Welcome back! I hope you have enjoyed this series. We continue to take some direction from our feature book, “Bad Girls of the Bible,” by Liz Curtis Higgs, so if you want to join in the discussion, please pick up a copy of her book. Don’t worry about missing the other sessions. They do not link to each other, so you can go back and read those blog posts at any time. Also note, that these videos can all be found on my YouTube channel, The Teaching Lady. Subscribe and like the page so you can view all the lessons as well as other studies I have recorded. I have 200 study videos on YouTube.
Let’s continue with our bad girl – the woman at the well part 2. If you recall from last time, this lesson is pretty lengthy, so I split it up.
Please get your Bible, either paper or electronic, and turn to the book of John, chapter 4, and let’s continue with our story.
As a review, what’s our bad girl’s name? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but we do learn that our bad girl would have made the National Enquirer of her day.
If you recall, the woman came to the well to draw water in the middle of the day. Normally women of her time drew water in the afternoon and early evening hours, but not our bad girl. She liked to go to the well and draw water when no one else was around.
This day would be different from every other day, Today, at the well she would meet a Jewish man who had been traveling a long distance. This man stopped at the well. He was thirsty and asked the Samaritan woman for a drink of water.
Do you remember what she said? “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
The Jewish man, Jesus, asks her to go and get her husband. Jesus and the woman exchange words and he tells her he knows she has had five husbands and the current man she is with is not her husband.
This girl doesn’t know who she is talking to, but she will soon find out.
Let’s pick up in verse 19 and go from there:
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.”
To me that is hilarious. She neither denied nor affirmed the Lord’s prophetic words about the six men with whom she had been intimate. Instead, she tried to shift the conversation in a completely different direction.
She wasn’t trying to be funny. It would appear she is merely grabbing onto something, anything that would divert the conversation away from the sin that had just been uncovered.
Haven’t we all done that at one time or another? We try to conceal our embarrassment and shift the focus, but most of the time, we end up embarrassing ourselves more.
John 4:20, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
BC, or before Christ did you try and steer the spiritual conversation into another direction? “Let’s move away from religion and talk about recipes or our kids, or maybe the movie we saw the other night. Let’s talk about anything else but religion.”
I have heard folks say, “Religion and politics are off limits in this house.”
Jesus struck a nerve, so the woman reacted by pushing him away using words that divided them (our fathers and you Jews). She spoke of corporate things like worship rather than personal, and places that were distant like Jerusalem rather than close.
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” John 4:21
“Believe me, woman.” It’s as if he saying, Listen to me, I am trying to get your attention. Let’s get straight to the heart.
“You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.” John 4:22
Jesus was Jewish and he is the only way.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23
The woman said, “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” John 4:25
Here we have the first mention of the Messiah – the anointed one – and it came from the lips of a woman and not his.
My footnote says, “This is the woman’s last attempt to evade the issue.
Jesus is not letting her off the hook though. Instead, he does something extraordinary – he reveals his calling and ministry to her.
“Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you – I am he.” John 4:26
Think about what just happened.
Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah to:
-someone who had five husbands, and with someone who isn’t her husband now
-and she was thirsty
Thirsty? She was thirsty for the truth.
Jesus saw past the hardened exterior to the parched interior of her soul and “respected her enough to fill her with the living water of faith.”
Stage left, the next act, enter the disciples.
“Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want? Or “Why are you talking with her?” John 4:27
Notice they didn’t blow the moment. My footnote says that Jewish religious teachers rarely spoke to women in public.
Exit stage right – the woman leaves. Way to go fellas, you chased her off. But they didn’t. This former bad girl was about to make the best decision of her life.
“Then leaving her water jar, the woman went back to town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” John 4:28-29
Here’s a woman who avoided the crowds at the well. Here’s a woman who knew the Messiah was coming one day. Here’s a woman whose past was filled with broken relationships and immoral behavior.
And here’s a woman who went back into town and told everyone about her encounter. Come! She said. Everything – her everything was a lot.
“They came out of the town and made their way toward him.” John 4:30
Two things happen when we meet Jesus Christ and see him for who he really is:
- We confess our sins openly.
- We share the good news of forgiveness freely.
Sharing the good news is our testimony. I am a big believer in knowing your testimony. After all, it’s your testimony. No one can say it isn’t true because it is not their story. When Jesus changes your life, believe me, you will want everyone to know and it feels so good.
I love to tell my story and I am not ashamed of it. Why? Because Jesus changed my life. He set me free and my shame and guilt are gone. I have been forgiven for my train wreck selfish life.
I have tasted the living water he refers to in verse 13 and it is good, very good.
The woman at the well didn’t wait and she didn’t forget their conversation. She acted and as a result, we read in verse 39 that many Samaritans believed because of the woman’s testimony.
John 4:42 “They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savoir of the world.”
Think of this – Jesus ends up staying there for two days at the invitation of the town’s people. They learned from Jesus and many more became believers. Can you imagine how the woman must have felt?
Her midday trip to the well that day changed her life and the lives of the townspeople forever.
As one writer puts it, “The woman herself became a teacher. And she taught with her life. There were no books, only her experience. She was no longer treated as an outcast; she was part of the community.”
So what can we learn from the woman at the well?
- Never be afraid to ask questions
The Samaritan woman wasn’t shy about pressing for answers and didn’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
- Not lying isn’t the same as telling the truth
The Lord knows us intimately – just ask the woman at the well. She didn’t confess her sexual sins; instead, he gently pointed them out to her. Wise is the woman, who, when sins are revealed, confesses, repents, and rejoices in the knowledge that even though Jesus sees through our smoke screen, he loves us completely.
Psalm 32:5, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”- and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
- Thirst is a gift from God.
It was her thirst that put her in the path of the Messiah. Her bodily thirst led to a spiritual quenching.
Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”
- Water is meant to be shared, not hoarded.
The woman at the well could have kept the good news to herself, but she didn’t and as a result, many people believed. Her joy was too full and her excitement was overwhelming. “Come meet this man…”
Acts 20:24, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
So, do you have good news to share?
Have you met the Messiah?
Have you told someone the good news? If not, why not?