THE WOMAN AT THE WELL

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    [John:4:1-42].

    Lesson No.: 
    30
    Class: 
    Senior
    Memory Verse: 

    "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters" (Isaiah 55:1).

    Cross References: 

    I Jesus' Brief Stay at Jacob's Well
    1. He departs from Judæa because of the enmity over the increase of His disciples, [John:4:1-3]; [John:3:26].
    2. He goes by way of Samaria, the most direct route to Galilee, [John:4:4].
    3. He arrives near Sychar and rests at Jacobs well, [John:4:5-6]; [Genesis:33:19].

    II The Arrival of the Woman to Draw Water
    1. Jesus requests of her a drink, for His disciples were gone to buy meat, [John:4:7-8]; [Matthew:10:42].
    2. The woman brings up the hatred of the Jews for the Samaritans -- "thou, being a Jew," [John:4:9]; [Luke:9:51-56].
    3. Jesus brushes aside racial prejudice and brings up the subject of “living water," [John:4:10]; [Isaiah:55:1].

    III The Woman Awakened to Her Spiritual Need
    1. The woman ponders about the "living water" of which Jesus spoke, [John:4:11-12].
    2. She finds herself thirsting for that satisfying "water" which Jesus can give, [John:4:13-15], [John:7:37-39].
    3. Jesus points to the wrongs of her marital life, to which she replies, "Thou art a prophet," [John:4:16-19]; [John:1:9].

    IV The Spirit of True Worship Revealed
    1. The woman brings up the contention of the proper place to worship God, [John:4:20], [Deuteronomy:16:2].
    2. Jesus instructs her that true worship is no longer a question of "place" but of "spirit," [John:4:21-24]; [2 Corinthians:3:17].
    3. Jesus is revealed to her as the "Messiah" for Whom she looks, [John:4:25-26]; [1 Corinthians:1:30].

    V The Woman's Conversion and Testimony
    1. The disciples look with wonderment, but with reverence, that Jesus would talk to a Samaritan woman, [John:4:27]; [Acts:10:28].
    2. Leaving her waterpot she hastens to the city, having found the Messiah called the Christ, [John:4:28]; [Isaiah:9:6].
    3. She testifies to her townspeople of the Christ, and they believe her testimony, [John:4:29-30]; [Isaiah:52:7].

    VI The Great Revival in Sychar of Samaria
    1. Jesus says to His disciples that His "meat" is to do the will of Him that sent Him, [John:4:31-34]; [Hebrews:10:6-7].
    2. He points His disciples to the fields already white unto the harvest, [John:4:35-38]; [Matthew:9:37-38].
    3. The converts of Sychar testify: "This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world," [John:4:39-42]; [John:1:12-13].

    Notes: 

    One day the Jews came to John the Baptist and said, "Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, . . . behold, the same baptiseth, and all men come to him." This prophet of God took the news, as a man of God should, in a spirit of humility, and replied, "He must increase, but I must decrease." But when this same news reached the ears of the Pharisees, then trouble began. And for this reason Jesus left Judea and departed into Galilee.

    The most direct route into Galilee passed through Samaria, although Jesus and His disciples often took the longer route by way of the Jordan. This time, however, "He must needs go through Samaria," possibly because there was a soul there who needed help. And reaching Jacob's well, likely on the second day, He stopped to rest; for Jesus became weary, even as we do. He also hungered, for His disciples were gone into Sychar to buy meat. He likewise thirsted, for when the woman of Samaria appeared with her waterpot to draw water, He said, "Give me to drink." A certain traveller reports that the well is one hundred and five feet deep; and Jesus had no cord wherewith to draw.

    The woman, observing that He was a Jew, replied, "How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?" The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans, because the remnant of the Israelites, which was left in the land when the ten tribes were carried away into captivity, mixed with the Assyrian colonists who had been brought there from the East. And from this people the Samaritans were descended. For this reason the Jews renounced them as children of Abraham, counted them as no kindred of theirs, and despised and hated them because they were not Jews, and because their worship was different. And in return the Samaritans resented the hostile attitude of the Jews.

    But Jesus, even though He was a Jew, in His ministry of love He was not concerned with racial prejudices or class distinctions. To Him the white, the black, the red, the yellow, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the bond, the free, are all precious souls who stand in need of the help that He alone can bring. "The Son of man," He said, "is come to seek and to save that which was lost." From the depths of His soul He hates sin, but He loves the sinner.

    Upon another occasion when He was passing through Samaria He sent messengers to a village to make ready for Him. "And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem." And James and John were so resentful of this rejection of their Master that they exclaimed, "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?" And the Lord replied, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." If we are His disciples, we need more and more to have the mind of Christ.

    Jesus answered the woman, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." This, no doubt, was a mystery to the woman, as it is to all who have never drunk at the Fountain, which God has provided. Multitudes today are seeking at "broken cisterns," and are famishing for the want of the Living Water, like the Israelites of old. But we are not living in Jeremiah's time. This is the day of grace when God's gift is abounding, and springs of Living Water are breaking forth in desert wastes. And if men are missing it, the fault lies with them.

    Isaiah was speaking prophetically when he cried, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters."

    “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." The Lord was here speaking particularly of Pentecost when the Holy Ghost was poured out, a wellspring of Living Water, which they of Old Testament times did not enjoy. The mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost was reserved for us in this dispensation of grace. And perhaps Jesus had this wonderful gift in mind when He said to the woman, "Whosoever drinketh of this water [in Jacob's well] shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." And the woman replied, "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw."

    But there was something this woman must do before she could even taste of that Water of which Jesus spoke. Her house had to be put in order. Her past life had to be straightened up. And the Son of God knew all about her life, even as He knows our lives. No secret sins are hid from God. Jesus therefore pointed her back to those five husbands, and this man whom she now had -- who was not her husband. This all had to be fixed up, if she was to have the Gift of which Jesus spoke. The trumpet note of the forerunner, John the Baptist was, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." There is no entrance into it -- no man can even see it -- without repentance and restitution, for that heavenly Kingdom is made up of a clean, holy people.

    With her life disclosed, this woman had a higher estimation of Who Jesus was: "Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet." And she took this occasion to bring up another dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans: "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." In the early days the Samaritans built a temple upon Mount Gerizim, not far from Jacob's well: the invaders later destroyed this temple. But the Samaritans, who believed in the Books of Moses and hoped in the promised Messiah, still worshiped on that mount. And this question of the proper place to worship did not end with the Jews and Samaritans. For many centuries it has been a subject of contention among the various religious sects. Yet Jesus, brushing away again the contentions of men, settled the whole issue in a brief and beautiful statement: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him."

    And at this point the woman said, "I know that Messiah cometh, which is called the Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things." Heretofore, Jesus had not disclosed His Messiahship -- not even to the doctors of the Law in the Temple. But to this poor woman at the well He said, "I that speak unto thee am he." How penetrating to the listening ear can be just a sentence or a word from the Son of God! A great light dawned upon this woman. The promise of old was fulfilled. Here before her stood the Messiah for Whom she had looked.

    Leaving her waterpot, she hastened back to the city with the testimony: "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" And forthwith a large company of her townspeople streamed out of the city for Jacob's well, to see this Man of Whom she spoke. And a great revival broke forth in Sychar. Their testimony to the woman was this: "Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world."

    Some years later, shortly after the day of Pentecost, Philip the Evangelist went up into this same province of Samaria and preached Christ unto them, "And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.” And when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God they sent Peter and John, who found a company saved and sanctified. Laying hands upon them, Peter and John prayed, and the believers received the mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost, poured out as on the day of Pentecost. And how do we know but that at some time in this great revival there came also this woman of Samaria with a company of her townspeople, among whom the Seed was sown, and they, too, received the mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost, rejoicing at the well of Living Water "springing up into everlasting life?"

    Questions: 

    1. Why did Jesus depart from Judea at this particular time?
    2. What was the most direct route from Judæa to Galilee?
    3. What other route did Jesus and His disciples sometimes take?
    4. For what reason did He go through Samaria at this time?
    5. When He asked for a drink at the wed, why did the woman hesitate?
    6. What was Jesus' answer to this woman when she denied Him a drink?
    7. In what way was this woman to receive the Living Water of which Jesus told her?
    8. Why did Jesus at this point bring up her past life?
    9. What was the woman's testimony when she went back to the city?
    10. What were the results of her testimony to her townspeople?
    11. Name the great truths, which Jesus taught this woman at the wed.