What Happened at The Well? (John 4:3-26)


Have you ever thought to yourself that you are just too far gone for God to WANT to reach you? Let me assure you that this is not the case. There isn’t anywhere in this world that you can find that God can’t and won’t come to you. There isn’t anything or any behavior that you can participate in that God can’t redeem you from. There isn’t any thought that you can have that God doesn’t know how to overcome. Do you understand? Are you getting what I am saying? God is bigger than anything!


I want to share a Bible story with you, and it’s probably one that you have heard before. It doesn’t really seem significant until you take the time to look at the details and understand the culture of the time. I am talking about the story in John 4 starting at verse 3 about The Woman At The Well.

Jesus was traveling and passed through Samaria to a town called Sychar (most Jews went around Samaria to avoid the Samaritans). It was around noon and he was thirsty after a morning’s journey. He stopped at a well. Jacob’s well to be exact, and there he met an unnamed Samaritan woman. Jesus asked her if she would get him a drink of water. I imagine that she was confused. She looked at Jesus (not knowing who he was) and said, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?”         (John 4: 9)

You have to understand that 3 things were happening here.

  1. Jews were not supposed to converse with Samaritans.
  2. Men were not to talk to a woman without her husband present.
  3. This woman was alone at the well even though it was a gathering place for women because she was deemed unclean in her town. She had been married 5 times previously and was currently living with a man that was not her husband.

This woman couldn’t understand why this man would be addressing her, let alone asking her for water. Jesus continued and answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10)

Jesus went on to explain to the woman that the water he could provide was a living water that would quench her thirst forever. Of course, he was referring to himself, to the salvation that he could offer. The woman doubted him. She asked what he would draw this water up with; he had no bucket. She also doubted that his water could be better than the water of Jacob which he had passed down to Joseph.  She replied saying, “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” (John 4:12)

When Jesus continued to tell her that those who drink from Jacob’s well will return again thirsty but when drinking of this living water will be eternally filled she said, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”(John 4:15)

Doesn’t it seem ironic to think that this woman responded in a way that many of us do? I don’t mean that she suddenly fell in love and knew this man was Jesus, but instead she found a way that she wouldn’t have to return to Jacob’s well day after day. Jacob’s well was a gathering place for women to talk as they gathered their daily water. Gathering water wasn’t some quick task back then. They had to lower bucket after bucket into a deep well and then pull it up again. These women would help one another and spend time together, but for this woman, gathering her water from the well was humiliating. No one would talk to her. It was a reminder that she was an outcast, judged, mocked and ruined in reputation. To her, this man at the well was offering her a way out, offering her a way to stay hidden where she didn’t have to face the ridicule.


Jesus asked her to go and get her husband but she replied, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus informed her that he knew this already. He already knew that she has had 5 previous husbands and that the man she is currently living with is not her husband. At this point, she decided he was a prophet. She wanted to talk to him about her people worshipping God at the mountain, but the Jews saying that the only place of worship is in Jerusalem.  Jesus answered with this and revealed to her that he is the Messiah.


“A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”              (John 4:23-26)

Jesus revealed himself to the woman at the well. He found her worthy of knowing his identity even though she was who she was. He could have chosen any person in this town, but he chose her. This wasn’t a mistake or an unplanned moment. This was Jesus showing us, and everyone there, that it didn’t matter where she was coming from or what her past looked like. All that mattered was that she believed in him, she was his daughter, and she was redeemable through him. She was loved, valued and important.

I want to really stress what kind of a woman she was viewed as. The disciples had arrived with Jesus when they came to the town but had gone to get lunch, so they were not with Jesus at the well. They walked up as Jesus was finishing talking to the woman, and the Bible says that even though they said nothing their faces said it all. They were disgusted! They couldn’t believe that Jesus was sitting and talking to this woman. He was talking to a Samaritan, unmarried, unclean woman in the middle of the day, alone, and in public where he could be seen. What was he thinking??? The woman, seeing the disciples faces recognized their disgust. She got up and left the well.


This isn’t even the end of the woman’s story. Here she is, unwanted in her own town, but what she does next changes her life and the life of many others. She went to town, to the people and said, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4: 29)  The Samaritan women told the people that he knew her; he knew all about her and the people believed because of her. The people came to see for themselves, and when they did, they asked Jesus to stay for a couple of days. He did. Much of this town became believers because of what He said.


Ok, so let’s just do a quick recap. Jesus comes to a well. He talks to a woman that he shouldn’t be talking to by culture’s standards. He risks his own reputation in doing so. He offers this woman living water (salvation) so that she will no longer thirst. He also tells her that the way of worship is about to change because of a Messiah called Christ. He uses this woman to reach a town of people for his glory, and their lives are forever changed. All of this was done through a woman that was viewed as “nothing”.

What does this mean for us? For us, this means that we know we are redeemable just as she was. We matter to Jesus, and he wants us to know that we are loved and valued. This tells us that he can use us in whatever situation we are in. I believe the reason he chose this broken woman was to show us that we’re never too far gone. We are never too lost to seek out people and tell them about the love of Jesus. We’re never too ruined to be the voice that they need to hear. We are never unredeemable through our faith in Christ. Life isn’t about knowing who Jesus is and running from him. It isn’t about meeting him and trying to hide who we are (she told him the truth about not having a husband). It is about making ourselves available to him, being receptive to what he is telling us, to believing that we are loveable, redeemable, worthy and forgiven through him. It is about knowing that the life he has planned for us is better than the life we can plan for ourselves. It’s about believing that Christ is the Messiah and can show up to reach us wherever he wants to! It means that YOU MATTER to the one true KING. It means that you have been crowned into the KINGDOM of Heaven as a SON or DAUGHTER of Christ! It means that you are never alone. It means that JESUS is THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE FOR ALL!