She did not go looking for Jesus but she found Him. It was around noon when she went to the well to fetch water. She chose that time because she knew that no one would come out in that heat. Most people went in the morning when it was nice and cool. She did not want to meet up with anyone. She was tired of the insults and the scornful stares. She wanted to be left alone.
As she approached the well, her eyes fell on Jesus who was sitting there thirsty and tired from His journey. He was alone. His disciples had gone into the village to buy food. She did not know that it was Him. She stiffened and her steps slowed as she saw that He was a Jew. She was a Samaritan. Jews and Samaritans did not get along. Well, she could not turn back now.
As she went to draw the water, Jesus said to her, “Please give Me a drink.”
She turned to Him, a surprised look on her face. “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
When Jesus told her about water, which will make a person never thirst again, she asked for some. At that moment she did not understand that He was speaking of spiritual water, i.e. the Holy Spirit. She thought He was talking about actual water and she thought once she got it she would not have to go to the well to draw any more.
Earlier she asked Jesus if He was greater than her ancestor Jacob whose well they were at and who for many years, along with his family and cattle drank from that same well. Jesus made it clear that He is greater than Jacob. He said, “People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.” The woman then decides that she wants what Jesus has to offer rather than what Jacob’s well had offered her all these years.
After the woman asked for the water He offered, Jesus told her to go and get her husband, although He already knew the nature of their relationship. The woman, instead of saying, “All right, I will go and fetch him,” she admitted that she was not married. Jesus confirmed this and pointed out that before her current relationship she had been married five times. He told her again that she had spoken the truth.
There is no reproach here because the woman had been honest. She did not hide from the truth but rather acknowledged it. Jesus was a stranger so she could have easily let Him believe that she was married. She had no way of knowing that He was God and that He knew everything about her. She could have gotten her boyfriend to pretend to be her husband. She did none of these things. She simply told the truth. Maybe there was something about Jesus that made her open up to Him.
The woman talked about Jerusalem being the place where men ought to worship although her ancestors worshipped on the mountain where they were. Jesus told her that there would come a time when she would neither worship on the mountain nor in Jerusalem. At the moment she did not know what she worshipped. Jesus said the Jews did because salvation comes through them.
Salvation was offered to the Jews first and then to the rest of the world. Jesus went on to tell the Samaritan woman that there will come a time when true worshippers, Jews and Gentiles will worship God in spirit not on a mountain or in Jerusalem. Worship will not be confined or restricted to a specific place or to a particular nation, race, culture, etc. It will be universal.
The woman acknowledged that she knew of the Messiah and that He was coming. She expected that when He comes He would teach them, tell them all the things they needed to know. Jesus said the words that must have thrilled the woman. “I am the Messiah!”
The woman, obviously unable to contain her excitement, because she left her water pot, went into the city to share the good news. She urged the villagers to go with her and see a man who told her everything she had ever done—things only God would know. She ended with a rhetorical question, “Is not this the Christ?”
Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay at their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many of them to hear his message and believe.
Initially the Samaritan woman had gone to the well at the time when she would not bump into others. They probably scorned her because of her five marriages and the fact that she was now living with a man out of wedlock. Yet, when Jesus revealed Himself to her, she forgot about the way the people treated her. All she was focused on was telling them that she had met the Messiah. She wanted to share the good news with them.
What a remarkable woman. She set aside any grudges or ill-feelings she might have harbored towards her neighbors and rushed to tell them about Jesus and urged them to meet Him. As a result many of them received Christ as their Savior.