Lessons At The Well
I was in Byers, Texas, in the middle of a field in a dorm full of seven to twelve year olds, when I read the story about the woman at the well with fresh eyes. Do you ever read something that you have read before, maybe even a million times, and process it completely differently? That is what happened for me that day. In John 4:7-30, most of you have read the story in the bible of the woman at the well at least once before and today you get to read it again.
I pray that as you read, God will give you fresh eyes to see something new. Most of all, I pray you would feel God’s Spirit with you as you read this truth.
John.4:7 A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?”
(His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch.)
I just want to point out an obvious detail (that you may all already know). At that time, Jews did not speak to Samaritans, yet Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a drink regardless. I hope you already know the example that Jesus is setting for us in those first two verses. "Everybody always" - as Bob Goff would say it. There is no limit to who God loves, so we must learn from Jesus to live that truth out the same way.
John.4:9 The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”
(Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)
John.4:10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”
11-12 The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”
It does kind of make sense that Jesus would be thirsty after His trip to Galilee, but as you keep reading, you'll discover that Jesus only asked her for a drink to grab her attention.
How many times in your life has the Holy Spirit grabbed your attention with just a small gesture or by putting a small thought in your head. Next time, thank Him for grabbing your attention right away. If you can’t remember a time, stop right now and invite the Holy Spirit to have free and full access to your heart. Sometimes, that is all God really wants. Our attention. In this story, Jesus not only wants to give her His attention, He wants to give her the truth because He knows it will set her free.
John.4:13-14 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”
15 The woman said, “Sir, give me this water so I won’t ever get thirsty, won’t ever have to come back to this well again!”
The Samaritan woman is still thinking about being physically thirsty. She still desires for her need to be met and of course the deal that Jesus is making sounds like the ultimate answer to her problem. She has yet to see that He means and even more than that. Jesus is offering her the same truth. The truth that will set her free to live fully and without thirst.
John.4:16 He said, “Go call your husband and then come back.”
17-18 “I have no husband,” she said.
“That’s nicely put: ‘I have no husband.’ You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now isn’t even your husband. You spoke the truth there, sure enough.”
Why would Jesus go as far into the details of her personal life? Is it to shame her? No. Is it to make her feel pain about her decisions? No. I believe it is to show her that He truly sees her and truly knows her.
After reading these last couple of verses, the intention becomes even more clear. Jesus wants her to feel known. He chooses some of the most intimate parts of her life to prove that He knows her.
It takes me back to so many intentional ways God shows His love for me. Whether it is reminding me of a task I needed to complete or setting up a time to be with someone I love–He always finds a way to help me.
My favorite love gesture from the Lord is when He reminds me to look at the moon. I have a fascination with the moon, and that is a story for another time but He knows! Sometimes, I miss the opportunity to see a full moon, especially if my mind is full or my eyes are too focused to notice my surroundings but, in the way that only God can, He reminds me to look up and in that moment, I feel deeply seen. He wants us to feel known because once we feel known, we can not help but believe.
John.4:19-20 “Oh, so you’re a prophet! Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?”
21-23 “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter.
I love this promise and it still stands today! No matter where you are and what you are seen as–you can worship the Father freely! I am so thankful for this truth. My favorite part of this whole passage is the next two verses.
John.4:23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”
Whenever I read this verse with fresh eyes for the first time, it hit me like a ton of bricks! This is the foundation that God desires us to live upon. This is what we abandon ourselves to find–living hand in hand with the Holy Spirit! Our true being, simply and honestly true to our spirit in worship. Jesus teaches us right there what we truly need our foundation to be. Our worship is our way of life and when we find our true self–in the spirit–we truly live!
The Holy Spirit is meant to be a part of us–to be alive through us. Living without the Holy Spirit is like living without a vital part of your body. If you didn’t have some vital parts of your body, you would be able to live your life but your life experiences would be lessened. Trying to live through “thirsty” or challenging seasons without surrendering your natural responses, is like trying to paddle a kayak in rocks. The kayak doesn’t belong in rocks. It belongs in the water. The living water, guided by the Holy Spirit. When we accept and believe that concept, it sets us on the course of true living and true freedom!
John.4:25 The woman said, “I don’t know about that. I do know that the Messiah is coming. When he arrives, we’ll get the whole story.”
26 “I am he,” said Jesus. “You don’t have to wait any longer or look any further.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked. They couldn’t believe he was talking with that kind of a woman. No one said what they were all thinking, but their faces showed it.
The moment the Samaritan woman truly felt known, she believed. I believe she had the same realization I did whenever I read what Jesus was really saying–she wanted the living water that Jesus was talking about–a life with Jesus and the fullness of God. Not just because she knew that it would quench her thirst, but she knew then it was how God meant for us to live.
John.4:28-30 The woman took the hint and left. In her confusion she left her water pot. Back in the village she told the people, “Come see a man who knew all about the things I did, who knows me inside and out. Do you think this could be the Messiah?” And they went out to see for themselves.”
The moment she decided to believe, she ran to tell the others. She even left her water bucket because it no longer mattered to her. She went to the well in need of water, but her need for physical water was eclipsed after she set her eyes on the truth, the living water.
When we know how we are made to live, our needs become spiritual, not physical. You no longer need a tangible thing, you need one of the fruits of the spirit. You no longer need a new shirt, you need self control. You no longer need coffee, you just need the joy of the Lord to give you strength. Can you see the pattern?
When we believe what God says and we start living truly and fully–we no longer want it just for ourselves, we want it for everyone else around us too. This looks differently for all of us and that is the beauty of humanity. We all have this truth to share and spread in our own individual ways. I believe that is why the bible tells us not to compare our lives to one another, because if we do, we may accidentally miss out on our personal mission because we were living like someone else, rather than who God created us to be. That is why we stand firm on this truth, of being simply and honestly ourselves in spirit and in truth.
I pray that by now, that you know this is just as much for you and me as it was for the Samaritan woman. HOW EXCITING! We get to live this life with this TRUTH! It frees me and I am over-the-moon grateful!
Today I pray that you are reminded of the truth and that you are challenged by what Jesus was teaching us in this scripture. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit what He wants to teach/remind you through this passage today.
Ask God to give you eyes for everyone. Your neighbor, your coworker, the lady at the dollar tree check out, or the gym that you frequent everyday (haha). Jesus was intentional with the woman at the well, even though she was a Samaritan.
Ask the Holy Spirit to sharpen your ears/heart to know when He is trying to get your attention on.
Perhaps a beautiful sunset, a smile from someone driving in the car next to you, a text message from a friend that you haven't heard from in a while, or a dream that you thought was from eating too much pizza too late the night before. Jesus didn’t want a drink from the Samaritan woman’s water, He wanted her attention.
Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you throughout your day. Training your mind to think spiritually first, and then physically. Are you tired because you didn't sleep enough? Maybe, but also, ask yourself where your strength is coming from. Are you annoyed at your spouse because they did something annoying? Maybe, but also, ask yourself what is leading you; your emotion or the fruit of the spirit?
We used to sing a song about the Fruit of the Spirit when I was a child. It goes like this, “The fruit of the spirit is not a coconut, if you want to be a coconut, you can’t be a fruit of the spirit.” Rest in the truth that God truly KNOWS you and thank Him for it. You don’t have to explain yourself, He already knows you deeply.
Thank God for sending you an example of how to live and a helpmate to live truly/fully. “That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before Him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit.” verse 23-24
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you share this truth. What does that look like for you?
-Pastor Alyssa Aguilar