John Lesson 5 Day 2 ~ Study of John 4:1-10
“The Jews say that those who wished to get wives went to the wells where young women were accustomed to come and draw water; and it is supposed that women of ill fame frequented such places also.” ~ Adam Clarke
3- Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman.
In John’s Gospel the Samaritan woman at the well is the first person to whom Jesus openly reveals himself as Messiah. The pious Jewish leader, Nicodemus, did not hear the words that Jesus tells this foreign woman when she states her belief in the coming Messiah: “I am he, the one who is speaking to you” (John 4:26). This is also the longest private conservation Jesus had with anyone in the New Testament (John 4:7-26). (Shawna Atteberry)
Jesus’ told her:
- If you only knew the gift God has for you.
- If you only knew who you are speaking to.
- Just ask, I would give you living water.
I can hear the longing in Jesus’ words.
I received God’s gift when I was five.
4- a. Jesus and the Samaritan woman versus Jesus and Nicodemus
Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well
Some believe Jesus expected this divine appointment because John said Jesus “had to” go through Samaria. Jews usually went around Samaria. Jesus and the woman had never met.
“Jesus then did something that was a cultural taboo: he spoke to a woman in public; and not just a woman, but a Samaritan woman. She was twice an outcast in Jewish thought.” (Shawna Atteberry)
Jesus humbles Himself by asking her for help.
The woman of Samaria said to him, “Why do you, a Jew, make a request for water to me, a woman of Samaria?”
John explains why the woman asked Jesus this question: “because Jews have nothing to do with the people of Samaria.”
The Jews hated the Samaritans so much, they avoided all contact with them.
- The Jews borrowed nothing from them.
- The Jews did not drink out of the same cup or well with them.
- The Jews did not sit down to meals with them, nor eat out of the same vessel.
- The Jews had no religious connection with them.
- The Jews had no commercial dealings with them.
So the woman was shocked. Jesus said He wasn’t only talking to her for His own benefit but for hers also. Jesus reached out to her in love without condemnation or prejudice. Instead, He showed her she had value.
Jesus told her He was sent by God. Since He asked her for water, He offered her a free gift (a gift she didn’t ask for) of living water (water flowing from a spring, not stagnant water contained in ponds, pools, tanks or cisterns) a reference to the Holy Spirit.
Even though Jesus wasn’t sent to the Samaritans, He showed they weren’t excluded from God’s love and plan for redemption.
Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus
Nicodemus was a Pharisee. The Pharisees avoided fellowship with Jesus. They looked down on Him and considered Him a threat to their status.
Nicodemus initiated a secret visit with Jesus. Nicodemus began the conversation.
Right away, Nicodemus acknowledged he believed that God sent Jesus to teach them. Jesus knew Nicodemus as a spiritual leader of the Jews. Nicodemus was part of Jesus’ mission.
Both Nicodemus and the woman were confused by Jesus introduction of new spiritual truths. It seems Nicodemus kept his interest in Jesus to himself. Even thought the Samaritan didn’t fully understand what Jesus meant by living water, she did know she wanted it. She got so excited, she immediately became an evangelist.
Spoiler alert: “Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” John 4:39 NLT
- Follow divine promptings to choose a different route.
- When you arrive, rest.
- Be humble.
- Don’t hold a grudge.
- Don’t buy into the offenses you’ve heard about.
- Love everyone without prejudice.
- Find a common connection.
- As the Holy Spirit for guidance, then listen. (It helps if you have a word of knowledge prophetic insight. Jesus used His knowledge of this woman’s life to reach her. He also used it with Nathanael when He said, “I saw you under the fig tree”.)
- Trust the Holy Spirit to draw them to Himself.
The leaders of Israel would not allow the Samaritan inhabitants of Judah to help build the temple. In return, for fifteen years the Samaritans did everything they could to discourage and hinder the Israelites from completing their task.
b. I need Jesus’ encouragement and power.
I’ve always been taught this woman was immoral. However, this article explains other possible reasons why she had five husbands. John doesn’t say she was divorced five times. Even if she was, their culture wasn’t like ours.
- She may have been unable to have children. Infertility was a valid reason for a man to divorce his wife. Deuteronomy 24:1 Men wanted a full quiver.
- Perhaps her husband died leaving her a childless widow. Mosaic law required her husband’s brother to marry her to give their brother an heir. Matthew 22:24-28
- If there were no further brothers or one refused to marry her, her economic options were very limited. Even the early church wouldn’t have helped her because she married more than once. 1 Timothy 5:3-16
It seems likely, her relationships did not bring her the security or satisfaction she so desired. Jesus offered her spiritual satisfaction and eternal security only He can satisfy.
Whatever the reason, I think many believers would shy away from her.
I need help with how to begin a conversation. At times it seems easy to seize an opportunity. Most of the time it’s not.
The times it’s easier, the Holy Spirit persistently urges me. Jesus love for them burned inside me. The two times I’m thinking of, He gave me something to say. Once it was, “Offer him a stick of gum.” The other was, “Ask if you can pray for his ear.”
I clearly don’t have enough of those stories.
Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus told His disciples to make disciples of all nations.
I have more nations to reach.
Revelation 5:9 Jesus’ blood ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
MY answers — not THE answers — to BSF study questions on John Lesson 5 Day 2 ~ Study of John 4:1-10