The Woman at the Well
In John Chapter 4, we have the story of the woman at the well. We all know the story, how Jesus and His Disciples we’re passing through Samaria and stopped at the local watering place for a rest while on their journey. Jesus was left alone while the Disciples went in to buy some food. The time was around midday and quite hot. All of a sudden Jesus sees a woman coming to the well and noticed that she was all alone carrying a water jar on her shoulder. As she finished drawing the water, Jesus asked her to give Him a drink. This surprised the woman because Jews would not have anything to do with Samaritans.
In Desire of Ages, Ellen White writes: A Jew would not borrow from a Samaritan, nor receive a kindness, not even a morsel of bread or a cup of water. but here Jesus asked her for a cup of water. No wonder she was surprised.
Reading from verse 10 Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give Me to drink, you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water.
11 The woman said to Him, Sir, you have no vessel, and the well is deep. From where then do you have that living water?
12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, and his children and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said to her, Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again,
14 but whoever drinks 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 said to Him, Sir, give me this water, so that I may not thirst nor come here to draw.
16 Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband and come here.
17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband
18 for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband. In that you spoke truly.
We can see why this woman was coming to the well alone, as she was in the eyes of her township, a woman with not a good reputation.
But she said to Jesus that She had no husband. Could you imagine the shock of Jesus proceeding to tell her that she had five husbands and that the one now she was living with was not her husband, and what she said was true.
It is interesting how she answered Jesus. Sir, she said that I perceive that you are a prophet. She then proceeds to say to Him that our fathers worship on this mountain but you Jews claim that the place in which to worship is in Jerusalem. So she must have had some spiritual knowledge. Can you see the Holy Spirit working on her heart?
Jesus tells her of a time is coming that when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain or in Jerusalem. God is a Spirit and will be worshipped in spirit and in truth.
Jesus said to her that you Samaritans don’t know what they worship, because the source of Salvation comes from the Jews. Because Christ being a Jew, Salvation comes from Him.
Again, she must have had a knowledge of a Messiah who would come and explain everything to us Samaritans.
It is here that Jesus speaks plainly to her when He declared to her: “ I who speak to you am He.”
How would that have gone down if He said that to the Jews? They would have accused Him of blasphemy and picked up stones to stone Him. It is interesting that Jesus was able to speak plainly with a Gentile woman, but couldn’t say that to any Jew.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and His own received Him not.
12 But as many as received Him, He gave to them authority to become the children of God, to those who believe on His name,
By this time the Disciples returned and were surprised that their Master was talking with a woman, and a Samaritan at that.
But immediately the woman left her water pot and hurried into town and told them: “Come see a man who told me everything I did. Could this be the Christ?” And they came out and went to where Jesus was.
What caught the people’s attention? Did the woman quote scripture? No, she just said to come and see a man who could read my past and present life. Could He be the Christ? It was obvious that the Samaritans, even though they were Gentiles did have some knowledge of a coming Messiah that would teach them the truth about the kingdom.
Of course, many of the Samaritans from the City believed in Him because of what the woman had said about her. When she said to them that He told me everything I did. Not only that but when they heard Him, they begged Him to stay with them. So Jesus stayed with them two days and in that two days many more believed in Him because of His Word. After the two days they said to the woman: we believe not because of your saying, but we have heard His words for ourselves and know that He is truly the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Wow! What a testimony. Here was a woman who had a questionable reputation among the inhabitants of Sychar going to the local well, meets up with Jesus and after dialoguing with Him, turns out to be a wonderful witness for Jesus and brings the whole city to Him and they hear and believe Him to be the true Christ the Saviour of the world. And they were Gentiles hated by the Jews.
So what do we see in with this story? That the woman might have been an unlikely candidate to be a witness for Christ.
Do we go back to tell your family and friends and tell them what great things God has done for you? And because of her witness the towns in the region of the Decapolis opened the way for the gospel later on when the Disciples spread the gospel to the Gentiles.
And lastly, the woman at the well, was she a likely witness for Christ? There were some issues with her lifestyle that might disqualify her to be a witness for Christ. Yet when she met Christ and spoke to Him who began to tell her of her past and present situation, she began to realise that Jesus was no ordinary man. Firstly, she dropped her water jar and rushed off to tell them in the city to come see a man who told me everything I did, could this be the Christ. And because of her witness the whole city turned up to Listen to Jesus.
She certainly wasn’t knowledgeable in the Torah, she probably Had no knowledge of scripture, although the woman at the well may have had a limited knowledge of a coming Messiah. So what was it that made her such good witnesses?
She told them her personal testimony. I think what this story bring out is that you don’t have to know the Bible inside out. But tell someone your personal testimony of what Jesus has done for you. This is a powerful witness. Bible knowledge can come later. So what is it saying? You don’t have to worry about what to say biblically, just tell you testimony and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting.
So is witnessing in the last days be any different back then? Not at all. Our personal witness is a powerful tool because we are the ones who have experienced on how we came to meet Jesus and what He has done for us. This is why personal testimonies are a powerful way to encourage us in the Church service, in Sabbath School.