Jesus’ Life and Ministry
Teaching a Samaritan Woman
ON THEIR way from Judea to Galilee, Jesus and his disciples travel through the district of Samaria. Tired from the journey, about noon they stop to rest by a well near the city of Sychar. This well was dug centuries before by Jacob, and it remains even down until today, near the modern-day city of Nablus.
While Jesus rests here, his disciples go into the city to buy some food. When a Samaritan woman comes to draw water, he requests: “Give me a drink.”
Jews and Samaritans generally have no dealings with one another because of deep-seated prejudices. So, in astonishment, the woman asks: “How is it that you, despite being a Jew, ask me for a drink, when I am a Samaritan woman?”
Jesus answers that if she knew who he was, she would ask him for “living water.” This water, he says, will become “a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.”
“Sir, give me this water,” the woman responds.
Jesus now says: “Go, call your husband.”
“I do not have a husband,” she answers.
Jesus verifies her statement. “You said well, ‘A husband I do not have.’ For you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”
“Sir, I perceive you are a prophet,” the woman says in amazement. Revealing her spiritual interests, she notes that the Samaritans worshiped at Mount Gerizim, but the Jews in Jerusalem.
Yet the place of worship is not the important thing, Jesus points out. “God is a Spirit,” he explains, “and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.”
The woman is deeply impressed. “I know that Messiah is coming, who is called Christ,” she says. “Whenever that one arrives, he will declare all things to us openly.”
“I who am speaking to you am he,” Jesus declares. Think of it! This woman who comes at midday to draw water, perhaps in order to avoid contact with townswomen who despise her for her way of life, is favored in a wonderful way by Jesus. Point-blank he tells her what he has not confessed openly to anyone else. With what consequences? The article in our next issue will explain. John 4:3-26.
◆ Why was the Samaritan woman surprised that Jesus spoke to her?
◆ What does Jesus teach her about living water and where to worship?
◆ How does Jesus reveal to her who he is, and why is this disclosure so amazing?
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