: -10, Matthew 6:33, Romans 8:28 ).
4. Our life must overflow in the exaltation of the Messiah
When Jesus is our Messiah, he becomes the Lord of our life. We are called to take up our cross every day and follow him ( Matthew 16: 24-26 ). We must surrender our desires, gifts, talents, time, and money to Him ( James 4: 7 ). Philippians 2:9-11 says:
“ Therefore, God exalted him to the utmost and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth may bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father ”.
Because of His magnificent sacrifice, our lives must exalt His name ( Matthew 5:16 ). The living water that is so freely given to us in Christ becomes the wellspring of our life ( John 4: 13-14 ). We come to Christ to be filled, to be forgiven; and the void that Christ fills in our lives overflows so that we want to proclaim his excellencies ( 1 Peter 2: 9 ) and make disciples of all nations ( Matthew 28: 19-20 ).
Jesus becomes such a great treasure to us (as He was to the Samaritan woman) that we cannot help but tell others about the joy He has bestowed in our lives ( John 4: 28-30 ). We no longer need the best alternative, because Jesus is the greatest thing that has ever happened to us.
5. Jesus accepts us as we are
The fact that the Samaritan woman was of such low status ( gender, race, and marital status ) did not stop Jesus. They spoke as directly as equal conversation partners. This shows the heart of Jesus for all people, not just some.
Just as we see in other stories, like when he welcomes the children ( Luke 18: 15-17 ) or heals the demon-possessed daughter of a Canaanite woman (Matthew 15: 21-28 ), Jesus accepts everything. All are welcome in the kingdom of God.
6. Offering our testimony is of the utmost importance
When the woman believed, she immediately ran off to tell the others. His words made an impact. As Scripture tells us, “ Many of the Samaritans of that town believed in Him because of the testimony of the Samaritan woman ” (v. 39).
7. She is called and so are we
The Samaritan woman listens with open attention to Jesus as he asks him questions about his faith and hope. The more you talk to him, the more his understanding grows until he sees the full truth: Jesus is the Messiah. Throughout this conversation, she demonstrates a discipleship stance, learning from Jesus, and is now called an evangelist.
She puts down her pitcher of water, just as the disciples put down their fishing nets, a sign of her full acceptance of this call to follow Jesus. The Samaritan woman returns to her village and effectively shares her own experience with Jesus, inviting the villagers to come and see if they come to the same conclusion about him. In the end, ” many Samaritans in that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony ” ( John 4:39 ).
This nameless woman is a wonderful role model for all of us on our journey of faith. His actions invite us to stay connected to Jesus and ask questions about our faith to come to a more complete understanding of it. She models a way to do this with conviction about what she has learned in the past.
But just as our growth in faith is not just for our benefit, the Samaritan woman acquires her new learning and is propelled into action around her calling. She reaches out to her community and invites them to join her on the journey.
Whether we feel called to evangelize like her or are destined to use our gifts in other ways, the story of the Samaritan woman reminds us that our callings are opportunities to turn personal growth in faith into action for the good of others. the rest.
The story of the Samaritan woman at the well is a rich example of love, truth, redemption, and acceptance. And best of all, Jesus not only accepts her, but he also accepts us. He wants us all in His holy kingdom. If we believe, we will be there with Him.
Jesus does not judge this woman’s story, although many Christian interpreters have. Instead, through his conversation with Jesus, we discover a model of discipleship that is open to discovering a fuller understanding of God’s action in the world.
Through his response to Jesus as an evangelist, we are reminded that being a follower of Jesus calls us to put our gifts into action for the good of others.