1 ¶ When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
4 ¶ And he must needs go through Samaria. 5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
They had to go through Samaria to get to Galilee. Look at a map. At Sychar Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well while the disciples went to buy food. Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a drink which sort of stunned her as a Jew would not associate with a Samaritan.
In 2Kings 17:6 we find that Israel experienced the Assyrian policy of massive removal of conquered peoples and were moved to the cities of the Medes. 2Kings 17:24 shows that Assyria put people of other ethnicity from other parts of their empire in their place in Samaria. In verse 25 and on we can see that because of difficulties those displaced people had in the former Israel that one of the former priests of Israel who had been removed was sent back to teach the new inhabitants about God. However, the resultant religion was a mixture of pagan and Jewish and due to their not being Israelites, Jews, ethnically, they were held in contempt by the Jews.
2Kings 17:32 So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. 33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. 34 Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel; 35 With whom the LORD had made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them: 36 But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice. 37 And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods. 38 And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods. 39 But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies. 40 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner. 41 So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.
Jesus asks her for water and then starts to move the conversation toward faith by the phrase, “living water.” This is a masterful example of how a simple, everyday activity can be turned into a witnessing opportunity to save someone’s eternal soul from an eternity of agony. Imagine how often a Christian can take everything from washing clothes to trimming one’s yard to a baseball game and make it a lesson in salvation for the person he or she is trying to reach. Lessons of faith often need to be paralleled to something a person understands as many people today will look at you blankly “like a cow looks at a new gate” when you jump right into questions using words you use at church among other believers.
Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.
Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
She still doesn’t get the reference so Jesus explains it starting in verse 13. Still not quite getting it the woman asks for this water. Jesus then gives her a sign by revealing his knowledge of the defining condition of her life, her multiple marriages and the fact that she is currently living with someone to whom she has not made either a private or a public commitment for life. It is possible the man she is with now is legally married to someone else, as well.
The act of marriage is the physical union of man and woman.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Matthew 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
However, ceremonial marriage or civil marriage is what most people mean when they use the word. We usually are referring to legal status, not the Biblical definition and the responsibilities to God and to each other surrounding the physical act.
She admits that Jesus must be a prophet and then defines one of the sticking points of difference between the Jewish religion and the Samaritan, where they worship. In verse 21, though, Jesus defines the New Covenant to come which, unfortunately, much of Christianity denies. There are no sacred spaces in Christianity outside of the believer’s spiritual heart. It is not Rome or Nashville where we meet with God. It is not the building set aside for the church to meet. We are not warranted to call God down to walk among us or to enter a wafer. He is either already in us by virtue of the new birth or we are lost. What we need is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The idea of defining as sacred a building, altar, or spot on this earth where God meets with us is as pagan as temple prostitution. Remember that there were no buildings set aside specifically for the church to meet in until well into the late second century. The New Testament church met in believers’ homes. It is important for the church to meet and it is even called for in the Bible but it is a heresy to declare the building sacred and imply that it is only there that the Christian meets with God.
The Bible-believer meets with God wherever and whenever he or she communicates with God either by Him speaking to them through His word or by their prayers directed to Him, not as automatons doing their religious duty but in an earnest, heart-felt effort to hear from God or to speak to Him.
Jesus emphasizes the spiritual nature of what Christian worship is to truly be when believers come together to worship as the body of Christ or when individuals meet with God on a daily or even hourly basis. Religious formality and ritual are not lifted up and glorified but a genuine communing with a living God who is not just an idea or a concept or some far away entity but now dwelling within each believer’s heart. Jesus is foretelling the nature of true Christian worship as opposed to the formalism of Judaism or the Samaritan religion which revolve around rules, regulations, and dry religious ritual.
Then, Jesus declares in unmistakable language that He is the awaited Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour of the Jews and of all mankind. It is interesting that He chooses a woman from a hated ethnic group to whom He announces the most important fact of human history.