John 4:1-15 “Living Water”

Introduction:  This story illustrates again Jesus’ ability to reach a lost person with the message of hope.  We saw this demonstrated with Nicodemus in chapter three and with Nathanael in chapter one.  Here in this text Jesus will reach a lost woman with the living water of salvation which only He can provide.  


John 4:1  When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

John 4:2  (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)

John 4:3  He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.

            Jesus knows all things.  He knew all about Nathanael.  He knew all about turning water into wine.  He knew all about Nicodemus.  He knows all about the Pharisees and their jealousy over John and of himself.  Jesus knows all about the Woman He will meet at the well and he knows all about you.  Verse one sets the time of Jesus departure for Galilee.  He waited until the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was even more popular than John.  Jesus waited until the spies which the Pharisees had watching Jesus and John returned to file their report.  Knowing that trouble would begin to brew, Jesus departed for Galilee.  It is noted here that Jesus did not baptize anyone.  His baptizing some and not others would have been a cause of contention among the early church.  There was enough contention as it was for some were saying I am of Paul and others I am of Apollos and others I am of Cephas.  If Jesus had baptized some they might have lorded it over their fellow believers.  To avoid this Jesus did not baptize but left that action up to his disciples.

            Jesus leaves the area were there is a high concentration of Pharisees for the country of Galilee.  Here He would be out of sight and somewhat out of mind as far as the Pharisees are concerned.  God, far away, is easier to take than God in your house.  Men do not realize that God is every where and knows all things.  He is right next to you all the time.  Peter once asked to Lord to depart from him because he (Peter) was a sinful man.  When one realizes God is close his sin and guilt are felt strongly.  With Jesus in Galilee the Pharisees were not as stirred up because they did not have to fight the feeling of guilt that coming to the light brings.


Joh 4:4  And he must needs go through Samaria.

Joh 4:5  Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

Joh 4:6  Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with [his] journey, sat thus on the well: [and] it was about the sixth hour.

            Jesus has a date with a woman of Samaria.  Jesus and His disciples were not accustomed to going through Samaria.  The Samaritans were hated by the Jews.  They were half breed Jews and were looked down on by Jews.  They did not worship as the Jews worship.  Jesus would use this fact against the Pharisees when He would tell of a good Samaritan who help a man who fell among thieves.  He would tell of a Samaritan who was one of ten lepers healed by Jesus and he alone returned to give thanks and glorify God for his cleansing.

            The city was called Sychar which means “drunken”.  Isaiah had rebuked Ephraim for their drunkenness in chapter 28 of the book of Isaiah.  When men get drunk they are known to do sinful and foolish things.  They lose what ever respect they might have had with their fellow men.  Well has God said that wine is a mocker and strong drink a raging.  Is it any wonder that the Jews loathed the Samaritans and even called Jesus a Samaritan to insult Him.  These Samaritans live on a piece of ground that belongs to the Jews.  The Jews do not deem these people worthy to live at all never mind live on property that rightfully belongs to the true descendents of Jacob.  I can just imagine the disciples having to go and buy food from the Samaritans would hate the prospect. 

            Jesus was wearied.  Jesus knows what it is like to be weary.  Jesus knows what it feels like to be thirsty and hungry.  When we go to Jesus in prayer with our pain He knows well what we endure.  When you are tired and just have to sit down Jesus understands.  What a comfort the we have a high priest which is touched by our infirmities.  He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  He knows what is to be betrayed by a friend.  He knows very well what pain is.  He knows disappointment. When wearied He sat down to rest.  He expects you to do the same.  There comes a time for rest.  That time is when you are weary.  To many want to rest all the time but that is not the example set by Christ or Lord.  Do you think it a coincidence that He became weary at this place and time?  There is no such thing as fate or chance or coincidence with Jesus.  You see now why He “must needs go through Samaria.”

            It is high noon that is the sixth hour according to the Jewish clock.  This was the beginning of the heat of the day and Jesus had traveled for several hours and would by this time be weary and ready for rest and food.  Jesus knew that a woman would come to draw water at this time and He planned to meet her there alone.   


John 4:7  There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

John 4:8  (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

John 4:9  Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

            The woman of Samaria comes to draw water.  She needs water to survive.  She can not live without water.  If she does not come to the well and get water she will die.  Thirst has driven her to the well.  She goes to fill her water pot but will return to her house with a well.

            We must remember that what Jesus does is always right.  He can do no wrong.  He is without sin.  He gives this woman a command.  He says “give me to drink.”  This may seem rude to us.  We are not there to hear the tone of His voice.  The woman gives no indication of offence at his command.  In verse eight John explains that Jesus is alone with the woman.  This explains why He asks for water instead of one of His disciples.  Jesus needed to be alone with her that she might feel free to speak her mind.  The conversation that follows would not have happened if the disciples had been present.  They would have been a distraction and the woman would not have felt comfortable in the presence of so many Jewish men. 

            The woman asks Jesus why He being a Jew would ask her a woman of Samaria for a drink.  How does she know that Jesus is a Jew?  Could it be the hem of His garment.  They wore a blue hem on their garments according to the command of God in Law of Moses.  What ever the identifying mark she knew He was Jewish and Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.  It was out of place indeed for a Jewish man to ask a Samaritan woman anything.  Jesus is no respecter of persons.  He loves everyone.  Jew and gentile are all the same in the eyes of God.  All have sinned and Christ has come to die for all mankind.  When Jesus told Nicodemus “whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish” He meant “Whosoever.”  The phrase “for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” is a foot note placed by John to explain the woman’s question.  This phrase was not spoken by her to Jesus.


Joh 4:10  Jesus answered and said unto her, 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.

            Jesus answers her question in a strange way.  She wants to know why Jesus is not prejudiced like all other Jews.  Jesus is going to explain this to her.  He is a Jew in the flesh but He is also God in the flesh.  He is not prejudiced against her because He loves her.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  God loves you. God loves even me.  Other’s may hate you but not God.  God loves everyone.  God hates sin but He loves sinners.

            If she knew the gift of God she would seek it.  What is the gift of God?

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Salvation which results in eternal life is the gift of God.  This gift is made available to us because God gave His Son to die for our sins.  If she knew the gift and if she knew the giver she would ask Him to quench the thirst of her soul and He would give her the living waters of salvation.


John 4:11  The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

            She observes that Jesus has no vessel with which to draw water.  She knows that without the proper tools He is not going to have any water.  If He has water to give from where will it come?  She is thinking of literal water and if Jesus is meaning something else then she needs Him to explain.  Jesus is speaking in a figurative sense.  The water He offers is not literally water.  He speaks of salvation of the soul and the new birth which results in a new creature that is divine in nature.  When she says the well is deep she is speaking of Jacobs well.  The well from which Jesus will draw is deep indeed.  We have no idea how deep.  For Jesus will take the sins of the whole world upon himself and suffer the penalty in mans place.  Is it any wonder that He prayed “let this cup pass from me?”  The source of living water comes by way of the cross of Jesus Christ.  To say that well is deep is an understatement. 


John 4:12  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

            Lady you have no idea how much greater He is than Jacob.  Jacob wrestled with Him.  Jacob had his thigh put out of joint by Him.  Jacob was rescued from Laban by Him.  Jacob saw Him in a dream as the intercessor between God and man.  Jacob longed to see His day.  Jacob would be the first to tell you of the greatness, mercy, grace and love of this man Jesus.  Jesus made the water and the dry land.  Jesus created all things.  All Jacob did was dig a whole in the ground and you think him great.  Jesus made the Sun, Moon, Earth, and Stars.  Jacob never saved anyone.  Jesus saves all who repent.      


John 4:13  Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

John 4:14  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.

John 4:15  The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

            The water of that well which Jacob dug had provided for many generations water to sustain physical life.  The people drank from that well with grateful hearts toward Jacob for his providing for them this much needed resource.  They thought him great even though water only satisfies on a very temporary basis.  What would be and should be the feelings of greatness for one who could provide water that forever quenches thirst.  Jesus offers just such a cure for the thirsty soul.  I will be thirsty for the short time I am here on the earth.  But my soul will never thirst again.  It took one drink and is forever hydrated.  Not only does it quench my thirsting soul but I can share it with others and it will quench their soul if they will but drink of it.

            This sounds like a good deal to the woman and she asks for this water.  I can hear almost a sarcastic sound to her voice as she calls his bluff.  Let me try this water and see if it is true that I will not have to return here for water ever again.  She will indeed receive the water and she will drink of it and she will leave her water pot behind.  She will return to her town with a well of water to share with all she can.  She is about to have a full understanding of what it means to have the thirst of her soul quenched.  She needs two things and Jesus is about to give them to her.  She needs to acknowledge and confess her sins and she needs to believe in Jesus as the Christ the savior of men.  In the next verse He will accomplish both.  She will be confronted with her sin and she will know that He is Christ the Lord.

Conclusion:   Will you come and drink of the water of life today.  To drink all you have to do is confess your guilt of sin to God and ask Him to forgive you and have mercy on your soul and save you.  He makes you a solemn promise that if you will confess your sins He will forgive.  Whosoever, and that includes you, shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.