By Chaplain (Col) Stephen W. Leonard, USA, Ret.
“Come, see a man who told me all I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” John 4:29
The encounter Jesus had with the unnamed Samaritan woman beside Jacob’s well is one of the most notable stories in Jesus’ history. The encounter so transformed this woman that it helped her, as the Lord’s instrument, bring her entire hometown of Sychar to recognize Jesus as the longed-for Messiah. How could a simple conversation have such an eternal consequence?
John 4 says, “He (Jesus) “had” to pass through Samaria.” This surprised His disciples! The Jews always chose to circumvent Samaria, not ever actually go through it, for they chose not to associate with the hated Samaritans who lived there.
But Jesus chose purposefully to go through Samaria, because His plan was to personally meet a most unpopular and lonely woman, outcast to Jews and even alienated from her own people. He met her beside the source of Sychar’s water, a city well. Jesus wanted very much to meet this woman, whom He had never met before. This is exactly why He “had” to go through Samaria!
In conversation with her, Jesus told her He could provide her with “living water.” This did not impress her one iota, for she knew nothing of what “living water” was; water she would have no need to keep drawing from the well. Seeing she did not grasp the meaning of “living water,” Jesus chose to show her He could really provide exactly that. So He asked her instead to go get her husband, knowing the man she lived with was not her husband.
She confirmed that she had no husband, and Jesus told her she had had five husbands, but the man she lived with right then was not her husband. This was the kicker. The woman was flabbergasted! How did Jesus know all this about her? Suddenly, all Jesus had been saying to her about living water, and worshipping everywhere in spirit and in truth, came together for her, and she realized she was in the presence of Messiah God.
This knowledge set her running toward her hometown to invite all her neighbors to pour out to the city well to meet the Messiah. She could not contain her joy. She was so genuinely convincing in her transformation that her neighbors hurried to see and hear Jesus. And He stayed there days afterward teaching and discipling them.
The story is told simply, but powerfully. Yet it is pretty much astounding, affecting the eternal destiny of an entire town, and whatever other towns in which the extended family of these Sycharians lived.
Drink much from the living water of this account of Jesus’ well of water springing up in your own soul. But just like this Samaritan woman, go and bring your own neighbors and family to the Messiah so that they might be transformed for their own eternal life.
“Like the woman at the well, I was seeking, for things that could not satisfy. And then I heard my Savior speaking, “Draw from my well that never shall run dry.”
Fill my cup, Lord, I lift it up, Lord, come and quench this thirsting of my soul. Bread of Heaven, feed me til I want no more. Fill my cup, fill it up, and make me whole.”
(1st verse of Richard Blanchard’s hymn, “Fill My Cup, Lord,” 1964)