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Woman at the Well - John 4

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Woman at the Well

John 4

Sunday Evening Large Group Bible Study

John 4:1-42

4:1 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

No short cut to Galilee – to avoid Samaria, they would have to travel to Jericho, cross the Jordan, then up to the Sea of Galilee

Jacob was a common ancestor.  Samaritans were mixed blood.

6th hour – about noon – in the heat of the day

Jesus’ humanist – he was hot and tired.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?"  8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Samaritans were unclean – eating with a Samaritan a Jew would risk becoming unclean.  A Samaritan woman – as codified in the Mishnah (66 AD) a generation later, was always unclean – from the cradle.  Therefore to drink for her ladle a jew would become ceremonial unclean.

Not only that, this woman had a questionable background – why was she there in the middle of the day  - alone, not in the cooler morning or evening hours with the other women?

Contrast with chap 3 –Nicodemus

      He came to Jesus                 Jesus came to her

      He was high class            she was low class

      He came at night                  Jesus came in the middle of the day

      His visit was theological hers was practical

      He was a Jew - clean         she was a Samaritan woman - unclean

What ever /whoever Jeus touches become clean.

      Touches the leper, the lame, the blind

      Jesus reach across barriers and social taboos – even democrats and republicans.

10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

Jesu – like the Nicodemus – cuts to the chase:

Living water – eternal life.


        What is the gift of God?

        What is this living water?

The big question – who is this guy?

11 "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

She obviously had no clue as to what this living water was.

Are you greater than our father Jacob?  In the Greek- this is a rhetorical question with “NO” as the expected answer.

13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Even though the woman’s questioned with a little skepticism, Jesus answers.

15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

Jesus is trying to draw her into eternal matters, but like Nicodemus, her thinging is limited.  She still has no clue as to who Jesus is and what He is about.

1 Cor 2:14 NIV

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Now Jesus, not changing the subject, goes for a more basic problem

16 He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

17 "I have no husband," she replied.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

Jesus knows all.

19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

Wow, you must be a prophet, mind reader, or really smart!  Let me ask you a tough question! 

No repentance or seeking forgiveness here.  Let’s play stump the dummy.

Lets move past this embarrassing sin question.

Still no clue as to who Jesus is.

21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Whole books have been written on Jesus’ response.

Salvation is from the Jews.

Worship is no longer confined to the temple.  (Destroyed in 70AD) but is “in Spirit and in Truth.”

God seek true worshippers.

What is truth?  John 14:6  "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


Is Spirit because God is Spirit – worship must be from the depths of our being.

25 The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

26 Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

Jesus disclosure of himself carried too many political and military baggages to the Jews.  Not a problem to the Samaritans.

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

What is the matter here?  This woman has never attended a witnessing class. 

Plus she forgot her water jug

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."

32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."

33 Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?"

Ever do something so exhilarating that you forgot about the time, food, drink, etc?

34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."

Look around – the harvest is now!

Matt 9:35-38

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."


39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."


Salvation is for all.

Rev 7:9

9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.


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