February 5, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“He told her, ‘Go, call your husband and come back.’ ‘I have no husband,’ she replied. Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’ ‘Woman,’ Jesus replied, ‘believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’ The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he.’”—John 4:16–26 (NIV)
In yesterday’s passage, Jesus informs the woman He has better water—living water—that produces eternal life. She doesn’t fully understand what this water is, but she knows she needs it and she senses He can truly provide it!
Knowing her willingness, Jesus tells her to get her husband, knowing she didn’t have one. Here we see Jesus hone in on the woman’s deepest need—to be cleansed from sin and shame. To do this, He gently exposes sin in her life, but she chooses to conceal it by giving an answer that’s factually truthful, but functionally dishonest. So, Jesus reveals His omniscience by laying out this woman’s past and the reason she’s an outcast—she’s had five husbands and was living with her boyfriend. Why did He do this? Because one way or another, sin must be brought to light and dealt with by Jesus. And that can either be done in forgiveness and grace—as He did here—or in judgment upon death.
So now, the woman concludes Jesus has divine knowledge. He is, at the very least, a prophet, but maybe He’s the Messiah. So, she brings up differences in doctrine between Jews and Samaritans, the issue of the Gerizim vs. Zion. But Jesus shatters that notion telling her that a new day had dawned when He said, “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth.”
Now, she has to know who is standing in front of her, so she casually brings up Messiah, likely hoping for some sort of confirmation. And in verse 26, Jesus actually gives it! Did you know that the Samaritan woman at the well is the first-person Jesus outright declared Himself as Messiah to? This is a truly significant moment in the Gospel of John. Miracles and signs are one thing, but a Messianic proclamation is truly game changing.
The ramifications of this kind of proclamation were enormous. Jesus declared Himself, before this woman, to be the One who would reveal all mysteries and restore all things. The Messiah had come to a non-Jewish town inhabited by the enemies of the Jews and proclaimed Himself Christ the Savior. Before the enemies of His people, Jesus demonstrated in no uncertain terms that He had truly come, as He told Nicodemus in John 3:16, to bring salvation, peace, redemption, restoration, and eternal life to all who believe in Him.
May we remember this beautiful model for personal evangelism that Jesus has given us here. May we remember to build relationships with people, to look beyond worldly differences because Jesus shatters them all, to share truth in love, and to clearly present people with the gospel truth that leads to salvation.
Pause: What does Jesus’ interaction with this woman reveal to us about personal evangelism? What does it reveal about worldly ideology, politics, race, ethnicity, gender, class, past, and any other criteria we often use to build walls of division amongst ourselves?
Practice: Consider how Jesus dealt with the sin in this woman’s life. He exposed it, but in love, with gentleness and compassion, and free from condemnation. Now, consider how you confront sin in your own life and in the lives of others. Does it line up with Jesus’ way? If not, what can you do in this season to change that?
Pray: Father, give me eyes to see people the way Jesus did and does. By Your Spirit, give me the gentleness, compassion, love, grace, and mercy of Jesus so I may do the work You’ve called me to, the work of making disciples and reaching the lost in Jesus’ name. Help me show the truth of Jesus and lead people to the worship of Jesus. Amen.
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.