The Beauty of Jacob's Well
"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.
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.
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.
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.
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.
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?
Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water 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.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall
neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
But 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.God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the
woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with
The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" John 4:5-29
I have been getting a number of comments lately questioning whether Christians are supposed to address sin or error. Some say it is not "loving" to do so, and we have talked about that in the past. However, recently it was said that Jesus never pointed out people's sin; that Christians are only supposed to talk about the sin of believers...and some say we should not even address that! It was also suggested that pointing out sin to sinners is akin to casting pearls before swine. I have found none of these assertions to be Scriptural and believe the story of the woman at the well is quite relevant to these assertions.
The woman at the well was a Samaritan, and the Jews were to have no dealings with them. The Samaritans were a people mixed with the Gentiles and who shared a number of their idolatrous practices. Part of the sanctification of the Jewish people included separating themselves from Samaritans. This is why the woman at the well was so surprised that Jesus (obviously a Jew) would speak to her. Notice as well that this was not simply a distinction the Samaritan woman made, but one that Jesus also recognized for He comments that she is ignorant of salvation which is "of the Jews".
The interesting thing to consider however, is that the Samaritan woman was really of the lineage of Israel, she was of Jacob's loins. This is why the woman refers to Jacob (Israel) as her "father" who had given her people this well. Her fellow Samaritans were cousins to the Jews residing in Judea.
Although God had called them unto Himself to come out of the world (through the covenant with Jacob), the Samaritans had instead become mixed with in with the Gentiles over the generations, whereby they were almost indistinguishable from them.
This is a picture of God's people who are still in Babylon. They are for all intents and purposes "of the world", enslaved in sin, and ignorant of the salvation by which God is calling them unto Himself. They are in need of living water that only Jesus Christ can provide, but He must be revealed to them before they can receive it.
The city where this well is located is called "Sychar" which means "drunken". The woman is like the inhabitants of the earth depicted in Revelation, being "drunk" from the wine of the fornication of the world (Revelation 14:8, 17:2). God has a people who are still in Babylon, and He is calling them to come out of it (Revelation 18:4). As with those in Babylon, this woman outwardly appeared not to be a Jew. Even the condition of her life being filled with sin and fornication would contest any assertion that she is one called of God. Yet Jesus offers her living water.
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say,
Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take
the water of life freely." Revelation 22:17
Such is the beauty of Jacob's well. It is for all who would come and thirst, including those who right now might appear to be sinners lost in the world (as we also once appeared). It comes with a message to turn from the wine of the world which makes you drunk and be filled instead with living waters from the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)!
Yet, notice as well how Jesus was revealed to this woman and what convinced her that He was indeed the Messiah. Jesus was clearly loving and wise, yet one thing stood out: Jesus told her about herself, including her sin.
"Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" John 4:29
I read the book of Micah last week and it is filled with God's judgment against sin. He will 'tread upon the high places, 'beat down the idols', 'make the exalted lands a heap'... Yet as I read, I noticed myself in agreement with these judgments saying in my heart to God, "Yes Lord, tear down every false way in me. Destroy every idol. Break in pieces every high thing in my heart." I don't share that to say, "Oh, look how humble I am." I share it because it just brought home to me how God's work in judging sin is a blessing to His people! These judgments I saw as promises from God that He will not leave us in the filth and degradation we were born into in the world. The beauty of Jacob's well is not only that it gives us living water, but that it deals with our sin! That is a good thing!
Don't you want to be cleansed and purged to be more like Jesus every day? Don't you want Him to expose the secret things of the heart which keep us from true intimacy with Him? Don't you want Him to put His finger on those things which plant seeds of the world in our hearts? Such is the yearning of true believers.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24
Jesus dealt with sin, even the sin of those who would be considered "of the world". Such should not be done in condemnation (John 8:3-9) or hypocrisy (Matthew 7:1-5). However, exposing sin is certainly part of the Gospel. That is why John the Baptist (in the spirit of Elijah) comes first to preach repentance and that men make their pathways straight in preparation for the coming of the Lord. We are called to warn the wicked and the righteous so that men may come to repentance and believe God (Ezekiel 3:18-21).