There was an easier way to get from Judea to Galilee—the Jordan River road!
To travel directly north from Judea presented two problems:
- It was a rugged, mountainous journey.
- It required traversing the land of the hated Samaritans.
Going this way, Jesus and His men faced steep mountain trails as well as hindering mountains of racial prejudice.
Samaritans were descendants of invaders from the days of the Babylonian captivity. In subsequent generations they mixed with the Jews who were not taken away to form their own brand of religion, similar to but distinct from the true religion of the Jews. They even built their own temples and “holy” sites or worship and used their own version of the Torah. They flourished under Roman rule, posing a threat to the residents of Judea in the south and Galilee in the north. By the time of Jesus, the hostility between the Jews and the Samaritans was severe. Strangely enough, Jesus often used Samaritans as major characters in His parables. In this famous incident, a Samaritan woman is the focus of the Lord’s ministry.
After a full morning of climbing the torturous roads, Jesus and the Twelve were ready for a break. They stopped at the village of Sychar where an ancient well, going all the way back to the time of Jacob, served the citizens. Most people would come to the well in the cool of the day when the temperature was more accommodating. When Jesus and His men arrived at the well, a lone woman was there drawing water.
A Thirsty Savior
Jesus sent all the disciples into the village to get something to eat. The woman saw the 13 men approach and she saw Jesus send 12 of them away. She hurried to draw the water she needed. Jesus, smiling, approached her.
“Give Me a drink.”
The woman was shocked—Jewish men did not speak to Samaritan women, in public at least. She hesitated, studying His face. It was a kind face and He had a friendly smile. Although confused by His request, she determined that He was the rare man that one might trust. Still, one could not be too careful.
“How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”
For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”
She reached inside her loose fitting garments and produced a wooden cup, filled it with water from her jar, and gave it to Him. He smiled and drank all of it. Handing the cup back to her He said,
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
This made no sense to her but she could not look away from the face of Jesus. Who was this man? She had to say something.
“Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob…”
Her voice trailed off. Something about this man exited a deeper thirst in her. She needed more than water…
“Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.”
What was He saying, “never thirst again…?”
The sun bore down on the two of them and a deep silence was broken only by a tremulous breeze trying to make its way through the village street.
Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
Lord Jesus, life is a thirsty business. Our need for water is only one expression of our thirst. We thirst for meaningful relationships, for truth, for safety, for hope, for all kinds of deep needs resident in the human heart. I see in this story that You have thirst as well. You thirst for a relationship with each of us—with me. Lord, I want to fill Your cup with my love! In prayer we each satisfy our mutual thirst. Amen.
Fill My Cup Lord
Words and Music: Richard Blanchard
1. Like the woman at the well, I was seeking
For things that could not satisfy.
And then I heard my Savior speaking—
“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”
Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.
2. There are millions in this world who are seeking
For pleasures earthly goods afford.
But none can match the wondrous treasure
That I find in Jesus Christ my Lord.
3. So my brother if the things that this world gives you
Leave hungers that won’t pass away,
My blessed Lord will come and save you
If you kneel to Him and humbly pray—
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.