Our passage is a lengthy one . . .
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.Now he had to go through Samaria.So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If
you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you
would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”“I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
This is an amazing passage of the Word, and I am more than a little intimidated by the responsibility I feel, for bringing out what someone needs to hear....
Let's dig in!
Have you ever spent any time in the desert? Have you visited there? Worked there? Have you seen pictures or videos of the desert habitat and climate? People who live and work in desert regions know a need for water that we rarely think about. We take for granted the effortless ease of turning a handle and seeing pure drinking water flow into our glass. But there are people who have no way of experiencing that; they must travel to a water source, and in Jesus' day, they needed to carry water back home, on their shoulder -- carefully choosing their path so as not to let one precious drop spill and be wasted.
These folks know what it is to be thirsty . . . desperately thirsty. And Jesus is saying in this passage that we actually have a deeper thirst. And He offers a deeper satisfaction. Think of your hottest, driest day and then think of the coldest, purest, most refreshing drink you could put your hands on -- that is what Jesus offers all of us. He offers it today in your life, and in mine.
We're going to take a bird's eye view of a couple of stories from the Old Testament, to prepare us for what we will find in John 4. Ready?
Our first story is in Genesis; remember Jacob? Verse 6 of our passage today actually told us that the important meeting we are studying took place at a well that Jacob dug! Cool, huh? The Old Testament doesn't tell us the exact time that Jacob dug that one, but it does tell us about Jacob and another well . . . In Genesis 29 we read the story of how Jacob met his bride to be (Rachel) at a well. It was the hottest part of the day, and Rachel had brought her sheep to the well. But there was a problem -- there was a massive stone over the top of the well. Standard operating procedure in those days, but still a problem for a shepherd girl with thirsty sheep.
She must have been wondering to herself if there would be a tribesman there who would help her, and roll the stone away. Well, as the story goes, Jacob saw her and thought she was the prettiest thing he'd seen since that new litter of kittens back home, and he fell all over himself offering to roll the stone away for her. He helped her by moving the stone, and helping her water the sheep. Does this sound familiar? That he was acting like a good shepherd? Or maybe like THE Good Shepherd?
I think we're on to something here, don't you? And it's not just that he'd made the first step toward winning Rachel as his wife!
Join me again next time and we'll continue our study!