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  • Writer's pictureLiz Miller

A Closer Look into the Woman at the Well

Jesus is found leaving Judea and is on His way to Galilee. He went through Samaria on His journey when most Jews would have tried to avoid the region. Samaritans were the result of a mixed race, a people who were impure, in the Jews opinion. The pure Jews hated this mixed race because they felt like they had betrayed their people and nation by intermarriage between the Jews and the foreigners. Jesus did not live by such restrictions! Twice each day, morning and evening, women would come to draw water from the well. The woman at the well came at noon, the hottest part of the day. Probably to avoid other women that knew of her reputation.

The woman at the well

There is not a lot of information on the woman at the well, not even her name is mentioned. We do however see the cultural “strikes” that she has against her. One being that she is a Samaritan, an unclean race in the eyes of a Jew. The second strike is that she is a woman. Being a woman in this culture would have meant that she was a lower class. Strike three, she was immoral and known to be living with a man that she was not married to. A typical religious Jewish man would never be caught talking to a woman like her especially in a public place. Thankfully, Jesus was no ordinary man!

Jesus Seeks Out the Broken

The woman at the well is such a beautiful picture of why Jesus came to this earth. Luke 19:10, He came for the lost. Isaiah 61:1, He was sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to prisoners. Like so many others, Jesus sought her out in her brokenness. Meeting her exactly where she was. She didn’t have to get whole before she came to Him, nor did the circumstances have to be perfect! Nope, He came to her at the hottest part of the day, in a place where most wouldn’t go, to meet her in her desperation right where she was. He came to give her what she didn’t even know she was looking for. Due to her circumstances, in and out of her control, she was left rejected by others. Yet, her path of brokenness led her to the feet of Jesus because He came to find her. The exact path of brokenness is not what matters. It doesn’t matter how she (or you) got there or who she was (or who you are), broken is broken. Regardless if it was due to life’s circumstances, or if it was due to life choices that lead you there…. Broken is Broken. We all have different levels of brokenness and different paths that brought us there. But if you are reading this today, you now know that we all have a man named Jesus, who regardless of the barriers; He comes to find us right where we are! And in His own personal way, He calls out to us!

Jesus Calls Out to the Broken

In this encounter with the woman at the well, He calls out to her – (verse 7) “Please give me a drink.” You can just feel her unworthiness coming off the pages in her response. She just couldn’t understand why he would speak to her. He responds to her insecurities about who she was and what she had to offer with who He is and what He has to offer. So many times I had similar responses to God. “How could You love me?” “How could You want me?” “ How could You ever use someone like me?” And the response was the same as He took my eyes off of who I thought I was and turned them towards who He is. (verse 10) Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” Like most of us, she was confused, she lacked understanding, and she just couldn’t hear what Jesus was really saying. I know in my own personal life no matter how many times I heard the words “Jesus loves me” (Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:16), I just could not “hear” how that was personally for me. No matter how many times Jesus tried telling me how He wanted me for His very own (Ephesians 1:5, Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 2:9), I just couldn’t “hear” or believe that I was wanted by Him. No matter how many times He told me I had purpose (Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 2:10), I just could not hear how someone like me, who was riddled by failures and consumed by sin, could have a purpose for God.

Jesus Pursues the Broken

You see, in her response she too was not hearing what Jesus was trying to offer her; what Jesus had for her. I’m so thankful for the patience of Jesus. How He keeps coming after us. How He keeps speaking to us until our ears are finally opened. (verse 13-14) He spoke again saying, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” The woman was stuck on what the world’s “well” could provide her. She was so busy trying to take care of her own “thirst” that she could not see that there was another way. Even with this second response from Jesus the woman at the well was confused. But, inside her heart she knew that she wanted what He had to offer. Even if she didn’t totally understand what “IT” was. I love how Jesus meets us where we are, then takes us where we need to be. Step by step, truth by truth…He leads and guides us to understanding.

Oh, how I can look back and see this in my own life. How I ran from one “well” to the next that this world offered me; as I was trying to quench my own thirst. I ran to the “well” of men, thinking if I could only feel the love of a man this would satisfy that hole inside me. Oh, how I prostituted my body to get their counterfeit “love”. Just to be discarded when they were done with me. Which only further confirmed my feelings of unworthiness, leaving me even emptier than before. The enemy is such a liar and I believed everyone of the lies he spoke. Since this proverbial well left me thirsting for more I tried the “well” of drugs and alcohol. Anything to mask the pain and to silence the voices of my not being enough. But all the men, drugs, and alcohol in the world couldn’t touch the deep void growing inside me. It was a thirst/desire I couldn’t explain. I did not know why it was there or where it came from. It was just always there longing for more looking for something. My soul was yearning for something, but I just could not figure out what. I didn’t always look for self-destructive things, mind you. As I matured I looked for new “wells”. I tried education, a successful career, money and the nice houses and things money could buy. Surely that would fill this void. But no, those wells ran dry also. Money really couldn’t buy what I was looking for. The wells of this world just could not fill or satisfy my thirst.

Jesus Makes Himself Known to the Broken

This time when Jesus speaks to the woman at the well He tells her to go get her husband. It was her moment of truth. This is an important step towards Jesus, one that we all come to eventually. One way or another we all stand face to face with Jesus and we’ll have to decide: Will we be honest with ourselves? Will we be honest with Him? Will we hide behind our excuses? Do we paint a prettier picture than what’s really there? After all, being honest requires us to become vulnerable and if we do that it could lead to more rejection. This is a pivotal moment for this woman at the well! We all must be honest with ourselves and honest with Jesus when this moment comes. After all, as you can see by His response in verses 17 and 18, He already knew everything she had ever done. For our God is perfect in His knowledge of us. (Please take time to read Psalms 139. It’s such a wonderful picture of Jehovah’s intimate knowledge towards us.) When Jesus told her everything she had ever done she knew He wasn’t just any Jewish man. She immediately turns to questions about religion. Oh, I’ve tried that “well” too! Trying to understand all that is required of me. Trying to find out what all my boxes are that I needed to check so I could be “right” with God. That was one of the most frustrating wells I ever tried. I was circling around the truth but I just kept missing Jesus! Notice how Jesus replies back with the “heart” of relationship. How true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. It’s not about a place or a person, it is about God and us worshiping Him in spirit and truth. It was about Jesus! How He made the way of understanding and how He is the bridge for men to find God. Now in verse 26 Jesus reveals Himself, “I AM the Messiah!” and by this her ears were finally opened and she heard.

When the Broken Responds

When she finally heard Jesus she saw Him for who He really is and she was changed! She left her water at the well. The water this world had to offer was finally abandoned. And this unnamed woman…this broken rejected woman…she ran back to her village telling everyone… “Come see the man who told me everything I ever did.” So, the people came streaming from the village to see Jesus. Jesus took this broken, unnamed, nobody and made such an impact on her that everyone she knew saw it. Because of her life changing encounter with Jesus, she led an entire village to the feet of Jesus. Even when she herself didn’t fully understand or know everything. Jesus used her in a mighty way. Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman at the well said. “He told me everything I ever did”. She told others her story. Her encounter with Jesus. And because of her story others came looking for Jesus. Because of her story they sought Him out for themselves. And in verse 42 they tell this woman…”Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves. Now we know that He is indeed the Savior of the world.”

My Closing Thoughts

Friends, I do not know where you are on your journey with Jesus. If you have never made Him your personal Lord and Savior I invite you to do so right now. There is no one too dirty that God can’t make worthy. He meets us right where we are in our brokenness. He doesn’t send us away to be fixed. He doesn’t ask us to get cleaned up first. Right where you are in the depths of your sin…He calls out to you! My prayer is that you will respond. Do not let the enemy whisper his lies to deter you so that you procrastinate and put it off. Today is the day of salvation 2 Corinthians 6:2. There’s not a special prayer required. Just cry out to Him from your heart. Here are some verses that I hope help you understand: Romans 3:23, You must admit and understand that you are a sinner. Isaiah 64:6, Even our best efforts are filthy rags compared to God’s standards. Romans 6:23, Due to our sin we have earned death/separation from God. John 3:3, John 3:15-21, We must believe in Jesus and that his sacrifice of dying on the cross made the way for salvation. John 14:6, You must believe Jesus is the only way and, Romans 10:9-11, confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.

2 Corinthians 5:15, You must understand that we should no longer live for ourselves. Revelation 3:20, If you hear His voice open your hearts door and He will come in. James 4:4, When we reject God we make ourselves to be His enemy. Romans 5:8, God demonstrated His GREAT love for us that while we were sinners and enemies He died for us.

If you are already a child of the living God but have gotten off track somewhere along the way my hope is that you come back to him today. He is the God of chances! Driven by His GREAT love for you, He keeps coming after you! Stop running away from Him and run to Him instead. 1 John 1:9, if we ask for forgiveness He is faithful to forgive and clean us. Don’t let the enemy lie to you by telling you that you are too far gone. You will NOT find that verse in the Bible. If you are breathing, God is NOT done with you!

Maybe you are so confused right now you don’t know where you are. I’ve been there too. Take comfort in knowing that Jesus knows exactly where you are even if you don’t. And just like He did with the woman at the well, He will come and find you exactly where you are. Just know that when you have a true encounter with Jesus, it changes you. And it will be a change that everyone will see!

Don’t underestimate what Jesus can do with your story! Run and tell your village and see what God does with your life when you share what Jesus did for you.

My Prayer for You

Father God in our brokenness we have all searched for the things of this world to fill us in one way or another. Sometimes in our blind spots we are still doing it and might not even be aware of it. Show us the areas in our lives where we are drinking from the “wells” of this world. Search our hearts and know it and reveal anything in us that you don’t like. Once you reveal these things to us give us the strength that we do not have to do what is required of us. Help us Father…rescue us! Lead us to the Living Water so that we will finally be quenched. Help us to see Jesus through spiritual eyes so we can really see Him. Help us to hear Your word with spiritual ears so we can really hear You and be changed. Give us a heart that responds to Your truth and moves us towards You! Do what only You can do. Holy Spirit, of the living God, speak to each individual that reads this. Let them hear it as if You are speaking straight into their souls. Let that encounter leave them changed and closer to You. I pray all of this in the powerful saving name of Jesus – AMEN

-Author: Lizz Miller

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