John 4:1-26- All is Well at the Well
Explanation- As we travel through this account of Christ and the woman at the well, let us not aimlessly miss the revealing statement of Christ’s human nature in verse six. We are told that He became weary from His journey. This provides us with some fascinating insight into the lengths Christ went to on our behalf. This is the same God who (before His incarnation) spent eternity past requiring no such thing. He had no need for bread, water, rest, or the like and yet He laid aside His self-sufficient nature and exposed Himself to need. Hebrews tells us that He became like us in all respects (Heb 2:17). This not only included suffering temptations and pain, but also experiencing hunger, thirst, and fatigue. As we look to Christ let us remember that He can relate to us in all of our dealings on this earth.
As we dive into this discourse between Christ and the woman, let us notice the beautiful way in which Christ initiates this conversation and guides it to the destination of His choosing. It begins with the natural process of our Lord’s thirst. He could have gathered up water from this well in any way that He desired, but He waited. Waited for the opportune moment when He could use this natural occurrence of thirst to display the supernatural work of God. Although this event may seem like a random happening, we must remember that there are no accidents in the Kingdom. Jesus was in the right place at the right time. This event was indeed known from eternity past and as such, each detail is of utter importance.
‘Give me a drink’, He says to the woman. This in itself is a big deal. As we are informed by the text, the Jews and the Samaritans were sworn enemies. In 722 BC when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was captured by the Assyrians, many of the people were taken into captivity. Those who were not captured remained in Israel and intermarried with the Assyrians. This created a new race, one that was neither fully Jew nor Gentile. These ‘half-blood’ people conducted their own form of worship and obtained their own unique copy of the Mosaic writings. They were, in the eyes of the ‘true’ Israelites an abomination to God and man. It is among one of these despised ones that we find our Lord ministering. This woman seems to be shocked that Jesus would speak to her, let alone ask her for a drink. Yet Christ has purpose in this meeting beyond a simple fetching of water. He is displaying the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
He speaks to the woman of living water. Water that, if drank only once, will provide everlasting refreshment. The woman has a carnal understanding of this statement. Her eyes have not yet been opened to spiritual truth. At this point she is concerned with physical realities much more so than spiritual. Much like the account with Nicodemus, Christ cuts right to the heart. He beckons this woman to call her husband. To this she replies that she has none. Christ baffles her with His unique understanding of her personal life, and at this point she begins to see that this is no ordinary man. She labels Him a prophet. Christ tells proclaims to the woman the nature of true, spiritual worship. He informs here that no mere geographical location is set apart to serve God, but that His people will worship in spirit and in truth. This seems to set her gears in motion as she mentions the coming of Messiah. What she had been taught of Messiah or who exactly she believed Him to be is unclear. There were several interpretations during these days of who Messiah would be and what He would set out to accomplish, but whatever her beliefs may have been something that Christ said drew out this reference to the Coming One.
In an astonishing turn of events Jesus reveals to this woman His true nature. He tells her in plain speech that He is the promised Messiah. This proclamation is astonishing! Not only was the Messiah associating with a dreaded Samaritan, but He was beckoning her to enter the kingdom! To the Jewish people this would have been appalling. This was supposed to be a half breed reject, yet the kingdom of God had come nigh to her! This displays God’s intention in redemptive history. Namely that He would gather a people from every tribe, tongue, and nation and redeem them unto Himself. God’s plan is inclusive of both Jew and Samaritan. His ways are truly higher than ours!
Application- As we ponder this text, let us remember the scope of God’s redemptive plan. There is no one peoples who are beyond His reach and He desires that all men come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come to die for the Jewish people alone, but even Gentiles have a place in the kingdom. The compassion, grace, and love of God is overwhelming! That any of us would be saved is unfathomable and the extent to which Christ went to redeem is a theme that is deserving of full praise. Let us not look down on ‘the least of these’ but have compassion on all men. We do not know who God will choose to save and by what means, so it is our duty to be prepared for every good work.