Text: John 4:1-54, Isaiah 55:1-3
I wonder if she spotted Him from a distance, a man sitting at the well alone—her well, the one she visited daily. I wonder if, as she drew closer, she could make out Jesus’ face and recognize His nationality. A man—a Jewish man—sitting at her well?
She approached, probably confused. Maybe even a bit afraid. Then, Jesus spoke to her.
In this story from John 4, Jesus broke through at least three cultural and social barriers of His time:
1. He spoke to a woman, and traditionally, Jewish men were not to be seen conversing with women.
2. He spoke to a Samaritan, and as the Scripture says, Jews had no dealings with Samaritans at the time (v. 9).
3. He spoke to a woman He knew was an “adulteress”—a woman who had more than one husband and was with a man she wasn’t married to.
Yet, Jesus spoke to her. A woman. A Samaritan. A sinner.
And He didn’t just say hello. Over the course of their brief and profound conversation, He offered her the gift of a lifetime: living water, eternal life. “But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again,” Jesus said to her (v. 14).
“Sir,” she said, “give me this water, so that I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water” (v. 15).
There she was, standing beside the Messiah in the flesh, and she didn’t fully understand what He was telling her. She took His offer of living water literally. She didn’t get it—not yet.
I love this part so much because it paints such a real and beautiful picture of grace. You don’t have to fully “get it” to receive it.
That part is hard for me, a lifelong Christ follower, to accept. Unlike the Samaritan woman, I have the knowledge. I like to think that I know Jesus and His story, that I know the right answers and theology. But this story says the gift of Christ is for anyone who wants to receive it—no matter how little you know, how little you have been taught, or how wayward you have lived. Grace reminds us how level the playing field is.
The Samaritan woman wanted what Jesus offered. She knew this if she knew nothing else. “Give me this water,” she said. And that’s all she had to say.
That’s all we have to say, too. From the woman frantically checking all her Bible-study boxes to the woman buried under the weight of past sin and shame, this promise is for all of us. Because we’re all thirsty. We’re all weary. We are all desperate for the Jesus who stands at the well offering the exact and only thing we need.
Give me this water, we say, breathless and tired. And He does.