Chapter 6 - Give Me A Drink
Helen Dowd

John 4:4-5 – "But He needed to go through Samaria…So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well…"

Note: NKJV is used for this story. Passages in blue italics are direct quotes from the Scriptures. Jesus' words are always direct quotes.

Historical setting:
About 27 A.D.
Place: Judea
Persons: Jesus and The Woman
Scripture: John 4

Much controversy arose amongst John's disciples regarding who converted and baptized the more people, John or Jesus. John reminded his followers of what he had said previously: that he must decrease and Christ must increase. The fact is: Jesus did not baptize; His disciples did. However, to stop the pressure John was receiving, Jesus left Judea to go again to Galilee. The shortest route from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north was through Samaria. Generally Jews did not go through Samaria. They always took the longer route, going along the Jordan River, in order to get to Galilee. The Jews and the Samaritans had been enemies since the days of Exile when the Northern Kingdom was exiled to Assyria. The king of Assyria had repopulated the area with captives from other lands. Result: marriage between Jews and foreigners equalled Samaritans. To the pure Jews, these people were an abomination. But Jesus had no such bias.

* * *

Jesus and His disciples were tired, hot, thirsty and hungry. While His disciples went into town to buy food, Jesus sat down on the well. The well was deep and He had no bucket to bring up the water, but that is not what kept Jesus from taking a drink. He knew the purpose of His being here, and here she came now.

"Give me a drink," Jesus said to the woman.

"What?" The woman looked up from where she had just set her waterpots. "What did you say?" she repeated. She hadn't paid any attention to the Man sitting on the side of the well. After all, people sat there often, just resting. So when she looked again at the Man she noticed that He was a Jew. "Did You, being a Jew, just ask of me, a Samaritan, for a drink? I don't believe it! Jews never talk to us."

Jesus looked kindly at the woman. "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

Now this was ridiculous! Anyone knew that there is no way to get water from this well without something to draw it up with. She looked at the Man sitting there and said, "With all due respects, Sir, I can see you have no bucket to pull up the water. Can you not see how deep the well is? And what do you mean, 'Living water'? You can't tell me that You are greater than Jacob, who dug this well in the first place, and drank from it himself, and watered his livestock at it, and passed it on down the line to his descendents. You can't tell me that You are greater than he."

Jesus didn't answer her remark directly. He simply said: "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

What was this Man talking about? "Oh Sir!" the woman cried. "Give me this water. How wonderful it would be to have my thirst quenched without coming daily to draw water from this well. Oh, please give me this water."

Jesus looked the woman in the eye and said, "Go, call your husband, and come here."

Who was this Man, anyway? Why was He asking about her husband? The woman stole a quick glance at Jesus, and then looked away. But despite her habit of lying to people about her living situation, she felt she must tell this Man the truth. She looked squarely at Him and replied: "Sir, I do not have a husband." Quickly she turned back to her water drawing, thinking that this would be the last she would hear from the Man. She was embarrassed to face Him after her confession.

But to her surprise He was speaking again: "You have well said,' I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."

The woman was shocked. She had never seen this Man in her life. How did He know her sordid past? Was He psychic? She looked at Him and said, "Sir, are You a Prophet? You must be. Are You some left over ghost of the past? Our fathers used to worship here on this mountain—in days long ago. Oh, I know you Jews now say that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, but we can't go there. We are Samaritans and would be driven off." It seemed that the woman wanted to just keep on talking so that this Man would not drag up any more of her past. But Jesus was speaking again.

He said to her: "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

"Oh, I know all that Sir," the woman replied. She had heard these things from her childhood. "I know that the Messiah is coming. His name is Christ. And I know that when He comes He will tell us everything."

Jesus looked at the woman, who, slightly annoyed, had gone back to filling her water pots. He simply said: "I who speak to you am He."

Just then the disciples came back from town with the food. They stood gaping at Jesus. He was talking to a Samaritan? Jews did NOT talk to Samaritans. What was He thinking? Why was He talking to her? But not one of them dared to ask.

Jesus sat serenely on the well. Although His disciples handed him something to eat, He didn't touched it. "Teacher, EAT," they urged.

But He said to them: "I have food to eat of which you do not know."

Puzzled, the disciples looked at each other. Had this woman brought Him food? And had He eaten it? A Samaritan woman giving their Master food? And He, being a Jew, accepting it? This is incredible. This just does not happen!

But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true; 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."

In the meantime, the woman left her pots at the well and rushed back home. She ran to her men-friends and shouted: "Come and meet this Man that I ran into at the well. Would you believe it? He sat there and told me all my squalid past, but He did not condemn me. He offered me water that I could drink that would quench my thirst for all things, and forever. Do you suppose this is the promised Christ?"

While the disciples ate their food in silence, trying to digest what their Master had told them, a crowd of people approached the well, and with them, the woman Jesus had been talking to. She had returned to her hometown and had spread the word of the Messiah. Her acquaintances listened. They knew this woman's reputation for lying--amongst other sins--but their interest piqued when they saw the look in her eyes. They must go see this Man.

The group of men and women from the city of Sychar stood enthralled at what this Teacher had to say. They forgot all about the fact that He was a Jew. They forgot all about the reputation of the woman who had heralded the news. Their hearts drank in the "Living Water" and many believed on Christ.

As the group returned to the city, they said to the woman: "It is not what you told us that has made us believe; you have never told a truth in your life. No. We believe because we have seen Him with our own eyes and heard with our own ears. This indeed is the Christ, the Savior of the world."

So the Good News of the Gospel of Christ was spread to Samaria.


© Helen Dowd

Continue with Study 7


Return to Index of Articles ]