Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee. To get there, he had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon.
A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”
The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst – not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”
The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”
“Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”
“Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come – when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself – Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”
“I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”
The woman who approached Jesus at the well was so unclean. This Samaritan woman (especially this one) was considered to be an outsider in the Jewish tradition; the Samaritan culture prohibited one to have any dealings with Jews – but even this Samaritan woman couldn’t even have any dealings with her own culture. Here we see that Jesus broke the walls of separation and became relational with this woman, this outsider, this unclean being on that day.
Through this encounter with the Samaritan woman – Jesus offers her salvation and the way to eternal life while at the same time revealing her sin in front of her. Her realization of this causes her to immediately be overwhelmed with amazement and with a new found epiphany, this woman, this unclean unworthy woman runs around town proclaiming the name of Jesus. The transformation was authentic – the joy was complete and her focus on the true Messiah was aligned.
Now, understanding how Jesus and the Samaritan woman crossed paths, we began drawing parallels on how Jesus does the same with us in the spiritual sense these days. Seen in our sin and our mess – Jesus uses opportunities to encounter us. He meets us where we are at – in that moment of desperation and he offers us living water: a way to eternal life while convicting us through the Holy Spirit of our sins.