Note: The story of the Samaritan woman is given good coverage (John 4:1-42). For our Lenten devotions, I have chosen to spend three days with the story, to give us time to reflect on different aspects. I haven’t included all the verses. You may wish to read them yourself.
Prepare to Listen. Before reading, be still then pray: Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Prayerfully Read John 4:5-15
5So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 7A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink’. 8(His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10Jesus 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.’ 11The woman said to him, ‘Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?’ 13Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ 15The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.’
‘Give me a drink.’ Jesus didn’t ask, he commanded the lone woman. Her response is a feisty protest: ‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?’ Jesus accepts her protest, and then gave her something to puzzle about. If she’d asked him for a drink, implying he was willing to be commanded too, he would give her ‘living water.’ She wasn’t puzzled by the idea of ‘living water.’ Jacob’s well was fed by a fresh spring, that is living (not stagnant) water. She was puzzled by his lack of means to draw water and so she mocked him. ‘Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob?’ Well, actually yes, not that Jesus specifically said that. Instead he patiently explains his living water would become ‘a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’ The woman is intrigued but still thought of literal water, asking, as he’d suggested, for his water to avoid the daily trip to the well, little knowing what she’d get. She’ll discover as she stays in dialog with Jesus.
Jesus promised “a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” This is not something we’re waiting for in some distant future. We can experience it right now. Become aware of that spring of living water within you today.
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus, like the woman in the story, I too beg: ‘Give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty.’ Give your healing water to those infected by the coronavirus around the world Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Drink freely of the living water Jesus offers.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.