What can we learn from the story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman? Steph reminds us that just like her, we need to acknowledge our Saviour.
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An Unlikely Encounter
This is the scene I imagine when the disciples came upon Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well.
John 4:27 says, “Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, ‘What do you seek?’ or, ‘Why are you talking with her?’” (ESV)
Why did they marvel?
The whole scene likely made their collective jaws drop when they first saw it. It is my understanding that a respectable single man would not carry on a conversation with a woman of questionable character. Many would likely not even speak to her. More than that, Jews would go out of their way to avoid encountering Samaritans, male or female.
I don’t know if the disciples were close enough to hear that Jesus was talking about spiritual matters. But if they were, this would be another reason for them to elbow one another, raise an eyebrow, and shrug. Not even Jewish women sat at a rabbi’s feet to learn spiritual truths, literally or figuratively.
The Samaritan Woman
And just what were Jesus and this woman talking about?
John 4:7-14 says, “A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (ESV).
The Samaritan woman wanted this living water so she wouldn’t have to make the arduous journey to and from the well to haul water every day. But, of course, Jesus wasn’t speaking of the kind of water one can draw from a well.
And what did she do when Jesus revealed His knowledge about her situation—and the fact that He was the long-awaited Messiah? She went to tell her fellow villagers about her encounter.
And their response?
John 4:39-42 says, “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world’” (ESV).
The Saviour Of The World
There are many ways in which our story may be very different than the Samaritan woman’s, but in others, she is just like us.
She was a sinner in need of a saviour—and so are we. Remember that Romans 3:23 says we’ve all sinned.
Jesus didn’t let her nationality, her reputation, or her sin keep Him from sharing the truth with her. Through His Word, He still reaches out to those who need salvation, regardless of society’s taboos.
When the Samaritan woman came face to face with the fact that Jesus knew all about her yet spent time speaking with her and teaching her spiritual truths, she couldn’t help but go and tell her neighbours all about Him. When we encounter the Saviour, we should be prompted to do the same.
We don’t know for sure what happened after Jesus and His disciples left this Samaritan village, but I think it’s likely things were very different. That’s what happens when people have a genuine encounter with the Lord.
And instead of being the woman who had to draw water during the heat of the day, the woman who had been married and divorced numerous times, this Samaritan woman may have become known as the one who introduced them to “the Savior of the world” (v. 42).
Have you encountered the Saviour? Have you acknowledged your sin? Have you drunk the living water? Have you felt compelled to share what you’ve learned about Jesus with family, friends, and neighbours?
I pray that we will recognize that we are very much like this woman and that she, in many ways, is just like us.
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Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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