John 4:1-27 NKJV
4 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria.
5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, “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.”
11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”
27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”
Jesus’ encounter with the adulterous Samaritan woman at the well highlights the perpetual challenge faced by all preachers of the Gospel: What do you do when you know that the person standing in front of you is spiritually dead, and you have the very water of life that can raise that person from the dead? You have what they need, but you can’t force them to drink it. How, then, do you pass it on?
What did Jesus do? He initiated a conversation which quickly led to a discussion of spiritual truth. He spoke of His ability and His willingness to give living water to whoever wants it. He exposed her adultery with a sign of His omniscience. He revealed her idolatry and the false worship in which she and the other Samaritans engaged. And then He revealed Himself as the Christ, as the One who had come to atone for sins and to reconcile sinners to God. In other words, He simply preached the Law and the Gospel, with genuine kindness and sincerity.
As we know, many times Jesus preached the Word, and His hearers didn’t end up thirsting for the water of life He offered. They stubbornly refused to believe the Gospel He spoke, turning down the very gift that would have saved them. But in this instance, the word He spoke brought the woman to faith.
The faithful pastor can do no better than to imitate Jesus, taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to speak the Law and the Gospel with unbelievers, some of whom will be led by the Holy Spirit to drink and live forever. And all of us can look for opportunities to have conversations like the one Jesus had at the well, even if it’s as simple as inviting someone to church.
Let us pray: Merciful God, grant us opportunities to bring Your living water to others. And then grant us boldness to speak, and wisdom to know what to say. Amen.