John 4:1-13 “ Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again… ”
In John 4, we see Jesus going out of His way to go through Samaria, to the city of Sychar. This would be seen as a huge cultural taboo. Jews did not mix with Samaritans, much less go there on purpose to converse with one.
The Samaritans were descendants of colonists whom the Assyrian kings planted in Palestine after the fall of the Northern Kingdom. They were seen as half-breeds (mixed Gentile blood) and often regarded as “dogs” by the Jews. They were not only separated politically from the Jews, but also religiously. The Samaritans had built a temple on Mount Gerizim that rivaled the temple in Jerusalem.
We read of Jesus, ever more interested in the heart than in keeping up with social taboos, leaving Judea and heading toward Galilee. Normally, Jewish people would avoid Samaria on this trip by crossing to the east of the Jordan. However, Jesus intentionally went through Samaria, knowing whom He needed to speak with there, because of His everlasting love.
Jesus asks the woman for a drink. In our culture, that seems harmless. However, in that particular culture, it was highly unusual and frowned upon with Him being a Jew. He was a Jewish man who was seen as a rabbi (teacher to many), speaking to a Samaritan woman that was without her husband, in the middle of the day. This was significant (middle of the day) because this would not be the coolest or most favorable time to draw water. This gives some insight into this woman, who may have been a social outcast there. She did not draw water when the time was more favorable, with other women.
The woman is perplexed, as we can see in verse 9. The implication seems to be that she is questioning why He is asking her for a drink, believing that if she gave it to Him, it would be unclean (with her being a Samaritan and Him being a Jew). He informs her that everyone who drinks of the water from the well will thirst again, but that He has living water to offer her.
I’m sure you’ve read through and/or heard this narrative several times previously. But, one point stands out above all the rest. Jesus knew, ahead of time, about this woman and her history and current lifestyle. Yet, He went to her on purpose; to offer her living water. Salvation is a free gift from God that He asks us to receive without any prerequisite changes to our (her) life. After believing and because we believe (she), our lives should be changed because of seeing His everlasting love and grace toward us in offering. Jesus knew of her current lifestyle. But more importantly, He knew of her heart and how she knew of the coming messiah, even though she was living as the world. When Jesus made the intentional connection with her, showing her the need as a sinner, He spoke to her heart and she recognized him as the Christ.
Have you found that you, having been in pursuit of the “world’s water”, thirst again and again? Worldly pleasures have only temporal contentment. Living water is that which flows from a relationship with God and is eternally satisfying.