The man is obsessed with water. First he asks her for a drink, which is strange enough, and now he is talking about water so great that one would never thirst again. So she speaks of the well, which dates back to Jacob. Maybe they will find some common ground, with him being a Jew. But he keeps talking about water, and about eternal life, and about a different kind of sustenance. She needs an answer to the mystery.
- What teachings of Jesus do you still find mysterious?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 4:11-15 (ESV)
11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Why was this woman limited in her ability to understand what Jesus was talking about?
- How did referencing Jacob’s well, created over a thousand years prior, point to the importance of water sources in this region? How would this have influenced the conversation?
- Describe the difference between the physical and spiritual appeal of what Jesus was offering. Which did the woman seem to have been more interested in?
- What symbols or metaphors of our faith do you have trouble comprehending?
RESPOND TO GOD
She can’t be blamed for missing the point. A mysterious stranger arrives at a real water well, asks for a real drink, and then begins a transcendent conversation using water as a metaphor. In true Jesus fashion, he never lets her know he’s actually talking about something else entirely. He offers her an unfathomable gift, and she clings to the fathomable. So do we. Often, we only allow ourselves a portion of what God offers freely, simply because we don’t have the ability or willingness to understand. What would happen if we opened ourselves to more?
- Pray that God would reveal the unfathomable opportunities that he offers in your life, and that he would give you the courage to respond to them.