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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“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.’”—John 4:10 (NLT)
John 4 contains one of my absolute favorite interactions in the entire Bible: Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. I believe there are few encounters in the Bible that show the heart of God more clearly than this one.
On his journey, Jesus passes through Samaria, which He didn’t have to do— most Jews took the long way around to avoid Samaria—but Jesus had a meeting He needed to get to. When He stops at Jacob’s well, He meets an outcast Samaritan woman and asks her for a drink. While Jesus’ request would have seemed normal from a weary Gentile traveller, it shocked the Samaritan woman because Jesus was a Jew.
Jesus’ response to the woman’s surprise is truly profound. He says, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
According to F.F. Bruce, “Water, in a land subject to drought, is appreciated as a true gift from God. Any traveller in Palestine quickly learns how indispensible it is. But Jesus now speaks of a greater gift of God than the purest earthly spring can supply . . . the gift of the Spirit, life eternal.”
Notice how Jesus completely ignores the Jewish-Samaritan hostility and takes the conversation to a completely different place, revealing powerful and hidden things to her. In verse 25, the woman speaks of the coming Messiah who will explain everything. It’s likely she began to suspect the identity of the One before this moment, and Jesus answered her by proclaiming Himself as Messiah. This Samaritan woman is the first to learn that Jesus is the Messiah. Isn’t that amazing?
The ramifications of this proclamation were enormous. The Messiah had come to this non-Jewish town, inhabited by the enemies of the Jews. It was here where Jesus first proclaimed Himself the Savior of the world. Before the enemies of His people, Jesus demonstrated in no uncertain terms that He had truly come for all who believe in Him, to save the whole world and not just the Jewish people. By unexpectedly proclaiming salvation and reconciliation with God to the Samaritans, Jesus showed that He truly was the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, which stated that through His seed, all nations would be blessed.
DIG: Read John 4:1–42.
DISCOVER: What does Jesus’ proclamation to this Samaritan woman mean to you?
DISPLAY: Spend time in prayer today thanking the Lord that He made salvation available to all of us, regardless of who we are or what we’ve done!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.