As Jesus’ following grew, so did the opposition. The Pharisees didn’t like His message and a confrontation with them was brewing, but that didn’t stop Jesus’ mission. He continued to travel around meeting people and changing lives. On His way to Galilee, Jesus had to travel through Samaria. This was a route most Jews went out of their way to avoid because they despised the Samaritans, but Jesus wasn’t going to let some silly feud send Him on a detour that would take Him out of the will of God. There was someone in Samaria who needed to hear the gospel.
It was around noon, the hottest time of day, and a Samaritan woman was making her way to the well to draw water. She chose the hottest time of the day for her visit to the well so that she could avoid other people. She did not have a good reputation having been married five times and currently living with a man who wasn’t even her husband.
When she arrived at the well, she was surprised to see a Jewish man sitting there by Himself. She probably avoided eye contact because Jews hated Samaritans. But suddenly, she heard Him speak. “Give me a drink,” Jesus said to her. She was no doubt shocked. He’s not even supposed to be associating with her, let alone speaking to her.
But this encounter wasn’t about Jesus’ physical thirst, it was about her spiritual thirst. Jesus knew the cycle of sin that this woman was trapped in. She needed to be saved from her sin so that she could have victory over it. Jesus told her about the living water that only He can give. He told her that the water He gives quenches thirst forever. It becomes a well springing up from within, giving eternal life.
Jesus answered her, “If you knew [about] God’s gift [of eternal life], and who it is who says, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him [instead], and He would have given you living water (eternal life).” – John 4:10 AMP
“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” – John 4:14 NLT
The woman didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about. There He was without even a bucket talking about giving her water. He continued to speak to her. He brought up her lifestyle choices. They talked about worship, and He told her that where you worship doesn’t matter as much as how you worship because the Father must be worshipped in spirit and truth. (John 4:21-24) She assumed He was a prophet because of the way He spoke, but she shrugged off the confusing things He said. “I’m waiting for the Messiah,” she told Him. She knew that when the Messiah finally came, He would make sense of it all! Imagine her surprise when Jesus responded, “I AM the Messiah!”
The woman wasted no time running back to her village to tell everyone about her encounter with the Messiah. Word spread in Samaria because of her testimony and many came to see and hear for themselves. And when they encountered Jesus, they believed!
Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” – John 4:42 NLT
Jesus didn’t let racial barriers, gender bias, or a contrary lifestyle get in the way of sharing the gospel with this woman. Can the same be said for you and me? Do we miss out on opportunities to share the gospel because we put barriers up between us and “them”? How often do we go out of our way to avoid the very people that God wants us to reach? We need to be like Jesus and listen to the direction of the Holy Spirit so that we can share the gospel with anyone who God puts in our path.
And what about the woman? She was going out of her way to avoid being confronted with the truth of her sinful choices. Rather than seeing her sin for what it was, she continued to live in it and kept to herself to avoid a guilty conscience. She may have been able to avoid other people and even her own conscience, but she couldn’t avoid Jesus. When we come face to face with Jesus, we are confronted with the truth about our sin. But the moment we surrender to Him, we receive salvation, grace, and the power to finally gain victory over it!
The Samaritan woman at the well had a life-changing encounter with Jesus and she couldn’t keep it to herself. The gospel message is life-changing and when we hear it, we have to share it! People need Jesus! They are searching everywhere for something to fill the hole in their soul and we have the only answer that will put an end to their search. The answer is Jesus!
“Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for the harvest.” – John 4:35 CSB
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes… – Romans 1:16 NIV