Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first thirty-eight verses of the fourth chapter. “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have not husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou. Now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. The woman saith unto him, Sir I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the palce where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: For salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he” (John 4:1-26).
“And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet not man said, What sleekest thou? Or, Why talkest thou with her? The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him” (John 4:27-30).
“In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not yet, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapethh receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:31-38).
When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find Jesus shifting Himself out of the land of Judaea and seeking to return unto Galilee. What makes this particular passage of Scripture so incredibly intriguing when you take the time to consider it is when you read how on His way to Galilee Jesus passed through Samaria. What’s more is that not only do we find and read that Jesus passed through Samaria, but also that Jesus needed to go through Samaria. This is something which must not be treated casually nor lightly—particularly and especially when you consider the fact that Jews did not have dealings or interactions with Samaritans. Even when Jesus encountered the Samaritan woman from the city of Sychar there at the well she was shocked and surprised that Jesus would not only choose to interact with her but also ask her for water to drink. The fourth chapter begins and opens with Jesus departing from the land and region of Judaea because He had found out how the Pharisees heard that He made and baptized more disciples than John. The apostle John goes on to write how Jesus didn’t actually baptize any disciples but rather His disciples who were with Him. In this passage we find how Jesus departed from Judaea and journeyed toward Galilee, however, in order to get to Galilee He needed to pass through Samaria. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for there was something which Jesus needed to accomplish in Samaria. The sole reason and purpose Jesus needed to go through Samaria was because there was a work that needed to take place in Samaria.
Please don’t miss the language that is found within this passage of Scripture as when the apostle John wrote how Jesus must needs pass through Samaria it wasn’t merely that Jesus needed to enter into Galilee by way of Samaria. Jesus could have very easily made the journey from Judaea unto Galilee without at all passing through Samaria. The sole reason and purpose Jesus needed to pass through Samaria was because there was a work which needed to be done in Samaria. JESUS PASS THROUGH BECAUSE THERE’S A WORK HE NEEDS TO DO WITHIN! JESUS DIDN’T PASS THROUGH TO GET TO WHERE HE WAS GOING BUT RATHER TO ENGAGE IN A WORK IN THE MIDST OF SAMARIA! In all reality we must needs recognize and understand that Jesus didn’t merely pass through Samaria to journey unto Galilee because Galilee was the ultimate destination. In all reality I would dare say that the sole reason Jesus passed through Samaria was because the ultimate destination was not Galilee but it was Samaria itself. What’s more is that I would dare say that Galilee and arriving in Galilee was secondary to Jesus actually entering in the land and region of Samaria. If I am being honest with you who are reading these words I feel compelled to declare unto you that it was Samaria and this particular well that was the destination. Even more than this I would dare say that it wasn’t merely this well that was the ultimate destination for Jesus but it was the actual town and city of Sychar which was the destination. Not only this but I would dare say that it wasn’t merely about where Jesus was headed and journeyed to but who was there at that place.
IT’S NOT ABOUT WHERE JESUS WAS GOING AS MUCH AS IT WAS WHO WAS PRESENT THERE! One thing we must needs recognize and understand is that Jesus didn’t simply need to pass through Samaria because He needed to avoid anything or anyone. Jesus could have made the journey from Judaea into Galilee without even touching or going through Samaria and yet the truth of the matter is that Jesus had great need to enter into and pass through Samaria. With this being said we must understand that the language presented here does not paint the whole picture for while the language suggests that Jesus needed to go through Samaria we must understand and recognize this as Jesus needing to enter into Samaria that He might abide and tarry there. When Jesus ordained and appointed the twelve disciples and sent them out as apostles into the midst of the cities of Israel He specifically instructed them not to go through any of the city of the Samaritans. Jesus authorized His disciples to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven and Jesus authorized His disciples to heal the sick, to cleanse the lepers, to raise the dead, to cast out unclean spirits, and to be His ambassadors and yet what we also find Him speaking and declaring unto His disciples was not to enter into any of the city of the Samaritans nor any cities of the Gentiles. It is actually quite remarkable and astonishing to read the gospel narratives and consider the fact that when Jesus ordained and appointed His twelve disciples and sent them out two by two as apostles and ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven He prohibited and forbade them from entering into any of the cities of the Samaritans. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth as it brings us face to face with the fact that while the disciples themselves could not enter into any of the cities and towns of the Samaritans Jesus Himself needed to pass through Samaria.
There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder what Jesus’ disciples thought when He spoke unto them of His desire to journey unto Galilee but also how He needed to pass through Samaria. I can’t help but wonder what went through the hearts and minds of the disciples as they were undoubtedly aware of the division which was present between the Jews and the Samaritans. The disciples themselves would have been aware of the division and schism that existed between the Jews and the Samaritans and that the Jews did not have any dealings with the Samaritans. Now what we have and find here is Jesus needing to pass through Samaria without expressing any particular reason why He needed to do so. If there is one thing we find within this passage of Scripture it’s that neither Jesus nor the apostle John gives any immediate reason why Jesus needed to pass through Samaria. The only language we find within the opening verses of this passage of Scripture is that Jesus needed to pass through Samaria and came unto a city of Samaria which was called Sychar. What’s more, is that the place where Jesus came to in Samaria was near to the parcel of ground Jacob gave unto his son Joseph. With this being said we must also understand how Jacob’s well was present in this place and it was at this well Jesus would sit down having been wearied from the journey. Oh we have a great need to pay close attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture as not only do we have Jesus passing through Samaria, and not only do we find Jesus coming unto a specific city called Sychar but we also find Jesus coming unto a very specific piece of land. That place which Jesus arrived at when coming unto Sychar was the parcel of ground which Jacob had given unto his son Joseph—something which clearly links and connects this particular area to Jacob, to Joseph, and unto Israel itself. Not only this, but we also find the apostle John mentioning a specific well which was there and that the name of this well was simply “Jacob’s well.”
RESTORATION AT THE WELL! RESTORATION AT A PLACE OF WATER! If I am being truly honest with you right now I would dare say that within this particular passage we find Jesus Himself coming unto this well which belonged unto Jacob in generations past and doing so for a very specific reason and purpose. What’s more is that Jesus would not only come to a well which belonged to Jacob but He would also come unto a very specific piece of land which Jacob had given unto his son Joseph. I am convinced we have great need of recognizing and paying close attention to this for there seems to be more taking place here than simply Jesus passing through Samaria and coming unto the city of Sychar. The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the fact that here at this well Jesus was seeking to restore the Samaritans with the Jews. I am absolutely and completely convinced that Jesus’ journey unto the region of Samaria, Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well, and ultimately Jesus’ abiding and tarrying within the city itself was designed and intended to bring about a restoration between the two groups of people. This passage itself seems to suggest that the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans and yet what we find present here is a powerful link and connection the Samaritans had with Israel. Within the region of Samaria we find a piece of ground which had in generations past belonged to and been given unto Joseph who was not only the son of Jacob but would be the son of Jacob whose name would be changed to Israel. It would be here in this place where a very specific well would be present—a well which the apostle John would refer to as Jacob’s well.
I sit here today reading the words found in this portion of Scripture and I have to admit that I am absolutely and completely captivated with what is present within it. There is within this passage of Scripture—not only an encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, and not merely the witness and testimony of Jesus reaching the city where this woman was from, but there was also a powerful tearing down of enmity which existed between the Jews and Samaritans. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found here within this passage of Scripture is the fact that there seemed to be an expectation and anticipation within the hearts of some of the Samaritans concerning the Messiah. We know that there at the well the Samaritan woman herself spoke of the Messiah and Christ which was to come and Jesus would respond unto her by emphatically declaring that He which spoke unto her was He. Pause for a moment and consider this particular truth as present here within this passage of Scripture is an incredibly powerful picture of the Messianic expectation and anticipation being present within the hearts of certain—if not many of the Samaritans. We know that this woman was aware of the promise of the Messiah for she spoke and revealed such language unto Jesus there at the well. What makes this passage of Scripture so incredibly captivating is when you consider the fact that is one of the only times when Jesus would openly acknowledge that He was the Christ and the Messiah. Even when Simon called Peter declared unto Jesus in the company and presence of the disciples that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God Jesus would instruct them not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah and the Christ. Jesus would speak forth blessing unto Simon called Peter for such a statement as it did not come from flesh and blood but from His Father which was in heaven.
The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought into the place where I get the sense that Jesus sought to pass through Samaria—and not only pass through Samaria but also sit down at a well outside a very specific city called Sychar and ultimately abide within the city for a full two days—because He sought to accomplish something very specific. I consider the words found in this passage and I can’t help but get the sense that what Jesus sought to accomplish here within the land of Samaria was something so much greater than anything the disciples or even the Samaritans could even think or imagine. I get the strong sense and the sneaking suspicion that what Jesus sought to do in this place of land which Jacob had given unto Joseph and in this place where Jacob’s well was located was to begin tearing down the enmity and the division which existed between Jews and Samaritans. In fact we know and understand when coming unto the New Testament book of Acts that the gospel and the ministry of the Holy Spirit would come unto the region of Samaria as Philip the evangelist would enter in among them with a mandate from heaven to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom of heaven. What I find myself wondering is whether or not by the time he arrived in that place there were already disciples present there. We know that Jesus not only interacted with this Samaritan woman there at Jacob’s well but we also know that Jesus would abide and spend a full two days with the men of the city of Sychar. What’s more is that when this woman left the well and her water pot behind she came unto the men of the city and not only spoke of a man who told her everything she had ever done but also that this man could very well be the Messiah and the Christ. It would be this woman’s testimony that would ultimately pique the curiosity of the men of the city and so much so that they would come unto Jesus for to hear and listen to Him. Ultimately Jesus would tarry and abide in this city for a full two days and I would dare say that He did more than simply fellowship with them but perhaps taught them and maybe even spoke concerning the kingdom of heaven.
If we are to truly understand the words and language found in this passage of Scripture I am convinced that we must begin with the understanding that not only did Jesus seek to have an encounter at Jacob’s well but He also sought to have this encounter in a place which connected Samaria to Israel. Jesus arrived at this well at the sixth hour of the day and was tired and weary from His journey and I can only assume that Jesus was indeed tired and weary from the journey because He needed to arrive at that specific place at that specific time. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus was tired and weary—not only because He had made the journey from Judaea unto Jacob’s well which was there but also because He had wearied Himself to get there for the sixth hour. I have read this passage many times and each time I read it I get the sense that Jesus was very much aware of the time of day this woman came out of the city and unto this well to draw water. With this being said I would dare say that Jesus knew the time and hour in which He needed toa arrive there at the well and sought to make sure He was there before the woman arrived. Scripture seems to indicate that Jesus not only arrived in Samaria but also arrived at Jacob’s well which was outside of the city of Sychar before the sixth hour. Scripture does not reveal what time Jesus left and if He did not leave early that morning in order to arrive here by the sixth hour. There is absolutely no indication found within this portion of Scripture that Jesus left at a specific time from Judaea but only that Jesus arrived at the well around the sixth hour. It is important we recognize and understand the concept of timing within this passage of Scripture as I firmly believe it plays a pivotal and crucial role in the overall event which would take place there at the well.
WHEN JESUS WEARIES HIMSELF TO ARRIVE BEFORE YOU DO! WHEN JESUS WEARIES HIMSELF TO MEET YOU WHERE YOU ARE! WHEN JESUS WEARIES HIMSELF TO MAKE SURE HE IS WAITING FOR YOU TO ARRIVE! WHEN JESUS WAITS FOR YOU TO ARRIVE! I would dare say that the language of Jesus being wearied from His journey and the language of the timing of His arrival which was the sixth hour is utterly and completely important for it seems to suggest that Jesus needed to arrive at that well at that precise time for to be waiting there for this woman to arrive. If you read the words found in this passage you will find the apostle John writing how Jesus who was wearied with His journey sat on Jacob’s well which was there and that it was the sixth hour. What the apostle John writes next is that there came a woman from Samaria to draw water thus suggesting that Jesus was at the well before this woman arrived. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that Jesus had wearied and exhausted Himself with the journey for He not only needed to pass through Samaria but also needed to arrive at that particular place at that specific time. I can’t help but wonder if Jesus had encouraged His disciples while they were journeying from Judaea unto Galilee and not only declared unto them that He was going into Galilee but also that He must needs go through Samaria. Moreover I can’t help but wonder if Jesus gently encouraged the disciples to keep up with Him as they journeyed from Judaea unto Galilee knowing that He had a divine appointment to keep. I am absolutely and completely convinced that Jesus knew and understood that He had a divine appointment ordained by His Father who was in heaven there at the well outside of Sychar and He needed to be there at a precise time so as to be waiting for this woman.
Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found within this passage of Scripture is that when Jesus arrived in Samaria He was wearied from the journey. Not only was Jesus wearied from the journey but He deliberately and intentionally sat down at Jacob’s well and in a place where there would undoubtedly be those who would come from the cities and towns within Samaria for to draw water out of the well. Jesus deliberately and intentionally chose to sit down at Jacob’s well which was here in Samaria knowing that it might very well have been a gathering place as men and women would come with their water pots to draw water. Not only this but I would also dare say that Jesus showed up at Jacob’s well at this particular time for He knew that this woman came unto this well at this specific time. I do not believe for one minute that it was simply by chance that this woman came unto the well at this time nor even that Jesus arrived at the well around the sixth hour. I have every inclination within my heart and mind that Jesus knew and was aware of this woman’s routing and her coming unto the well each day at a very specific time. I am convinced that Jesus came unto this well at this particular time because He knew that this woman would come with her water pot in order to draw water for herself—perhaps for the day or perhaps for the week. I have a hard time believing this woman would come unto the well once to draw forth water for an entire week as that would in and of itself been too much to carry alone and by herself. I would dare say that this woman had to routinely and regularly each day come unto the well to draw forth the water which was necessary for cooking, for cleaning and for bathing for that particular day. I am sure this woman was used to coming unto this well day after day drawing water out of it for each day’s daily use.
WHEN JESUS ENTERS INTO YOUR ROUTINE! WHEN JESUS STEPS INTO YOUR ROUTINE! WHEN JESUS ARRIVES IN YOUR ROUTINE AND WAITS FOR YOU TO SHOW UP! If there is one thing that is absolutely remarkable and astounding when reading this passage of Scripture it’s that Jesus not only seemed to enter into this woman’s routine but also seemed to show up in the midst of her routine and wait for her there. I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but find both the time of day as well as the routine of the task to be fundamentally important to understand what is taking place here. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus not only showed up at Jacob’s well at this precise time knowing that this woman would come forth from the city with her water pot to draw forth water, but Jesus also showed up at this precise time as He would enter into her routine and wait for her there. The more I read the words found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the truth that Jesus not only arrived in the place of this woman’s routine but also waited for her to arrive. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible that truly is for not only would Jesus show up in the midst of this woman’s routine but He would also be there waiting for her to show up. JESUS KNOWS YOUR ROUTINE BETTER THAN YOU DO! JESUS KNOWS YOUR SCHEDULE MORE THAN YOU DO! THE JESUS WHO IS ALREADY THERE! Oh if there is one thing I find absolutely incredible about this passage of Scripture it’s that Jesus deliberately and intentionally wearied Himself with this journey knowing He needed to arrive at this particular well by the sixth hour to be there ready and waiting for this woman. Jesus knew this woman’s routine better than she herself did and as a direct result of this He arrived at the well and sat down waiting for her.
THE JESUS WHO SITS DOWN! I absolutely love the language the apostle John writes in this passage of Scripture for the apostle writes how Jesus not only came unto this well but also how Jesus sat down on the well. The very fact that Jesus sat down on the well suggests that He was not only tired from the journey but also that He was waiting there in expectation for this woman to arrive. I do not believe for one minute that Jesus did not know this woman was going to come unto the well and that He was not waiting for her to arrive. I do not believe for one moment that Jesus sat down on the well solely because He was weary from the journey—although I do believe that He was and would have been weary after making such a journey. I absolutely love that Jesus sat down at the well for the very fact that He sat down at the well suggests that He was indeed waiting for this woman to show up and arrive. There is something truly powerful about a Jesus who not only shows up in the midst of our routine but actually sits down in the place of our routine and appears to be waiting for us to arrive. I absolutely love that when this woman from the city arrived at the well Jesus was and had already been seated at the well for she would not know at what time or what hour He had arrived. I would dare say that this woman arrived at the well and was surprised to find a man there—and not only find a man there but find a Jewish man there. I can’t help but think that this woman was entirely and altogether surprised to come unto the well and find someone sitting at the well. Moreover, this man who was sitting at the well would not have had a water pot with him and was obviously not there for the water. I DIDN’T COME FOR THE WATER! I DIDN’T COME TO DRAW WATER OUT OF THE WELL! THE WATER IN THE WELL IS OF NOT INTEREST TO ME! THE WATER IN THE WELL IS SECONDARY!
The words and language found in this passage of Scripture are entirely and altogether remarkable when you take the time to read them for here we have Jesus sitting down at Jacob’s well—not only without any water pot with Him but also seeming to have no reason or purpose to be there. I can’t help but wonder if this woman thought and wondered within herself what possible reason Jesus could and would have to be there at the well. I find myself wondering if this woman was so used to coming unto the well alone and by herself and was utterly shocked when on this particular day there was a man sitting down on the well. What was it like for this woman as she drew nearer and closer to the well and saw a man sitting down upon it? What was it like when she showed up at the well and not only recognized that it was a man who was sitting down at the well but also that it was a Jewish man? Oh there is something truly captivating and powerful when reading this passage of Scripture for there is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus showed up at this well and arrived to at the precise time He did knowing the work that needed to be accomplished there. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus showed up at this well at the precise time He did that He might enter into this woman’s routine and simply wait there for her to arrive. I read the words found in this passage and I am brought to the place where I believe Jesus made His way unto Samaria and came unto this well and sat down upon it for He deliberately and intentionally sought to be there in that place for this woman to arrive with her water pot. I am absolutely convinced Jesus came unto this well and sat down upon it around the sixth hour because He was deliberately and intentionally waiting for this woman to show up that He might speak unto her and completely transform her life from that moment on.
Transitioning back to an earlier statement I made about Jesus showing up at Jacob’s well near a parcel of ground which Jacob had given unto his son Joseph I would like to declare that Jesus came unto this place—not only to visit the link which existed between this place and Israel but also to begin tearing down the divide which existed between Samaritans and Jews. In fact we know from within the New Testament gospel of Luke that Jesus told a parable which highlighted a Samaritan who demonstrated what it was like to be a neighbor as in the parable he was the only one who stopped to care for one who had been wounded, robbed, beaten and left for dead. Moreover it is in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the physician Luke that we find ten lepers who came unto Jesus and how Jesus instructed them to go their way and show themselves unto the priest for their cleansing. As these ten lepers went their way they were immediately cleansed of their leprosy and yet only one of them turned back and returned unto Jesus. Luke makes it perfectly clear that this lone leper who returned unto Jesus having been cleansed by Him was indeed and was in fact a Samaritan. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as I am convinced there were signs within the gospels that Jesus was beginning to tear down the wall of enmity and division which was present between the Jews and the Samaritans. What’s more is that in another place we find Jesus and His disciples passing through a city of the Samaritans and how they did not receive Him. Of course we know that James and John whom Jesus referred to as “the sons of thunder” asked for permission to call down fire from heaven upon them and how Jesus spoke to them of the dangerous spirit they were operating out of. Oh there is absolutely no denying the fact that within the gospels Jesus set out to begin to tear down the wall of enmity and division which was present within the hearts and minds of the Jews and Samaritans.
I read the words found in this passage of Scripture and I am absolutely convinced that Jesus’ journey into Samaria was about so much more than simply His needing to encounter this woman at the well. I am convinced that this woman might have very well been the key to the city of Sychar and when Jesus arrived at the well and sat down He recognized and understood that she was the key to the city. It is quite clear from this passage that this woman had a tremendous amount of influence in the city as the men of the city responded well to her when she spoke of a man who had told her everything she had ever done and how this man might indeed be the Messiah. The words presented before us in this passage of Scripture are quite remarkable and astonishing as I would dare say that this woman was perhaps the key to this city and to the men of the city and that this city might very well have been the key to Samaria itself. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that when Jesus came to and entered into the region of Samaria and sat down at the well He must have known within His heart and spirit that this woman held great influence within the city of Sychar. There is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus recognized and understood that this woman held a great deal of influence among the men of this city as when you read the words presented before us you find the men responding favorably to her words and her report. Oh Jesus would show up at Jacob’s well there in Samaria knowing full well that this woman would indeed come unto it with her water pot ready to draw forth water out of the well. Jesus would be there at the well ready and waiting for this woman to arrive for there was a great work which needed to take place there at the well.
As I sit here today thinking about and considering the words found in this passage I can’t help but think about the fact that Jesus’ journey into the region of Samaria was a powerful demonstration of the divine will of the Father to begin tearing down the wall of enmity and division which existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. The words presented here in this passage not only speak of the Messianic expectation which was present within the hearts and minds of the Samaritans, but also of Jesus’ apparent desire to being tearing down that wall of enmity that existed between these two classes of people. In all reality I would dare say that what we find in this passage of Scripture must needs be considered within the day and generation in which we are presently living as division is at an all time high within this nation. If you have paid attention to the events which have taken place within this nation over the past year plus you will find that tensions and division have perhaps never been at their highest since now. Over the past year we have seen tension and division in politics, we have seen tension and division in gender, we have seen tension and division in race, we have seen tension and division in the Middle East, and so much more. Perhaps one of the greatest headlines over the past year has not necessarily been a global pandemic but rather the tension, the turmoil and the chaos that has been present among men and women within this nation and the nations of the world. The “Black Lives Matter” movement has skyrocketed and catapulted to exponential heights within the past year and I would dare say that it has never been at a higher place than it has in recent months. The call for racial and gender equality have dominated the media and social media over the past year and what has been called “Cancel Culture” has been heavily involved in the process of silencing anyone who dares speak out against such realities and might come across as being intolerant, racist, bigoted and the like.
I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and am brought face to face with the truly wonderful and powerful truth that Jesus sought to enter into the region of the Samaritans because He was beginning to tear down the wall of division which was present between the Jews and the Samaritans. I firmly believe that this encounter at the well was about so much more than just this woman who came forth with her water pot but was also about Jesus beginning to open the door unto the Samaritans. I would dare say this woman was the key to the men of the city of Sychar and that she was the key to the men of the city and that this city might very well have been the key to unlocking Samaria. When you come to the final chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus once more authorizing and giving power unto His disciples whom He had previously authorized and ordained as apostles and ambassadors for the kingdom of heaven. In the final verses of the twenty-eighth chapter of the gospel written by the apostle Matthew we find Jesus declaring unto the disciples how all power was given unto Him in heaven and in earth. As a direct result and because of this He instructed them to go and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost teaching them to observe all things whatsoever He had commanded them. Not only this but Jesus also promised that He would be with them always even unto the end of the world. What’s more is that when you come to the first and opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find Jesus once more speaking unto the disciples and His followers concerning their being endued with power from on High when the promise of the Father is manifested. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament book of Acts:
“And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, AND IN SAMARIA, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:4-8).
We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for not only did Jesus speak of being baptized with the Holy Spirit, and not only did Jesus speak of being endued with power after the Holy Ghost came upon them, but Jesus also spoke unto them of their being witnesses unto Him. This reality and concept of their being witnesses for and unto Him is something which we must needs recognize and pay close attention to as Jesus didn’t merely declare unto them how they would be witnesses unto him in Jerusalem but also how they would be witnesses unto Him in Samaria. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that when Jesus came unto Samaria in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John He came as a means to begin tearing down the wall of enmity and division which took place between the Jews and the Samaritans. Within and during those days there was undoubtedly a division which was present between the religious class and the publicans, between the religious class and the prostitutes, between the religious class and the lepers, and between the religious class and those who perhaps did not honor and instead violated their traditions and rules. What’s more is that there was also a division which was present between the Jews and the Samaritans as neither party had any interaction with each other during those days. So great was this division and schism that the Jews would not enter into Samaria and the Samaritans would not enter into Judaea so as to entirely and altogether avoid each other.
The words and language that is found in this passage of Scripture is entirely and altogether captivating when you take the time to truly read it as it paints a powerful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ deliberately and intentionally passing through Samaria—and not only passing through, but in the process of passing through actually stopping and sitting down. If you take the time to read the words presented before us in this portion of Scripture you will find that what began with Jesus needing to pass through Samaria would ultimately result in his sitting down in Samaria and sitting down upon Jacob’s well which was outside the city of Sychar. Jesus would sit down upon that well seeking to meet with this woman who would come unto it with her water pot to draw forth water. With this being said I would dare say that when Jesus came unto this well and sat down He not only knew that this woman would come unto the well but He also knew that she would be and was influential within the city. There is not a doubt in mind mind when reading the words found in this passage that Jesus came unto Jacob’s well here in Samaria knowing that this woman would indeed come forth out of the city with her water pot. In fact it is when you read the words presented in this passage you will discover that when Jesus asked this woman to go and get her husband she responded by declaring she had no husband. Jesus heard her words and confirmed what she had that she had no husband for she had five husbands and the man whom she was presently with was not her husband. Scripture is clear that this woman was undoubtedly one who had attempted five different relationships and each relationship ended up in divorce. Five different time this woman would attempt to enter into and engage in covenant and commitment with someone and five times it had ended in divorce.
It is one thing for this woman to be with a man who wasn’t here husband and Jesus to encounter her at the well, however it is something entirely different for this woman to have had five husbands prior to the man she was with. Perhaps the question that warrants being asked is why each of these marriages failed. It’s one thing to have one marriage fail before entering into and engaging in another relationship, however, it’s something altogether different to have five different marriages fail. What’s more is I can’t help but find myself asking what this woman was truly looking for when she entered into relationship with each of these men and would ultimately end up marrying them. How long did this woman know each of these men before she would ultimately end up being married to them? How long did each marriage actually last before it would ultimately wind up in divorce? What were the reasons each of these marriages failed? Not only this but I find myself asking the question of what this woman was indeed looking for when she entered into relationship with each of these men. What was it like when she first met and encountered these men? I can’t help but think about the fact that this woman had indeed encountered each of these five men and potentially saw something in them that would ultimately allow her to enter into the covenant of marriage with them—a covenant that would inevitably result in divorce.
WHEN JESUS SHOWS UP IN THE PLACE OF FAILED MARRIAGE(S)! WHEN JESUS SHOWS UP IN THE PLACE OF FAILED RELATIONSHIP(S)! I have to admit that one thing I absolutely love about this particular passage of Scripture is how Jesus not only showed up in the place of routine for this woman but He also showed up in the place of failed relationships and failed marriages. This woman didn’t merely show up at the well being with one man who wasn’t her husband but she showed up to this well having been with five different men who were her husband to her. This woman showed up having been on her sixth relationship after the previous five had failed. What I so absolutely love about this passage of Scripture is that Jesus showed up in this place of failed relationships and failed relationships and offered her something that was much greater than anything she thought she had found in any of those relationships. There is not a doubt in my mind this woman was searching for something within each of these relationships and quite possibly even thought she had found it while in each of them. I would dare say that this woman spent a considerable amount of her time searching for something she thought she would and could find in these relationships and yet each time she discovered that she came up short and found wanting. The more I think about the words found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the fact that this woman would perhaps even be in this present relationship and either be searching for something she hadn’t found in the previous five and/or even thinking she had found something different with this man. Here we find Jesus showing up in this woman’s. life—not only in the place of routine, and not only in the place of daily need, but also in the place of failed relationships.
I have previously written about this particular narrative and have found myself thinking that it wasn’t at all about drawing water out of Jacob’s well which was present outside of the city of Sychar. If you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you get the strong sense and impression that was is present here is not so much physical water being drawn out of the well but rather that which was drawn out of this woman and from the depths of her heart and soul. There is not a doubt in my mind that this woman would come to this well expecting to draw water out of this well and had absolutely no idea that she would be the well and that Jesus would draw forth out of her. The words presented here in this passage are absolutely remarkable when you take the time to consider them as they bring us face to face with the fact that Jesus showed up at Jacob’s well in Samaria—not because He cared anything for the actual water that was in the well but that he might draw out of the well that was inside of this woman and offer her living water. You cannot read the words found in this passage and not encounter the incredibly awesome and powerful truth that while it was indeed true this woman came unto the well to draw forth physical water it would be Jesus who would come to the well to draw water out of the well that was her heart and soul. Jesus would show up after five failed marriages and while this woman was presently in a relationship with a sixth man and it would be within and from that place He would seek to draw forth out of her heart and soul. What we must needs understand is that Jesus never condemned this woman for having been with five men and now being with a sixth who was not her husband. Jesus didn’t condemn this woman for being divorced five times any more than He condemned the woman who was caught in the act of adultery.
Oh as I read the words found in this passage of Scripture I can’t help but encounter the tremendous truth that although this woman had indeed been with five different men who were her husbands and was now with a sixth man who was her husband Jesus did not and would not condemn her. Jesus could have very easily condemned this woman for having been married and divorced five different times and yet there is absolutely no. indication that He has any desire or intention in condemning her. In all reality this is in direct alignment with the words which are found in the previous chapter when Jesus would declare unto Nicodemus that the Father did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. How incredibly powerful it is to think about the fact that Jesus could have shown up here at Jacob’s well in Samaria and condemned this woman for having had five husbands and yet there is absolutely no indication that Jesus had any motive or intention for doing so. In our culture and society there are a number of men and women who have experienced at least one divorce and people might think and feel a certain way after someone walks through and experiences divorce for the first time. There are others who have not only been married once and divorced once, but they have attempted marriage again and have found themselves being divorced a second time. There is language throughout movies and television shows about first, second, third husbands and first, second and third wives, and it is actually quite intriguing to see how prevalent divorce has become in our culture and society. What we find within this passage of Scripture is this woman who was not only married five times but also divorced times. Not only this but it is quite possible that this woman might very well have ended up marrying this man who would have been her sixth husband.
The words which are presented before us in this passage of Scripture are truly incredible when you take the time to read them for although this woman had five different husbands and was presently with a sixth man who wasn’t her husband Jesus didn’t show up to speak about her love life. Jesus didn’t show up in Samaria seeking to speak to this woman about her relationships and how each of these relationships had failed and what led to them falling apart. Jesus didn’t begin asking this woman questions about each of these five marriages and asking her how long she was with each man before it ultimately ended up in divorce. Jesus didn’t ask this woman questions regarding what caused these marriages and relationships to fail. Jesus didn’t ask this woman how long she waited between each marriage before giving herself in covenant and intimacy with another man. Jesus didn’t condemn this woman for essentially giving herself in marriage and intimacy to five different men. Scripture is unclear whether or not this woman was a promiscuous woman and might very well have been sleeping with and yet we find absolutely no record or mention of Jesus asking this woman if she was. If there is one thing that is so absolutely incredible about this particular portion of Scripture it’s that nowhere in the encounter Jesus had with this woman is there any condemnation toward her for having been married to five different men and being divorced five different times. Despite the fact that it clearly states in Scripture that God hates divorce and that Moses gave the bill of divorcement because of the hardness of men’s hearts Jesus didn’t show up in this woman’s life to condemn her for her past mistakes and/or failures. In order to understand just how incredibly powerful this truly is I would like to draw and call your attention to the words which are found in the third chapter of this New Testament gospel, as well as the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Romans, as well as the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the second epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the Corinthian saints. Consider if you will the following words concerning this concept of condemnation:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that love us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-39).
“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:13-19).
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet not henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).
Each of these passages help illustrate the powerful truth that the Father did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. It is absolutely astonishing to read the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the gospel written by John for in the chapter immediately following such a declaration we find Jesus choosing not to condemn this woman who had been married and divorced five times. Jesus did not show up in Samaria and into this place which might have already been a place of contention and division seeking to condemn this woman of her past sins, her past indiscretions, her past failures and her past mistakes. There is something we must. Needs recognize concerning this as one of the greatest tragedies that is found in our culture and society today is men and women who enter into places of contention, strife, tension and division and seek to exercise judgment, condemnation, accusation and the like in the midst. As if the tension between Jews and Samaritans wasn’t already heightened as it is Jesus did not enter into Samaria to compound and make matters worse by condemning this woman. I would dare say that even when Jesus spoke unto this woman declaring how she had five husbands and the man she was presently with was not her husband He did so with full love and compassion within His heart. I do not believe for a single moment that Jesus entered into Samaria, sat down on this well and came unto this woman to condemn and judge her for her past relationships—relationships which she might have still been dealing with the repercussions from. This woman might very well have still been dealing with the emotional, mental and perhaps even physical wounds and scars of those past relationship and Jesus did absolutely nothing that would have exacerbated those wounds she might have been carrying.
With all of this being said I find it absolutely incredible that Jesus didn’t enter into a place where there most likely was already tension and division and introduce condemnation and judgment. Jesus did not show up as a Jew from Judaea or even Galilee with a grudge and score to settle and hurl insults, condemnation, judgment, accusation and criticism upon this woman. Jesus did not show up demonstrating Himself to be another man in this woman’s life who might very well have assaulted and attacked her with His words. Jesus did not enter into this place which might have been characterized by tension, enmity and division and seek to further compound the situation by lobbying condemnation at this woman. Oh I have to admit that this passage is so remarkable and astonishing when you take the time to consider it for in the previous chapter Jesus would Himself declare that the Father did not send the Son into the world to condemn it but that the world through Him might be saved. This passage is incredibly provocative in that in a palce where you might think Jesus would have found reason to accuse and condemn this woman He instead chose to offer her to drink from living water. In all reality I am convinced that what we find here is something that is so desperately needed in our culture and society today—namely offers of and offers for living water made in places of division, tension, chaos and enmity. There is perhaps no greater place where this offer of living water is needed than in this present culture and society where there is so much tension and division over race, over gender, over political affiliation, over religious affiliation, and the like. This country is and has been incredibly divided and has perhaps never been more divided in its history than it is now. It would be very easy for men and women to enter into such division and tension and further compound situations by hurling insults at the left or hurling insults at the right and yet to do such a thing would not only be dangerous but might very well be catastrophic.
There have been far too many individuals—both within the political sphere as well as outside the political sphere—who have compounded the already dangerous division and tension within this country by stroking and stoking the fires of condemnation, the fires of judgment and the fires of accusation. When Jesus came to Samaria and interact with this woman He knew she had been with five different men and that the man she was presently with was not her husband. Jesus knew that this woman had been divorced five times and what the Law declared and yet He did not show up in Samaria seeking to condemn and judge this woman. Jesus did not show up in Samaria and at Jacob’s well seeking to bring judgment and accusation against this woman no more than He exercised judgment and condemnation against the woman who was caught in the act of adultery. It is both wonderful and beautiful to consider the words which are found in the fourth and eighth chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by John for in the fourth chapter we don’t find Jesus condemning this woman for divorce and in the eighth chapter we don’t find Jesus condemning this woman for adultery. Pause for a moment and truly take the time to think about what is being presented here in these passages for the same Jesus who declared that the Father did not send the Son into the world to condemn it was the same Jesus who would not condemn a woman who was a five time divorcee nor a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Instead of offering the woman who had been divorced five times condemnation and judgment Jesus offered her living water and instead of offering the woman who had been caught in the act of adultery accusation and condemnation He offered her pardon and freedom to go and sin no more.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close we must needs be aware of that which is found in this portion of Scripture for what is before us is Jesus who was willing to enter into a region where tension and enmity might very well have been an all time high and instead of hurling condemnation and judgment He offered living water. Pause for a moment and think about how incredibly powerful it is that Jesus could enter into a region where there might very well have been tension and division—even as one whom those in the region had no dealings with—and instead of offering condemnation and judgment He offered living water and everlasting life. There is not a doubt in my mind that what is so absolutely critical in our culture and society right now is men and women to enter into those situations and those places of division, tension, enmity, malice, hatred, anger and the like and offer living water. This world does not need men and women who are going to enter into these situations and introduce judgment, accusation, condemnation, criticism, and the like. This world doesn’t need men and women who will so-called stand up to the political realms and powers of today and lobby insults, accusations, judgment and condemnation against them. This culture and society doesn’t need men and women who are going to accuse, judge and condemn the left and it does not need men and women who are going to condemn and accuse the left. This world does not need men and women who are going to accuse Catholics who will accuse Baptists who will accuse Methodist who will accuse Mormons who will accuse Christians who will accuse Muslims and on and on the cycle goes. This country does not need men and women who will accuse, judge and condemn transgender individuals, nor those who identity themselves as homosexual or bisexual.
With all of this being please note and understand that I am in no way suggesting or implying that the Father and the Son condone sin and that they do not hate the sin itself. There is a vast difference between hating the sin and loving the sinner. What I am referring to in this particular place is that instead of engaging ourselves in “peaceful” and “lawful” and “rightful” protest we actively arm and engage ourselves in campaigns of living water and campaigns of eternal life. What would have happened over the past year if instead of men and women—particularly and especially Christians—had chosen to commit themselves to going out and offering eternal life and living water instead of creating signs and perhaps even shouting at the top of their lungs. I am absolutely and completely convinced that if those who professed themselves to be Christians—particularly and especially when the church buildings closed and protest began taking place—had gone out and offered men and women living water and eternal life we would have seen an incredible transformation. Even if the entire nation and country didn’t experience transformation I am convinced that it would have experienced it to a certain degree and measure. Oh there were many within the church who committed themselves to joining in the protests and marches believing it was their right and their duty to do so and yet such a way of thinking is nowhere in Scripture. Which is the greater duty, the greater right, and the greater responsibility you as a disciple and follower of Christ have—protesting and aligning yourselves with those who go forth with signs and flags and bull horns and the like, or going out and being a powerful witness for compassion, for grace, for mercy, for love, for affection and the like? What would and what could have been accomplished over the past year if professing Christians took the church buildings being closed as a sign in and of itself that ministry was going to be needed in the home and in the streets?
I bring this writing to a close by highlighting Jesus’ entrance and time in Samaria for not only did He enter into a region where there would have been skepticism and perhaps even tension but He also entered into a situation where a woman had been divorced five times. Please don’t miss and lose sight of how critical and important this truly is—particularly and especially when we think about everything we have faced as a nation over the past year’s time. There is absolutely no doubt that we have experienced a tremendous amount of tension, chaos, division, confusion, unrest, and the like, and that men and women have given themselves over to an exacerbated amount of condemnation, judgment, accusation, criticism and so much more. The truth of the matter is that what is so absolutely necessary and critical during the days and times in which we live in are men and women who like Jesus can enter into situations where there is tension, where there is unrest, where there is chaos, where there is division, and the like and bring forth living water. There needs to be men and women full of the tender mercies and grace of the LORD who will truly and willingly love their neighbor—and not only their neighbor but also those who might be perceived as enemies—as themselves. There is a great need for men and women who love God first and who love God primarily draw from that love which He has shed abroad within their hearts and to extend powerful and unending offers for living water and eternal life. This world doesn’t need more protests. This world doesn’t need more meetings. This world doesn’t need more councils. This world doesn’t need more peace talks. This world doesn’t need more agendas. This world doesn’t need more planning. What this world needs is men and women who are armed with compassion, men and women who are armed with grace, and men and women who are armed with the love of God and a love for their neighbor that they might indeed enter into any situation—regardless of how volatile, divisive, chaotic and turbulent it might be—and extend living water and eternal life for all those whom God so loved the world that He gave Him that whosoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.