John 4:1-44 – The Woman at the Well

Dear Friends,

This week we come to the curious case of the woman at the well. For some reason, I have always pictured her speaking with a Cockney accent. After all, we are reading an English translation. I don’t know what she sounded like in Aramaic, but I suspect Cockney may serve as a good dynamic equivalent in English.

Give us understanding Lord, as we read your precious word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

John 4:1-44
1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.

Those Pharisees are fixing to cause some trouble, so Jesus moves on from Judea before they have a chance to.

4 And he must needs go through Samaria.

The must needs here is not a matter of geography. Jews often took the route on the other side of Jordan to the west, not only because they did not like the Samaritans, but probably also for safety reasons. (Luke 10:30) Jesus, however, felt that ministering the gospel to the Samaritans was a must needs priority. Instead of taking the safe way, Jesus goes straight through the heart of Samaria.

5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

There are two methods of timekeeping used in the gospels, Roman and Jewish. In John’s account of the crucifixion he uses Roman time, which starts counting at midnight. John therefore says that Pilate handed Jesus over for crucifixion at the sixth hour, or 6 AM. (John 19:14-16) Mark, on the other hand, uses Jewish time which begins counting at sunrise (around 6 AM). Mark’s Gospel says it was the third hour when they crucified Jesus, or 9 AM. (Mark 15:25) Three hours transpired in between the time Jesus was handed over by Pilate for crucifixion and when they actually crucified Him on Calvary. If John was consistent in his method of timekeeping that would mean Jesus met the woman at the well at 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM, rather than noon as is commonly supposed. It’s possible that Jesus and his disciples traveled by night and arrived at Sychar in the morning. It’s also possible that John only used Roman time for his account of the crucifixion, since it involved a Roman trial. More here.

7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

When Rebecca met Abraham’s servant at the well, she immediately drew water for him and his camels. When Jacob met Rachel at the well he rolled the stone away for her and watered her flock. This Samaritan woman is not quite so hospitable. She ignores Jesus’ request for a drink and starts asking questions.

8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

It appears Jacob’s well did not have a dedicated bucket. People brought their own pitchers to draw with. Jesus, thirsty from his journey, is at her mercy for a drink, since she the only one around with a waterpot.

12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

I like this lady. She does not argue about the living water. She just says, Okay Sir, give it to me.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

Why did Jesus tell her to call her husband when He knows she does not have one? It must have been a test. The LORD trieth [tests] the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. She answers honestly and passes the test. Furthermore, Jesus does not spend time going into her past to discuss these broken relationships. I don’t see that anywhere in the word of God. I see people looking to Jesus. I see people forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I see people made new creatures in Christ.

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

Now the light is starting to turn on. How does He know about my five husbands? How does He know I’m shacked up? He must be a prophet. Seeing she is talking to a holy Man, she changes the subject. Maybe she was just trying to appear spiritual, or maybe she had a serious question. She brings up an issue that is still a bone of contention between the Jews and the Samaritans.

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

Jacob’s well is on a mountain pass in between Mt Ebal to the north and Mt Gerizim to the south. According to Josephus, there was a temple built in Mt Gerizim during the intertestamental period. (Antiq. 1. 11. cap. 8.) Although the temple had been destroyed by this time, the Samaritans still considered the ground sacred. To this day, the Samaritans still celebrate Passover each year on Mt Gerizim. According to Samaritan tradition, Mt Gerizim is where the garden of Eden was, where Noah’s ark landed, and where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac. The Samaritan Pentateuch, which the NIV uses for translation, even has an eleventh commandment to build the temple on Mt Gerizim

Still waiting for his drink, Jesus patiently answers her question for her:

21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

Jesus says it is not a matter of location. Folks in both these places are in error.

22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Now Jesus explains the living water. We are triune beings, made in the image of God. We are body, soul, and spirit. (1 Thess 5:23) Our spiritual connection to God was broken when Adam sinned, but once one is born again through faith in Christ, her spirit is reconnected with God’s Spirit. She then worships God with her spirit and God gives her spiritual gifts. I pray every day to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Some churches take this to an extreme at the expense of truth by making the service into a Holy Spirit circus (laughing in the Spirit, barking in the Spirit, slaying in the Spirit). This must be some other ‘spirit’ though because the Holy Spirit does not behave that way. 1 Corinthians 14 explains the proper use of the gifts of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit points people to Jesus, just as Jesus points people to his Father. That’s the truth.

25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

Bingo. I think this lady has more understanding than most commentators give her credit for. After a brief conversation, she hits the bullseye.

26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?

They were all thinking it but nobody said it — the same thing she said at the beginning. Why is a Jewish Rabbi talking to me a Samaritan woman?

28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,

She is so excited she runs off, still without giving Jesus his drink, but at least she left the waterpot behind. I think He finally got his drink after she left.

This sinful Samaritan woman is an evangelist now. Before John Wesley was born again, he met an escaped slave in America who was a Christian. Wesley could not understand how this man who could not read could know God and have such peace. John Wesley was an intellectual man who studied the Bible in several languages, but he still did not have the peace of God. He had been taught works salvation and at that time in his life that is what he preached. Consequently, Wesley did not have the assurance of salvation. It was the Moravians, a group of German Christians that explained the gospel to Wesley and deprogrammed his religious upbringing. The gospel is not complicated. The Samaritan woman got it right away. It’s only complicated when people make it so. The KJV is written at the 5th-grade level according to the Flesch-Kincaid calculator. At the first church council in Acts 15, they only came up with four rules for being a Christian. (Acts 15:20) Jesus only had two rules (Mark 12:29-31), but He made it even simpler than that. When Jesus called someone He simply said Come follow me. What could be simpler than that?

29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

The NASB translates the second part of this verse, “this is not the Christ, is it?” This is just one of the many ways the new versions consistently demote his deity.

30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

She was quite effective as an evangelist, especially for a beginner.

31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.

Jesus is more interested in ministering the gospel to the men she is bringing to Him than sitting down to eat.

32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

The Samaritans wore white robes and white turbans. Maybe Jesus was pointing his disciples to the crowds of Samaritans dressed in white as He said this. Today the Samaritans’ numbers have been greatly reduced, one reason being that many of them became Christians.

36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

Jesus is saying that the prophets that went before them did the heavy lifting and now they are reaping the fruit of their labors. We are in a similar situation. We are at the end of the age now and the work of those who went before us has prepared the way for us to minister the gospel and reap the fruit of their labors. (The Reformers, the early missionaries, the Bible translators, etc.)

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

It was her testimony that was powerful. (Rev 12:11)

40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his own word;
42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
43 Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee.

You may recall that John meticulously documented the days on which the events in Chapter 1 took place, in order to use the wedding in Chapter 2 as an illustration of the marriage supper of the Lamb at the beginning of the seventh millennium. Here is another curious mention of days. Why does John include this detail that Jesus stayed with the Samaritans for two days? If he wrote down all that Jesus did, the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Therefore, the details that the living water included in John’s Gospel must have been carefully chosen for good reasons. Are these two days with the Samaritan half-breed Gentiles not illustrative of the two millennia of the church age, before Jesus restores the Jews back to their place of spiritual leadership? (Before He went back to Galilee?) We have a Biblical basis for this analogy in Hosea 6:2 (cf 2 Pet 3:8).

44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.
John 4:1-44


In Nazareth, they chased Jesus out of the synagogue, but here in Sychar, they begged Him to stay. What about us? Do we long to spend time with Jesus? Do we honor Him and worship Him at every opportunity? Would we rather spend an evening with Jesus than an evening with Netflix?

Something to think about.

Father, thank You so much for your Son. He is everything. We long for your kingdom to come when we will be joined together with Him for all eternity. Jesus, we want to honor You in our hearts, our homes, and in your church. We love You more than words can say. Thank You for caring about the Samaritans and thank You for caring about us. Come quickly, Lord. We ask this in your holy and precious name. Amen.


Prophecy Update: After the stolen presidential election was made official last month, I said we now have to brace ourselves for Obama 2.0. While Trump was all about making America a leader in energy, Biden immediately canceled the Keystone Pipeline project. Biden’s energy department then slapped Texas with regulations which caused the current crisis. (Texas — the energy-exporting state that supplied surrounding states with energy before they were forced to shut down their energy plants by Obama.) Unless you spent this week in a cloistered monastery, you know about the Texas energy crisis. This was all done by design and this document, signed by the energy secretary, proves it. This article explains the legalese in the document. It appears the Texans who had their power shut off may have been the lucky ones. Some of those who did not have their power cut off saw their monthly electric bill go from around $400 to over $8000. This smells a lot like the Enron scandal, where a power company ended up gouging customers to reap big profits with illegal business practices. Whether or not that is the case, this is clearly Agenda 21 (now called Agenda 2030), also known as the new world order. Any American can go outside and see that we have clean air, even in Los Angeles. America has had clean energy for decades. Even our coal plants have been clean for decades because of scrubber technology. These federal regulations are nothing more than an excuse to implode our economy. Biden has only been president for one month. Like the lady in the movie said, fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.