Lesson Two: “The Woman at the Well”
Read John 4:1-26. Because of rejection by the Jewish leaders, Jesus left Judea. The disciples were baptizing, and it was being met with conflict.
Why wasn’t Jesus baptizing?
Notice that Jesus had given this responsibility to the disciples for a couple of reasons: first, He was making disciples. He could baptize new converts Himself, but that would not be training these guys to do His work. Second, someone might say “well, my baptism is better or really counts because I was baptized by Jesus himself, not a disciple.” Remember, Jesus was dealing with a very legalist society.
*Remember, we are to be teaching others to do the work of the King, when sometimes it would be easier to do it ourselves.
Think of a time when you taught one of your children or anyone how to do something and it would have been easier to just do it yourself. (God hardly ever let’s us take the easy way out.)
In verse 4-6, we see Jesus taking the road to Samaria on His way to Galilee. He stopped at Jacob’s well, near a town called Sychar. He arrived at this well around noon.
Some things to keep in mind: Jews and Samaritans hated each other and here we have a Jew going through Samaritan territory. We also have a woman at the well at a time of day when women were not at the well. It is possible that she was there when no one else was because she was rejected by the other women.
Next, He was thirsty just like any of us would be. He did not have the means to draw water. He crossed a very strict Jewish law by asking this of a Samaritan woman, and He knew that.
So, Jesus asked her a very simple question. “Can you get me a drink of water?” (Kathy McBroom version, not that I am worthy to have a version).
Notice that the King of Kings is now become a beggar. Did you notice that He had walked? He could have gotten a donkey or a horse, but servants walk. How is your servant attitude these days?
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
“ I have seen slaves on horses, but princes walking on the ground like slaves”
Now reread John 4:10.
What is His response? Is He being sarcastic or rude?
No. He is being honest. Let’s bring this home for a second.
I spend enormous amounts of time concentrating a lot of effort on things that do not matter. What about you?
I worry about things that if I knew God better, I would not worry about. True? If I truly knew God, so many things wouldn’t be a thought.
Let me give you some examples:
At the writing of this study, we have a daughter in college and one who is entering college this Fall. From where will this money come ?
God’s got plenty of money. Next topic.
Also at the time I wrote this study, I was teaching high school and many of them were failing.
God is working a plan in their lives that I am a small part of, and I must let Him work His plan. Next…
I lost a good friend to cancer, and so many others that I know also have lost battles to this or are fighting it now.
God’s intention is not for me to stay this side of heaven but only for so long. He has all of heaven waiting for me. Next…
Get the idea?
What are you having a hard time giving over to God right now? When building relationships with a heavenly intention, we must remember that lost people around us are carrying tremendous burdens that they do not know how to deal with. If we put ourselves in their path and listen long enough, we will realize what that burden is.
In response, Jesus simply stated a fact, and this left the woman intrigued. So she continued the conversation.
Around verse 15, it seems that the woman finally starts to realize that this conversation is about so much more than water and that this could be the answer she has been looking for. Can you imagine hearing for the first time that peace is being offered to you in the middle of the storm?
Reread verses 16-18. What was the focus of her problems? In that day and time, what did having a husband mean? What does it mean now?
In verse 19 she is amazed. The woman changes the subject to religious worship. Maybe this man got too personal. When we get to know someone and uncover pain, we must be ready to listen when he/she is ready to talk. Sometimes this person can run back into his/her shell like a turtle. Years of pain cannot be unfolded in five minutes. You must be committed to this friendship and let it build over time. Trust is essential, and that takes time.
In verse 20, Jesus tries to explain that the Messiah (Him) is for everyone and will not reside in any place. True worship is a matter of the heart. I am sure this baffled the woman as it baffles many today. It takes faith to understand this concept.
Read Romans 12: 1-2. What is true worship?
Verse 2 explains what a true Christ follower is. What is that? Do you think this is what Jesus was trying to tell this woman?
New International Version (NIV)
“Yet 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.”
In verses 23-26, Jesus makes several points clear:
He and the Father are one.
He is the Messiah.
The Father seeks after us.
What should we take from all this when building relationships with lost people?
We need to look for everyday opportunities to ministry and witness.
We need to be bold and honest
We need to be ready to listen
We need to pray, asking God for the right words to say and that He will seek after those He wants to save in ways only He can
Finally, read verses 39-42 and catch the rest of the story. Many were saved because of this woman’s testimony.
As you review this story, reread this section during your quiet time, taking a close look at possibly a person you are trying to connect with. What could God be pointing out to you? When I think of this story, I think of a special lady in my life. When we first met, many things were going on in her life. She is now a changed person; her story is amazing and something only God can do. It was around two years before she became a believer from our initial conversations. We must be committed, and let God work His plan in His time. The outcome is His.