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©Kris Gerbrandt

Chapter 4:9-26 (ESV)

Posted on July 28, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 4:9-26 (ESV) - The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Question to consider: What are some contrasts between Jesus’ conversation with this woman and with Nicodemus?

People have a tendency to view the Samaritan woman as immoral because of her five husbands. I have always had a different take on her circumstances. Samaritans may have incorporated some of the practices of the surrounding nations, but they also were given the Law of Moses and would not have allowed a woman to have affairs and get divorced. Men could end a marriage with a writ of divorce or take on multiple wives. A woman did not have that luxury, and if she was caught in adultery, they would have stoned her for the offense. She seemed to be a woman who asked questions, understood the difference between Jewish and Samaritan worship and demonstrated faith that the Messiah was coming. It’s possible these sorts of questions were not appreciated by her different husbands. 

As far as the man she was currently with, it was not like today when people tend to live together before marriage, and she wasn’t a pagan. It is more likely Jesus referred to the man with whom she was betrothed. If she were sinning, Jesus would have addressed the sin much like He did with the woman caught in adultery when He said, “Go and sin no more.” If we look at this woman through this lens, I would submit that John was contrasting this encounter with the one Jesus had with Nicodemus.

The encounter with Nicodemus happened in the middle of the night whereas this encounter was in the middle of the day. Nicodemus was a ruling Pharisee. This woman was a Samaritan— someone who would be rejected by the Pharisees. The Pharisees rejected the testimonies and questioned the authorities of John the Baptist and Jesus regarding purification of the Jews even though Jesus performed miraculous signs. This woman immediately accepted Jesus as a prophet. 

Because Nicodemus didn’t believe Jesus about earthly things, Jesus could not reveal to Him heavenly things. To this woman, Jesus revealed that worship of the Father would no longer be tied to an earthly temple or mountain but done in spirit and truth. He then revealed that He was the Messiah whom she was faithfully expecting. 

Much like Jesus’ parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee in Luke’s gospel, I think the early readers of this account would have been shocked that a Samaritan woman went away justified rather than a ruler among the Pharisees.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for the faith of the Samaritan woman and for the eventual faith of Nicodemus. May we seek to worship You in spirit and in truth and trust in Your revealed word rather than our own attempts at righteousness. Amen.