The Story of Jesus

The Woman By The Well

Jesus decided to return to Galilee. He and his disciples took the shorter road that led through Samaria. Not many Jews went this way because they hated the Samaritans. Although both the Jews and the Samaritans worshiped God, the Samaritans had built a temple in their own country instead of going to Jerusalem to worship.

In many ways Jesus was not like most other Jews. For one thing he did not feel bitter towards the Samaritans. He knew that God loved the people of every land.

When they had traveled as far as the little city of Sychar, Jesus was tired. He sat down to rest by a well Jacob had dug hundreds of years before. Here his disciples left him and went into the city to buy food.

Soon a woman from Sychar came to get water. She knew at a glance that the strange man sitting there was a Jew. Since Jews paid no attention to Samaritans, she passed by him and lowered her water jar into the deep well. When the water jar was full, she pulled it up again.

Just as the woman was ready to start back to the city, Jesus said, "Give me a drink."

The woman was so surprised at his request that she said, "Since you are a Jew, why do you ask a Samaritan woman for a drink ? You know the Jews have nothing to do with the Samaritans."

Jesus replied, "If you knew who asks you for a drink, you would ask him to give you living water."

The woman did not understand. She said, "Sir, this well is deep and you have nothing to draw the water up with. How could you give me living water? Are you greater than Jacob who gave us this well?" 

"Whoever drinks of this water becomes thirsty and returns again and again for more," Jesus answered. "Whoever drinks the water that I give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give springs up into everlasting life."

Now the woman was really interested. She did not know that the living water was Jesus' free gift of salvation to all people. So she said, "Sir, give me this water so I won't have to come here to get water any more."

And Jesus told the woman things about herself that she thought no one knew. He told her about the wrongs she had done.

The woman wondered how this stranger could know all about her. Then she decided, "Sir, I believe you are a prophet." Because she did not want to be reminded of her sins, she tried to start an argument about religion. She said, "We Samaritans worship here, but you Jews say people should go to Jerusalem to worship."

Jesus did not argue. Instead he explained that God planned to bring salvation through the Jews. "God is not found in only one place," he said, "for God is Spirit. Those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."

The woman had never heard such wonderful words. She said, "I know the Messiah, the Christ, is coming from God. When he comes, he will tell us everything."

How surprised the woman was when she heard Jesus say, "I am he"! Before she could ask him more, the disciples returned with food. Leaving her water jar by the well, she ran to tell her friends about this wonderful stranger.

When the disciples saw Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman, they wished they dared ask him, "What do you want? Why do you talk with her?" Instead they offered him food,. "Master, eat," they said.

Jesus refused. He said, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."

And the disciples whispered to one another, "Did someone bring him food while we were away?"

Jesus knew their question so he said, "My food is to do the will of my Father who has sent -me into the world."

Back in the city the woman ran through the streets telling the people about Jesus. "Come see a man who told me all the things I ever did," she said. "Is not he the Christ?"

The people were so curious that they decided to see this man for themselves. They went back to Jacob's well with her.

Jesus talked with the Samaritans about the things of God. They invited him to stay and teach them more, and Jesus agreed. For two days Jesus taught the people of Sychar. Many believed. They said to the woman who first met Jesus at the well, "Now we believe. Not because of what you told us, but because we heard for ourselves, we know this man is the Christ, the Savior of the world."

Jesus took his disciples and went on to Nazareth.


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