A word for the heart

with Alan Bailey

John 4:4-26


Samaritan woman
Good News Productions International and College Press Publishing

Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.


In our last study we read about Jesus and His disciples travelling north from Judea. Now we see them pausing at a place called Sychar. The events there are quite fascinating.

Verse 4 Now He had to go through Samaria. So He came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

The people of Samaria were generally not liked by Jews. They were related to Jews but were regarded as inferior. Jacob was the father of Israel's twelve tribes and Joseph his famous son. So the well was an old landmark. We note that Jesus showed tiredness from the long journey indicating His humanness. The time was 9 in the morning.

Verses 7-9 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan women said to Him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus' request for a drink seems a simple enough thing. But what the woman pointed out was that it was not the custom for men to talk to women in public, and certainly not for a Jew to speak to a Samaritan. We know that Jesus was not subject to common practices. He gave women a high status and didn't hold racist views.

Verse 10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

The answer Jesus gave was calculated to start a conversation so that she could hear the good news of the Gospel. Notice that He is gentle with her, not being as direct as He was with Nicodemus (Ch 3). Of course, the 'living water ' He was talking about was a symbol of the everlasting life He could give.

Verses 11 & 12 "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

Jesus has aroused her curiosity. She was thinking in terms of water as we know it but perhaps with a difference. Jesus, however, wanted to get her attention and teach her truth. She was listening.

Verses 13 & 14 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to everlasting life."

There is a thirst inside all of us that cannot be satisfied with anything except what God can give us. People of all ages have tried all kinds of things to meet inner longings. Jesus is saying that there is a stream of life which fully satisfies. Only He can give it. This woman still had not yet grasped what He means.

Verses 15-18 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." He told her, "Go call your husband and come back." "I have no husband, " she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.

The woman still is thinking of some special water that prevents future thirst. But the Lord is about to lead her further into understanding. His reference to her husband is to open the door to discussion and to reveal her need. Her life had been obviously very stormy and unhappy. Not often does Jesus use special powers to possess intimate personal knowledge of individuals. There are only a few cases in the New Testament.

Verses 19 & 20 "Sir." the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is Jerusalem."

The Samaritan has now seen that Jesus is a spiritual man speaking of spiritual things. But immediately she wants to shift the conversation away from herself,

She brings up an old sore point that Samaritans and Jews had argued over. There was a low mountain nearby which she referred to.

Verses 21-23 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.

Israel was the nation God chose to reveal himself to. The Jews had the law of God. But Jesus speaks of a blessing of all peoples, namely the Gospel of God's grace. Worship is then from the heart, not depending on any special places.

Verses 24-26 God is a Spirit, and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth." The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When He comes He will explain everything to us." Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am He."

The conversation is reaching the point the Lord wanted it to reach. We will see in the next study some of the consequences


God is interested in the individual. Christ went out of His way to meet this needy woman. He will also meet the needs of each one of us who is thirsty for the truth.

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