The Samaritan Woman at the Well
“Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” – John 4:15
In baseball, the rule is clear. Three strikes, you’re out!
Not so with Jesus. In John 4:1-43, readers of the Bible are presented with a different perspective. The Lord repeatedly demonstrated how He valued all people, regardless of their previous sin, no matter how egregious.
During the heat of a late spring day, Jesus met a woman at the well outside the town named Sychar in Samaria. The Samaritan woman had plenty of strikes against her.
Sennacherib of Assyria destroyed Israel, the Northern Kingdom, in 722 B.C. His subjugation strategy was to resettle those he defeated throughout his expanding kingdom to isolate future rebels who could threaten his rule. Relocating the Hebrews, Sennacherib brought in pagans idolaters to replace them. The people group known as the Samaritans was the result.
The Samaritans blended pagan cultic religious practices with Moses’ teaching from Genesis through Deuteronomy, the Torah. Their hybrid religion disgusted the Jews of the 1st Century. Animosity flowed both ways. Finding a Jew at the only place where she could get water was shocking. And then, He spoke.
“Give me a drink.” Water. It is impossible to live without it. Absent water, people die in about three days. Every day the woman came to the well when no one else would be there, especially other women. She had a history of stealing the men of other women repeatedly. In her world, men did not speak to women who were not their wives when they were alone.
“How is it that you, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” Jesus replied, “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.” – John 4:7-10
Men? They had a history of using her. As far as she knew, Jesus was just another “user.” Still, the unfolding conversation between a Jew and a Samaritan, a man, and a woman, created curiosity worth exploring. “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty or come here to draw (water).”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” An inner conflict erupted when confronted with an offer too good to believe. Deep down inside, the woman wrestled with shame. A partial truth is not the truth. “I have no husband,” was her reply. Not an outright lie; however, a partial truth misses the mark of integrity. But with Jesus, there is no place to hide. He knew her story.
The Disciple Maker’s Model
Repeatedly, the Gospels illustrate a ministry model demonstrated by Jesus. His first disciples followed His example and turned the world upside down in less than 100 years. Disciples are produced organically, not organizationally, by the abiding lifestyle of Jesus’ followers. See John 15. The disciples made by Yeshua’s process belong to Him, not to us.
Read the account of the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4:3-43.
Conversation -> Curiosity -> Conviction -> Collaboration
Jesus used a four “C” s approach to move the outcast woman from a place of shameful isolation to a social transformer.
There are people like the Samaritan woman everywhere. People who use and are used. They have “struck out” so often that nobody wants them on their team. After her conversation with the Lord, the woman finally hit a home run in her community. We’re still talking about her today.
Can you imagine yourself as the catalyst for that kind of restoration in the lives of others where you live, work, and play? It’s what happens when you Disciple Daily. We will help you learn how to knock the ball out of the park if you want!
New Testament Lessons
- The account of Jesus and the Samaritan “Woman At the Well” presents an opportunity for comparing and contrasting with Jesus’ night-time interview with Nicodemus.
- The Samaritan woman came to the well in the heat of the day rather than during the cool of the morning with Sychar’s other women. She was an outcast among her people. The woman had a history of sexual impropriety with the city’s men.
- Her meeting with Jesus was charged with tension on several levels. Among them were nationality, gender issues, sexuality, and religious beliefs.
- The Samaritan woman was increasingly engaged through a compassionate conversation that led to her recognition of Jesus as the Messiah the Jews and the Samaritans expected.
- Receiving the forgiveness only God can offer, the Samaritan woman reported her discovery of the Messiah to the people of Sychar. Many joined her newfound belief in the perfect God-man, Jesus of Nazareth.
- One of the contexts of this event is shame and honor, a moral value dynamic that is minimized by modern Western culture (truth & error). Explore this idea as you meditate on this story and tell it to others.
- Identify how shame has shaped your relationships with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and a local church community?
- How could this story be used to raise awareness that the marginalization of people who, through their own sin decisions, now live outside a restorative community in anger and fear?
- Who are some of the people in your sphere of influence that need to know this story?
- How could you use this account to open doors for Gospel conversations that lead to new-life relationships between Jesus and those who need to know Him?
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