“Could This Be the Messiah?”
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
Most of us know the story of Jesus’s encounter with a woman beside a well. Many assume that the woman went there at midday to avoid meeting other women to whom she was an outcast. The well closest to her home in Sychar was larger. But what if she chose the smaller well because she liked the idea that Jacob had dug it many years earlier? What if her water jar suddenly became empty at noon?
She was surprised when a stranger sitting by the well asked her for a drink. He probably needed one, but he was a Jew, she a Samaritan, and a woman. Jewish men didn’t speak to Samaritan women.
He spoke of living water. “Never thirst again . . . become a spring of water bubbling up” (John 4:13-14).
She saw immediately he was different and asked, “Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well?”
His next words stabbed her heart, “Go, call your husband.” He then told her about the five husbands she’d had and the man she was now living with. Jesus was not trying to shame her; he was zeroing in on her wounded heart and offering to quench her longings.
Did she change the subject because she was ashamed of her past? Or did burning questions surge from within her that no one else would explain to her. Women in those days were not allowed to go to school. But she had questions.
Amazingly, he didn’t treat her rudely. In fact, he liked her questions. Not only did he answer them, but he also talked about true worship and said he was the expected Messiah!
When the man’s disciples came, she left and ran to town. “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did,” she said to the people. “Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:29). Her honest testimony caused many Samaritans to go to see Jesus. They asked him to stay, and he did for two days. Many believed he was the Messiah.
Would you be embarrassed if God revealed to someone “everything I ever did”? Don’t be afraid to tell how God has turned your life around. Someone needs to hear your story. God can change them too.
Read John 3:1-21. Compare the two encounters. Jesus’ theological discussion with the woman at the well was as deep, if not deeper than this earlier one with a Pharisee. How were Nicodemus and this woman different? How quickly did they recognize Jesus as Messiah?
Read John 4:39-42. What happened after she told the people of Sychar about her encounter by the well? How can we follow her example when we witness to others?
John 4:28 reveals that the woman left her water jar at the well. Why is that a significant part of this narrative? Have you left part of your past since coming to Jesus? Have you become a new creation in Christ? See 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Nancy J. Baker
This devotion is part of a series on Women in the Bible.