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.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
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?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.
Look up “connect” in the dictionary, and you’ll see definitions like to join, to link, to fasten together, to unite, to establish communication between. We all long to be connected, and we spend great energy to join ourselves to things that we think will bring us life: to people and possessions, to work and wisdom, to experiences and entertainment. The latest technology—from smartphones to internet to 5G networks—has empowered a kind of connection that the world has never known. But with all the advances, many of us feel more disconnected than ever. Where do you look for connection…and how’s it going?
The Samaritan woman in John 4 is not so different from us. She’s a sinner. She has sought life in things that haven’t delivered on their promise. She has some ideas about how life and God should “work”, but things haven’t played out as planned. So she’s just trying to make it through life. And on this day, she goes alone to draw water from a well in the mid-day heat. And that’s where she meets a Man who will change the course of her life. As much as we see ourselves in the woman at the well, it’s far more important to see Jesus Christ in this passage. So what do we learn about the Lord in this chapter?
Jesus pursues people we wouldn’t expect Him to pursue. He breaks through every barrier to meet this woman: cultural and religious barriers (Jew and Samaritan), gender barriers (male and female), moral barriers (Son of God and sinful person). She is not worthy of Him and she knows it (4:9), but that doesn’t stop Him. Jesus “had to pass through Samaria” (4:4), and that had to seems to be more about mission than maps. On the way from Jerusalem to Galilee, the typical Jew would cross the Jordan River twice to avoid Samaria. But not Jesus. He went this way for her. Do we realize that Jesus has broken through every barrier to connect with us? How do we respond when we learn that He is actually seeking us?
Jesus offers us life that we can hardly comprehend. The simple request for a drink becomes the doorway into a conversation about living water. Like the woman, we struggle to catch up to what Jesus is saying, but that doesn’t stop Him. All the wells from which we drink eventually run dry, but Jesus offers us living water. He Himself is the fountain of life and drinking of Him is salvation and soul-satisfaction. Have we tasted this living water? Have we come to find it better than a multitude of relationships, millions of dollars, and mansions on a hill? How do we respond when we learn that Jesus isn’t just seeking us but wants to give us life?
Jesus wants us to worship Him. An encounter with Him can feel like too much. He wants to tear down our idols and heal our broken places (“Go, call your husband”). When He puts His finger on the pain in our lives, it’s easier to run away. So we change the subject (“Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.”). Or we try to argue finer points of theology (“Our fathers worshiped on this mountain.”). Or we say the right thing (“I know that Messiah is coming.”). We can all sound spiritual, seem orthodox, and look good, but that doesn’t stop Jesus. We can run, but we can’t outrun Him. Somehow He runs ahead and cuts us off. He tells us that worship is not ultimately about places and practices; it’s about a Person. The Father is seeking worshipers, and the Son has come to accomplish that mission. Our endless debates about worship dissolve in the presence of the Christ: “I who speak to you am He.”
If the Lord just wanted to talk with us, that would be something. To go beyond that and offer us living water is amazing. But to reveal that He wants us to worship Him…that is spectacular. Sin has separated us from God and bent our worship from the Creator to creation. But Jesus Christ came to destroy our sin and to restore our worship of the Living God. For the Samaritan woman and for us, He was willing to go to the cross that we might be connected to Him in a life of worship. For sin-starved souls, Jesus is living water now and forever.
Do you want to be connected to Christ in worship? Perhaps the better question is: How do you respond when you hear that He wants to be connected to you?