1 When Jesus knew that the Pharisees heard He was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), 3 He left Judea and went again to Galilee. 4 He had to travel through Samaria, 5 so He came to a town of Samaria called Sychar near the property that Jacob had given his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, worn out from His journey, sat down at the well. It was about six in the evening. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. “Give Me a drink,” Jesus said to her, 8 for His disciples had gone into town to buy food. 9 “How is it that You, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” she asked Him. For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.” 11 “Sir,” said the woman, “You don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. So where do You get this ‘living water’? 12 You aren’t greater than our father Jacob, are You? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and livestock.” 13 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again —ever! In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.” 15 “Sir,” the woman said to Him, “give me this water so I won’t get thirsty and come here to draw water.” 16 “Go call your husband,” He told her, “and come back here.” 17 “I don’t have a husband,” she answered. “You have correctly said, ‘I don’t have a husband,’” Jesus said. 18 “For you’ve had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, yet you Jews say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will explain everything to us.” 26 “I am He,” Jesus told her, “the One speaking to you.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
A personal encounter with Jesus. That is the whole story in a nutshell. It’s an unlikely person in an unlikely place, meeting the Sovereign Ruler of the universe and having an unlikely conversation that changes her life and the lives of everyone she knows.
Now we read it all these years later and the potential for life change remains—except our lives are the ones that can be changed this time.
Jesus had a habit of being in the wrong place and talking to the wrong people—at least by the standards of the religious leaders of that day. Here He is, in Samaria—a side trip that would cost Him his ceremonial cleansing—something no self-respecting rabbi would ever do. And He’s talking to the wrong person, a Samaritan woman with a sordid past.
Through a series of questions and answers, a revelation starts to occur—the revelation of just who this Person is that this woman is speaking with at Jacob’s well. In a moment of irony, she asked Jesus if He was greater than Jacob. Jesus surely must have thought, “I wrestled him once and he walked with a limp the rest of his life.”
The conversation crescendos with questions about worship and water – all the while her understanding of just who this Person is continues to grow. And finally, in a stunning statement, Jesus confirms once and for all, “I am He, the One speaking to you.”
The next image we see of the woman is her sprinting into the town to compel everyone she knows to go meet the Man at the well.
Many people center in on verse 24 as the key verse of the passage. It reads, “God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
We understand that God is spirit and that our connection with Him must be in a spiritual sense. And we also understand that we have to know the truth about Him before we can worship Him—that our worship must have the truthful perspective of the Scripture and the leadership of His Spirit. We get this verse and quote it often.
But there’s more here. The aspect of verse 24 that this woman experiences is found in the word “must.” As her understanding of who this is she is speaking to grows, her desire to know Him and for others know Him grows as well.
The ones who worship Him are the ones who must worship Him. And the ones who must worship Him are the ones who see Him for who He is. She must tell everyone in town because she has experienced the revelation of who Jesus is and that changes everything.
Worship is a response to His revelation – plain and simple. The only people who do not worship Christ are the ones who don’t know who He is yet. And on the day every eye sees who He is, every knee will bow to worship Him. They will because they must.
We don’t have to convince anyone we have a better religion – we just have to show people who Jesus is. Their worship will follow that revelation.
If your worship has grown cold, look no further than your awareness of who Jesus is in your life. If you will open your eyes to who He is by reading His word, praying, and expressing gratitude for His activity in your life, your worship will follow.
Struggling to obey His direction in your life? Spend time with Him at the well – drink from His words, His presence. Very soon you will be running toward obedience and yes, even into town to tell everyone about Him.
When I am distant from Him, my worship grows cold and my faith is weak. But when I encounter His revelation in my life, I respond in worship and obedience.
A personal encounter with Jesus—that’s the whole story in a nutshell.
Make interaction with Jesus in His Word and in prayer a routine part of your life. Write out your conversations with Him. Ask Him the questions of your heart. He will show you who He is and when He does, you will worship Him – you must.