The first twenty-six verses of the fourth chapter of the gospel of John provide for us an interesting discussion between two unlikely people. Let’s briefly take a look at this powerful and life-changing discourse. Let us look at the words of our Lord which not only changed the life of a Samaritan woman but the lives of everyone in her city. What kind of words did Jesus speak to her?
Shocking words (John 4:7-9). Jesus opened the discussion with just four words, “Give me a drink” (v. 7). To us they would have been common and unassuming but for this time it was unheard of. We see the reaction in the voice of the woman when she asks, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Yet as shocking as these four simple words were they were enough to break the ice between our Lord and this precious soul and start a conversation that would save the souls of many more.
Confident words (John 4:10-12). Jesus reveals to this spiritually famished woman that He was in possession of a gift and that gift was living water. It was she who had access to the water of the well, but Jesus had access to the living water from God. It was this water that could be had free for the taking.
Sustaining words (John 4:13-15). Jesus reveals the obvious fact that “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again…” After all, this had been the Samaritan woman’s routine for years to draw water and return day after day. Jesus compares this water, though not insignificant, with water that could thoroughly and completely quench a person’s thirst. He wasn’t talking about physical water, but a water that could “become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” This was a fountain of water that would never go dry. The water that she carried in her pot could sustain her body for a little while but it would not keep her from dying physically or spiritually. The water Jesus hoped to bless her with could sustain her in this life and in the life to come.
Revealing words (John 4:16-18). Jesus not only opened up her curiosity but opened up the secrets of her life. How those words must have stung when Jesus, a complete stranger, revealed to her the secrets she had hoped to keep hidden. She had had five husbands and was living with a sixth man. What shame and embarrassment she must have felt inside. The revealing of the secrets of the heart was not meant to shame her but to help her see the insight He had into her soul and her needs for something else, something better.
Prophetic words (John 4:19-24). Perceiving that Jesus was a prophet, the woman inquired about the proper place of worship, whether upon this mountain or in Jerusalem. Jesus prophesied of a time in which the proper place of worship would not matter but that true worshippers would worship God in truth and spirit anywhere. Jews for centuries had made their pilgrimage back to Jerusalem to the temple for their sacred days. Jesus informed her that it was not the place that would matter but the heart that would matter. Any place would be acceptable to God if one’s heart (spirit) and one’s worship (truth) was right.
Hopeful words (John 4:25-26). Progressing from the place of worship to the One who would be worshipped, the Samaritan woman expressed two articles of her faith: 1) I know the Messiah is coming and 2) He will tell us all things. As off as she may have been on everything else, these two aspect of her faith were true. The Messiah would come and he would tell them all they needed to know to be acceptable to God. He would come to fill their cup to overflowing. Jesus replied matter-of-factly, “I who speak to you am He.”
One can only imagine the joy and hope that raced through her mind as she left her water pot behind and ran into the city. Convinced at the possibility that this could be the Christ, she began to tell others of His insights into her life and then concluded with the question, “Could this be the Christ?” Their curiosity set in motion their exodus from the city towards the well where sat the Savior hungering to do His Father’s will. Gathering around Him were throngs of people who were thirsty for the living water that only Jesus could provide. Hours passed as Jesus filled their spiritual cup.
At the close of the day, their thirst being quenched, they could look at the woman and say with confidence, “We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42). Jesus not only changed the life of the Samaritan woman that day, He changed the lives of all who came out to hear Him. If Jesus can change their lives, then He can certainly change yours if you are ready and willing to drink of His living water.
Roy preaches for the St. George Church of Christ in St. George, SC.