So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”(For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
Today is the third Sunday of Lent. Lent is a preparation period within the church calendar where we work to prepare our hearts to reflect on the passion of Jesus on the cross and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. This is a time of both reflection (we draw Gospel realities to mind through fasting) and renewal (we work Gospel change into our hearts to transform mindsets and habits).
Through the Bible, God wants us to come to know Him and that we come to know ourselves. In today’s text, we see Jesus revealing His greatness and we learn about ourselves from this woman. We learn that He exposes our sin to help us see our great need that only He alone can meet. This Samaritan woman is a destined worshipper. Despite the woman going from one issue to the next, Jesus knows what He is doing. There is a progression in this passage:
- Jesus is the living water (verses 1-15)
- Jesus is a prophet (verses 16-19)
- Jesus is the Savior who makes true worship possible (verses 20-24)
- Jesus is the Messiah (verses 25-26)
Let’s unpack this woman’s road to repentance:
Jesus Goes After Her Heart
When Jesus said that He has living water to give to this woman, she, like Nicodemus, doesn’t see the spiritual meaning (verse 15). She thinks of the trouble it would save her from having to come out to the well in the heat of the day. So, Jesus turns the conversation (verses 16-19). He knows her public past, and He knows her secret present (verse 18).
Jesus knows that there is something in her life that makes it painful to come to this place where all the women gather and talk. She is a woman so damaged, so overcome with shame, guilt and embarrassment at how her life has turned out that she has withdrawn from society altogether. She had made herself invisible to this little community she lives in. She is at the well in the middle of the day. Nowhere in the world do women draw water from a well in the middle of the day - they come early in the morning. Shame has overtaken this woman.
He is ruthlessly going after her heart and He is not doing it gently.
Jesus Exposes Her Sin
Jesus knew that she didn’t have a husband and was now exchanging sex for rent when he asked her to go get her husband. Jesus was intentionally exposing her sin to her and to Him. He is moving into her inner life. He is forcing her to deal with the inside - the secret places - of her life. The living water that He had offered is for the inner person. This is not water that you drink with your mouth; it’s water you drink with your heart.
Jesus knows that her blindness and hardness to the inner spiritual meaning of living water is compounded by the effect of sexual and relational sin. So He is intentionally exposing her inner life. God wants her to be a worshipper, but in her present condition, she doesn’t even have a living spirit. She is dead and hard and blind. Jesus understands this condition perfectly - and always will go beyond the surface of our needs.
Jesus Exposes Her Thirst
Jesus never comes back to this issue of her adultery. He doesn’t go anywhere with it. This means that he didn’t bring it up to get closure. He didn’t bring it up to condemn her. He didn’t bring it up to rehearse the details. He brought it up to expose the thirst that she doesn’t even know she has.
No woman goes through sexual relationships with six men without either starting desperately thirsty or ending desperately thirsty. Either way, she is left with a deep emptiness and sinfulness that she seals it up to protect her heart. It is locked in darkness and Jesus moves into that darkness.
Jesus Is After Her - And You
We learn about Jesus and ourselves in this story. He is compassionate, aggressive, surgeon-like, and relentless in His love. He knows all your past and all your present. Nothing is hidden from Him. The most important person in the universe knows you completely.
Maybe you see yourself in this woman. Maybe you are:
alwaysmoving from one thing to another seeking to fill the void only Jesus can fill.
- restlessly moving through sexual partners, friends, jobs, churches, hobbies, possessions, or locations but never satisfied - always thirsty for more.
The reason the woman could not grasp the living water that Jesus offered is that she could not recognize the thirst of her own soul for Jesus. The more that she tried to quench her thirst, the more hard and blind she became to her own real need - the need for living water, for Jesus.
Jesus is after her. He intends to break through and give life and light to the core of her being. Jesus is pursuing you as well. Has he awakened you by His Word and His Spirit to see your need? Have you been chasing addictive substitutes that keep you from drinking the living water?
What should be our response when confronted with our sin? Repentance is required. Repentance is those that have rejected Jesus changing their minds (Acts 2:36-38) and putting faith in Him as Savior. It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of mind. This change of mind results in a change of action.
“...let the one who is thirsty come” - Revelation 22:17
This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing to discuss the implications of the message.
This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.
An Examined Life
As we continue to reflect on the sermon, allow these questions to guide your discussion with others concerning the conviction points and what you sensed God’s Spirit was doing in you through the preached Word. Jot notes to help you remember.
What was God doing in you through the message on Sunday?
Describe how you’ve grown in your understanding of the Gospel (good news of Jesus)?
How are you going to respond to God’s Word in your life?