The Woman at the Well Read – John 4:1-26
Jesus is heading North to Galilee. Jesus is avoiding a controversial argument with the Pharisee regarding Baptism. The shortest route was through Samaria. Jesus sat down to rest at Jacob’s well outside the town of Sychar, to where his disciples went for provisions. This was on land bought by Jacob and bequeathed to Joseph, whose bones were buried nearby.
He asked a woman there for a drink. We know that Jews and Samaritans hate each other. Many have said this woman was a prostitute. I don’t think the woman was a prostitute. We don’t even know if she had a shady past. Jesus called her not to repentance, but called her to a life of giving and faith. and offers her living water.
This Samaritan woman fails to grasp that Jesus is not talking about physical, but spiritual water. The woman like all of us, needs physical water to sustain our lives. John supplies the theme to Jesus as Living Water, symbolizing Eternal Life and activity of the Holy Spirit
The conversation comes to an impasse, and Jesus changes to a personal focus to life and spiritual needs. Jesus invites her to call her husband. She replies she has no husband. Jesus agrees and says “You have had five husbands and the one you have now, is not your husband. This sentence is precisely why pastors have called her prostitute. But if you read closely, nothing says she is a Prostitute. John, as writer and Jesus as central character never give that information. Jesus does not invite repentance or speak of sin. She could have been widowed, divorced, abandoned, we don’t know but five times is heartbreaking, but not impossible. She sees and responds, “you are a prophet”.
In John, “to see” is often connected to belief. She is making a confession of faith. Jesus has seen her plight of dependence, not immorality. Jesus has seen her plight and offered her something of incomparable worth. Living water, water for her soul, that will never run dry.
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
She exists to Jesus. She has worth, value, significance, treatment that she is not accustomed too. Jesus speaks of her past, knowingly and compassionately, she knows she is in the presence of a Prophet.
John has not placed before us a morality tale. He offers this woman as a striking and inspiring example of faith contrast with Nicodemus, who came to see Jesus at night. For John, darkness and night are associated with disbelief or dark deeds. This woman of no account, with no name comes at noon. Not because she’s ashamed of her past and wants to avoid her neighbors; daylight signifies faith.
In the presence of “the Light of the world”, the woman leaves her ordinary tasks to run to tell of the one who sees us truly and deeply. One who loves us as we are, and commissions us to share this good news with others.
GLORY TO GOD!
Tune in Sunday for “The Woman at the Well”, another person who encounters Jesus on His Journey to the Cross.
I don’t know how, but I know Who?
Grace and Peace, Pastor Nelda
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