Thirst no more (John 4:1-26)
This week we are going to study John 4:1-26. So let’s read the passage, “Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” John 4:1-26
On His Way
Let’s start off with verses 1-4 in this passage we see that the Pharisees find out that Jesus’ disciples have been baptizing more disciples than John did. This made the Pharisees nervous because they thought he was a false teacher, but now the one who John pointed to was attracting more disciples than John had. Jesus did not stay in the Judean countryside because it was not yet His time and He had much to teach His disciples and they were not yet strong enough to endure persecution. The most likely reason Jesus was not baptizing may have been the same reason Paul said he was glad he chose not to baptize, because they would brag and think that they were better than everyone else because of who baptized them (1 Corinthians 1:13-17). Jesus decided to go to Galilee where He could teach and heal. It says that He had to pass through Samaria. The Jews would not go through Samaria but would go out of their way to avoid it. Many think that the reason was that He wanted to reach the people of Samaria.
While going through Samaria they stopped near Sychar where Jacob’s well was and Jesus was wearied from His journey, so he sat down beside the well. Then a woman from Samaria came up to draw water. There are several things we can learn about her right from the start, she comes at the heat of the day alone and she does not have a servant. We see she is not popular and probably persecuted, because she did not come with the women who would come in the morning and she is poor because she has to do it herself. Jesus asked her for a drink of water likely because He needed a drink, but also because He knew that she needed the living water that He had. She asked Him why a Jewish man spoke to a Samaritan woman and wanted something from her. This was so shocking to her because Jews and Samaritans despised each other. The Samaritans were descendants of Jews that married gentiles, which in Jewish eyes made them worse than the gentiles. Jesus then tells her that if she knew who He was she would ask Him for a drink and He would give her living water. He is offering us living water also because the God of the universe came and died to redeem us because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We can ask for living water because God does not wish that any should perish but all should have eternal life (John 3:16). If you would like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life (Romans 10:9).
She, just like Nicodemus heard Jesus speak of heavenly things with earthly metaphors and neither one of them understood them. So she asks where He would get that living water and that the well is deep and He had nothing to draw it with. She also asked if He was greater than their father Jacob who gave them this well and drank of it himself. Yes, He is greater than Jacob and Jesus knew Jacob. Jacob merely dug the well, but God provided the water. Jesus then tells her that anyone who drinks water from this well will thirst again, but anyone who drinks the water that Jesus gives them will never be thirsty again. Anyone who lives in the law of the Old Testament would only be redeemed for a time but anyone who accepts Jesus as Lord will be redeemed forever. The woman of Samaria then asked Jesus for the living water so that she would not thirst again. Jesus then asked her to call her husband. She responded to the question by saying she had no husband; Jesus said that it was true that she had no husband. Jesus then went on to say that she had five before and the one she was now with was not her husband. This is to say that she was in active sin and yet Jesus still had a divine appointment with her and wanted her to know Him. She tells Him that surely He is a prophet. He does not expect us to clean up our acts before coming to Him, He meets us where we are.
Where Should We Worship
There are two views I think are most probable of why the conversation goes where it does next. The first is that she is trying to redirect the conversation away from her sin to something else. The second is that she saw that He was a prophet and wanted to know the answer to a question which she was wondering about and He had something more for her to understand. She asked Him about where they should worship in Jerusalem where the Jews worship or the mountain where the Samaritans worship. Jesus tells her that a time is coming and is now here when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will she worship the Father but we will worship God in Spirit and truth since God is Spirit. So many of us today want to call the place where we gather on Sunday our places of worship as if they are the only places where we should worship or can worship. God no longer dwells in places built by men but in the hearts of men (Acts 17:24-25). We have to remember that God dwells in us and that we can worship Him wherever we are. She then tells Him that she knows the Messiah is coming and that when He does He will explain all things. Jesus then tells her, I who speak to you am He. This was the first recorded time that Jesus tells someone that was not an Israelite that He was the Messiah. This is good news for the gentiles, He came not only for the Jews, but for all. In this passage, know that the Father is seeking true worshipers to worship Him in Spirit and truth. So this week know that if you are reading or listening to this that just like He wanted to know the Samaritan woman, He wants to know you and have a relationship with you. Also, remember to worship God in Spirit and truth and know that we can worship Him anywhere. Check out the other blogs in this series A Study through the Gospel of John