It was an ordinary day, like the endless days that had gone before & the seemingly endless stretch of days that lie ahead. Life had been anything but easy. She dressed and prepared for the long trip to the well. She decided to wait until noon, to avoid as much of the gossip and criticism as she could from the other women who went to the well daily in the early morning and evening. She knew what they were saying, and that it was true, but it didn’t make it easier to hear. Her succession of husbands, 5 in all, had left her friendless & despised by the other women. Her current boyfriend had chosen not to marry her, leaving her further shamed and broken. She busied herself with daily tasks but the void in her life made each day lonelier than the last.
“Well, I’d best get it over with,” she told herself. She picked up her heavy jar, thrust her chin up with a bravado that she didn’t feel, and headed out the door. She could hear the snickers of the other women, and could feel their pointing fingers although no one dared to speak to her directly. She was an outcast, shunned by the community.
As she approached the well, a stranger caught her eye. “What on earth is He doing here?” she wondered. A Jew travels many miles out of the way to avoid going through Samaria. Everyone knows the Samaritans are considered half-breed traitors…part Jewish and part Assyrian. “Why would He be sitting here?”
When she finally reached the well, the stranger spoke. “Please, woman, would you give me a drink?” Stunned that He would even speak with her, the woman responded “How can you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Everyone knows that the Jews consider the Samaritans to be unclean!
Jesus replied, “If you knew what God could give you and if you knew who it was speaking with you, you would have asked Him and He would give you a drink of living water.”
“But sir,” she said, “the well is deep and you have nothing to draw water with. Where would you get this living water? Are you greater than our ancestors who provided this well for themselves and their families?”
Jesus replied, “Everyone who drinks this water will thirst again but whoever drinks of the water I can give will never be thirsty again for my gift will become a spring of living water in the person’s life and result in eternal life!”
“Please then, sir, give me some of this water so I can stop being thirsty and will never have to come draw water here again.”
“First, go get your husband and then come back” Jesus said.
“I haven’t got a husband,” she said as she blushed with the shame.
“You are quite right,” Jesus answered. “You have had five husbands and your current lover is not your husband at all. You spoke the truth.”
“Sir, you are truly a prophet.” She sighed. Then, to direct conversation away from herself, she began questioning Him about the proper location of worship, for the Jews and Samaritans had a long-standing disagreement about it.
“Ah, you are worried about where to worship but I am telling you that before long worshipping will not be a matter of a hill or a city, but a time is coming, and has already come, when true worship will be done in Spirit and in truth. Indeed the Father is already looking for those who will worship Him this way! God is spirit and those who truly worship Him must worship in spirit and truth!”
“Of course, I know the teaching that when the Messiah, the Christ, comes He will make all things plain to us,” she replied.
“I ,the one speaking with you, am He,” Jesus said.
About that time, His disciples were returning from their trip into town and were shocked to find Him speaking with a Samaritan, and a woman no less, but none of them dared question Him about it.
As the disciples arrived, the woman turned away, leaving her water jar behind, and ran back into town. Although hesitant to give heed to such a woman as her, many came out to hear her story and decided to go find the truth for themselves.
While she was gone, the disciples encouraged Jesus to eat some of the food they had brought but Jesus refused, insisting He had food that they knew nothing about.” Confused, that He had already been given something to eat while they were gone, they continued to question Him but He replied, “My food is to do the will of the One who sent me and to finish the work He has called me to do.” Then Jesus said, "You look ahead to the harvest but I am telling you the harvest is ready right here and right now. Open your eyes and look around you, for the one who planted and the one who is gathering are both being rewarded and celebrating their harvest of eternal life. The old saying is true, ‘One man sows and another man reaps.’ You are going to get to harvest that which you never planted. Other men have done the hard work and you will reap the result of their labor.”
While the disciples were pondering this teaching, the Samaritans poured out of town to see Jesus. Many of them came & some even believed because of the woman’s testimony that she had met a prophet, One who told her of her past, but many more ended up believing on Him because of the teaching that He did. He stayed with them an additional 2 days, and when He was gone they said to the woman, “We don’t have to believe anymore because of the things you said. We have heard His teaching with our own ears and now know that this man is truly the one who will be the Savior of the world!”