7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 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.) 10 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.” 11 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? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 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.”John 4:4-14
A. [John 4:10] The Gift of God
I doubt very much that this particular Samaritan woman would have considered having to go to the well to draw water to be a gift from God.
Although Solomon had said:-
Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of GodEcclesiastes 5:19
we have good reason to believe that this woman was somewhat of a social outcast who was at the well at that hour to avoid the other women of the town. So no, she didn’t have ‘the power’ to enjoy coming to the well by herself every day; thank you very much!
But when Jesus said:-
“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.”John 4:10
there was enough about this stranger who asked for a drink and offered “living water” for her to keep talking to him.
Our contention is that this generation is not asking for living water because we neither know who Jesus is nor what the gift of God is. Even those who know what the Bible stories say and can quote the relevant texts often don’t know who he is or what they mean. So let’s put it to the test.
Q. What is the gift of God?
Ans. 1). Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 2). Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God …
If you know that eternal life/salvation by faith is the gift of God then you are going to take this gift while it is on offer, indeed you are going to sue for it: why wouldn’t you? If you know the gift of God what could be wrong with you that you wouldn’t ask?
B. [John 4:11-14] The Greatness of the Giver
But of course the woman could have known neither Romans 6:23 nor Ephesians 2:8 because they had yet to be written. However she had a few questions of her own to ask. She fixated on the well at first; assuming that this living water must be drawn from it; and so she observed: “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep.” But soon she turns her attention — and so should we — away from the circumstances and on to the person:-
“Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”John 14:11c-12
But — again like us — part of the reason the woman didn’t know who Jesus was was down to the fact that she didn’t know herself. Certainly the story about descent from the Patriarch Jacob was just something she’d been taught. The original readers of John’s gospel with access — that she did not share — to the LXX Greek translation of the Old Testament could read:-
24 And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel. And they took possession of Samaria and lived in its cities. 25 And at the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear the Lord. Therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land. Therefore he has sent lions among them, and behold, they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.” 27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there, and let him go and dwell there and teach them the law of the god of the land.” 28 So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel and taught them how they should fear the Lord.2 Kgs. 17:24-28
The astonishing reply of Jesus to the woman’s ancestry claim was that it did not matter: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.” Neither privilege nor parentage can make a person ineligible to drink. Almost the last words in the Bible are:-
let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.Rev. 22:17b
So, is anybody thirsty? Jesus said, “The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Who is this giver of the gift of life? Who is this Jesus?
C. [John 4:7-9] The Epitome of Hospitality
Jesus is the Jew asking for a drink from … a woman of Samaria. He is the stranger of Galilee, passing by. He is the one who stands outside:-
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.Rev. 3:20
Given the enmity between their peoples, Jesus —amazing that he should be there in the first place — is indicating that if water is drawn for him he will drink it. This is just what would normally never take place. That the Creator is prepared to accept hospitality from the Creature is genuine condescension. Compare that with grudging pseudo-condescension so prevalent that it has squeezed the original meaning out of the dictionary.
Don’t be complaining about those you think to be unworthy, who enter in freely to all the freedoms of God’s own children. Know instead that we are all unworthy, unprofitable servants. So, when Jesus knocks, let him in.