Why do we do what we do? And what is it we’re really looking for? Is it not to fill some need? It seems to me that even the things that enslave us are because we’re looking for something valid, but in the wrong way. These are the questions Jesus is answering with the Samaritan woman at the well as we continue looking at “Loving Our Samaritans.”
Last time we looked at Jesus’ interactions with the “wicked” Samaritans. In Luke 9:51-56; 10:30-37, Jesus was traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem, purposely going through Samaria where there had been generations of prejudicial hatred between the Jews and Samaritans. Now, in John 4, He’s headed back north to Galilee, again, by way of Samaria.
This familiar story begins at Jacob’s well, situated outside the Samaritan city of Sychar. Jesus meets this woman who’s drawing water in the middle of the day.
But, because Jesus never avoided “appearances,” this woman was about to have a divine encounter that would not only change her life forever, but a whole city!
This story is already familiar to us, so I will pick it up where Jesus asks her for a drink of water. She responds, saying He has no bucket. Here’s what Jesus says….
13 Jesus answered, “If you drink from Jacob’s well, you’ll be thirsty again, 14 but if anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never be thirsty again. For when you drink the water I give you, it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, flooding you with endless life!”
15 The woman replied, “Let me drink that water so I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to come back here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said, “Go get your husband and bring him back here.” (John 4:13-16 TPT*)
Let me cut in here. Don’t you think Jesus’ response is rather odd? Why ask for her husband? She already wanted this water. But she needed something else first.
Back to the story…
17 “But I’m not married,” the woman answered.
“That’s true,” Jesus said, 18 “for you’ve been married five times, and now you’re living with a man who is not your husband. You have told the truth.” (John 4:17-18 TPT*)
Here’s another question: was Jesus prophetic statement meant to shame her further? Expose her sin, rub her nose in her failures, if you will? Certainly not! That’s not Jesus’ mission, nor should it be ours (see Luke 9:54-55).
She was already marginalized for her societal failures. We will meet a lot of “Samaritans” like this today. We may even be one.
On that note, I would like us to look at something else going on here that might help locate us in the story. The following is from the notes in my Bible:
“In a sense, every one is married to five husbands: our five senses. The six men speak of our fallen humanity, for six is the number of man who was created on the sixth day. Our heart can never be satisfied with what is on this earth; we must have the living water that comes from heaven. Christ is the seventh husband, the only One who satisfies.” (Notes, TPT Bible, Second Edition, Broadstreet*)
What struck me about this notation is what I said at the beginning. Why do we do what we do? We look for meaning and fulfillment, but these are not things our physical senses can give us. For instance, sex is good for physical pleasure, but it won’t give us what our soul needs—love, intimacy, and connection. Otherwise, a brothel would do the trick.
So, Jesus finds this woman, condemned for her failed relationships by her own community (In a way, they actually did call fire down on her!) Now, an outcast, feeling helpless and hopeless. There’s no rescue coming. It’s too late….
Of course, then there’s the well….
And, as it turns out, this is quite a different well!
This well quenches a very different thirst; the only one that will satisfy our soul.
In many different ways, I think Jesus has found us all living in that same fallen space as this woman. So, the following is also Jesus’ invitation to us:
14 but if anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never be thirsty again. For when you drink the water I give you, it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, flooding you with endless life!” (John 4:14 TPT*)
The last story I shared was about learning how to love our “Samaritans,” but in this story, we are the Samaritans. And Jesus wants to know if we will be loved by Him.
Hopefully, we will all have an encounter at this “well,” where we realize what our soul longs for is something that runs much deeper than what we can see, hear, feel, taste, or touch.
For what really satisfies us requires different senses. Senses of the heart—that “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)—where there is endless, overflowing life and “fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
For Christ truly is our “seventh husband.” And we belong to Him!
17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Rev.22:17 NIV)
We will continue this story next time. I will end here with a short clip from one of my favorite scenes from The Chosen series, from the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus at the well. May we, too, encounter Jesus at the well and leave our old water pots!