I have always wanted to do a study on heroines in the Bible. There have been some bold, fierce, and courageous ones. And, if we dive deeper in the woman’s lives, we can see how god used them, and they were able to spread the word about Jesus. Some of these women came from messy backgrounds, some there is very little known about them. On the surface, they would seem unlikely to do what was needed, but Jesus knew their stories and was able to use them in miraculous ways.
Let look at the verse to help get the gist of what is going on.
Part 1 – A Samaritan Woman at the Well
1Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2(though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4But He needed to go through Samaria. 5So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” 13Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” 15The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” 16Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 19The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” 27And at this point his disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”28The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30Then they went out of the city and came to Him. 31In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying,“Rabbi, eat.” 32But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” 34Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” 39And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41And many more believed because of His own word. 42Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
At the beginning of these verses, you get the sense that God was involved in the events about to happen. The most direct travel route was through Samaria from Judea to Galilee, but Jews would tend to go a longer route (crossing the Jordan and traveling on the eastern side of the river) to avoid harassment. This was in part due to Rabbis thought that the Samaritans were unclean (they intermingled with other nations and were not pure bread). Although we don’t know a lot about the Samaritan woman, we can guess that she was an outcast (married five times, and living with a current man). She could have gone to the well at the hottest time of the day to avoid people. She was a woman, and in that time period they were not trusted, or valued. In that period of time, people who were well off sent someone else to draw water. The Samaritan woman was drawing for herself, so she could have been poor.
Jesus arrives in the heat of the day at a well Jacob gave to Joseph. He was tired from the journey. At that time, the Samaritan woman was there also. Jesus asks for water. They discuss that Jesus is the giver of living water. The Samaritan woman is intrigued and asked if Jesus is greater than Jacob the one whose well they are at. She wants to learn more about the living water. Jesus then tells her to get her husband. She vaguely replied she did not have one. However, Jesus knew she had been married 5 times and was living with another, and let her know he knew about her. Through this conversation, Jesus reveals compassion, love, and engages her in a way that will change her life. It is through this conversation, where he tells her, “I who speak to you am He.” The Samaritan woman leaves her water vessel at the well, and tells everyone about the Messiah.
The disciples are confused as to why Jesus is talking to the woman. They try and get him to eat. He replies that the food is to do the will of God, and to finish his work. These few verses really pack a punch. God used a woman, a Samaritan, an outcast due to her life decisions, and look what she accomplished. Not only did she spread the word about the Messiah, but the Samaritans wanted Jesus to stay an extra two days and talk with them. The bible teaches that because of her spreading the word, many believed that this was the Christ, “the savior of the world.”
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6)
I try and put myself in that time. In spite of the Samaritan woman’s life decisions, she made herself an outcast. However, looking at both sides. She showed great courage, a fierceness in spreading the word, and a desire to learn, which in those times was not the norm for women. Jesus showed compassion, a loving and non-judgmental attitude, which he used to keep her engaged. She in spite of feeling like a sinner was receptive, and craved the life giving water. I love the dialog between the two. The calm conversation vs. her obvious internal struggles shows us we can have the same. God loves us, and wants nothing more than to share himself, his word, and the hope of eternal life with him.
I hope that this story, gives you strong desire to let God be a part of your life. He wants to love and use you to bring others to him.