John Barnett

In John 4 Jesus has a fascinating talk with a most unlikely candidate for His ministry. No one could have stood in greater contrast to Nicodemus than this woman. He was a Jew, she was a Samaritan, a race that the Jews looked down on as having no claim on their God. He was a well respected man; she apparently was a woman outcast in her own community. Nicodemus was surrounded by those he taught; she came by herself to draw water from the community well. In biblical lands drawing water and chatting at the well was the social highpoint of a woman's day. In this woman's own village she was ostracized and marked off as immoral; an unmarried woman living openly with the fifth in a series of men.

All of us have heard Christ's story of the Good Samaritan. Today listen to Him introduce us to the BAD SAMARITAN. In Christ's day Orthodox Jews avoided Samaria because there was a long-standing, deep-seated hatred between them and the Samaritans. The Samaritans were a mixed race, part Jew and part Gentile, that grew out of the Assyrian captivity of the ten northern tribes in 727 B.C. So intense was their dislike of the Samaritans that some of the Pharisees prayed that no Samaritan would be raised in the resurrection!

Our Lord was no respecter of persons. Earlier, He counseled a moral Jewish man (John 33), and now He would witness to an immoral Samaritan woman! He arrived at Jacob's well at 6 o'clock in the evening, the usual time for women to come for water. In that day, it was not considered proper for any man, especially a rabbi, to speak in public to a strange woman (John 4:27). Jesus did not use a "sales talk" that He adapted to meet every situation. To Nicodemus, He spoke about new birth; but to this woman, He spoke about living water. Jesus pointed out to her that she was ignorant of three important facts: Who He was, what He had to offer, and how she could receive it. Here was eternal God speaking to her, offering her eternal life!

The Greek text suggests that he plopped himself down the way a tired man does at the end of a tough day. Jesus was always expending himself for others. Jesus not only died for her - he sweated for her!

Taken from "Like the Woman at the Well" by Discover the Book Ministries (used by permission).