March 23, 2020

Spiritual Surgery Through Living Water

John 4:1–42

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Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.1

A woman from 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.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus 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.” 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.2 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.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking 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 (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”


[1] 4:6 That is, about noon
[2] 4:14 Greek forever

Spiritual Surgery Through Living Water

Key Verse | John 4:13-14

Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 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."

Bio | Jonathan Rico

Hello, Journeyers! My name is Jon Rico, and I met Jesus at rock bottom. Since then, I've been walking faithfully and have a deep longing to love people because I have experienced the Savior's love and mercy.

I live in Fort Worth and serve on The Porch team on Tuesday nights, where I get to share the gospel with new young adults every week! I have the best friends and community group a man can ask for, and we are all in the same pursuit of a deeper relationship with Christ!

Central Truth

Accepting Christ as our Savior causes the Holy Spirit to indwell us and satisfies our deepest spiritual longing—to know God personally.

Devotional | John 4:1–42

Statements that are 80 percent true are deceptive at best and a lie at worst—just as to be 99 percent known is still to be unknown. We find this to be true of the woman at the well in John 4. For...

Statements that are 80 percent true are deceptive at best and a lie at worst—just as to be 99 percent known is still to be unknown. We find this to be true of the woman at the well in John 4. For context, at this point in history women typically were not granted equal dignity, and Jews viewed Samaritans as "half-breeds." This particular woman, moreover, had a promiscuous past.

Jesus goes after this woman's heart by dealing with the wounds of her past. It's interesting that Jesus tells her about this "living water," and the woman immediately makes clear her desire for it. But that isn't enough for Jesus because He knows all of her and desires for her to want to be known. So He dives into the wounds of her past—of which she isn't proud—and tells her to "call your husband," knowing she had multiple previous husbands and no current one (John 4:16).

When you touch a wound, it hurts; but in medical scenarios, a doctor must occasionally probe a wound to heal it. When Jesus touches this particular wound, the woman deflects, which is often the case when Jesus wants us to talk about parts of our life that we find shameful. Jesus tells this woman everything about her past and present life and then informs her that He is the Messiah she is describing.

This is the gospel: God knows and wants every part of our hearts and lives; and His kingdom is one based on being fully known and loved and is independent of gender, nationality, or merit. He wants to use the parts of our life that we are not particularly proud of to draw us to "a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14). It's a free gift, but the thing about a gift is that it is ours only if we choose to accept it.

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Discussion Questions

1. What are the wounds of your past that you can use to glorify God?

2. What is it about your heart that would make you want to deflect when Jesus asks for all of it?

3. On a scale of 1 to 100, what percentage of yourself have you allowed Christ to know, influence, and lead?

11 Comments available

John Hall 8 days ago

Hi Jon, I love your first line “…to be 99 percent known is still to be unknown.” It caused me to look at what she did "the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” In order to truly tell her testimony she probably had to expand on “all that I ever did” and therefore became known. First time I’ve noticed that. Thanks.

Michael Scaman 9 days ago

Jacob got a piece of land he won ‘by his own bow’, and bequeathed it to Joseph, and it ended with Ephraim and the city of Sychar and now the woman at the well and Jesus meet there, Samaritans and Jews usually alienated.

Jews don’t put their lips on Samaritan cups … or do they?

The fields are white for harvest and the whole town comes to believe in Jesus and conclude ‘He is savior of the world’ as they spend 3 days there.

Jews don’t stay over night with Samaritans… or do they?

These Samaritans (in John) beg Jesus to stay more days. This (reception to Jesus) was not true of all Samaritans as some (in Luke) refused to welcome the apostles. Some apostles want to call down fire. Would be interesting to know the disputes between believing and unbelieving Samaritans.

Greg Jones 9 days ago

Miracle in Cane, water in jugs turned to wine in chapter 2. Jesus goes to Jerusalem, now in Jerusalem he finds out the Pharisees know Jesus is baptizing, but not him, his disciples are baptizing and making more disciples than JTB. So Jesus leaves, goes to Samaria.

In Samaria he meets a unmarried woman who has had many husbands. They talk, the woman leaves, and leaves her water jar. The water jars filled in Cana would have contained water for ceremonial washing. Holding all that in mind I read John3:22-36 with/alongside John4:1-38 to put together the first century mental picture this gospel is painting.

John 4:31-33 is one of favorite favorite images.

In Luke’s gospel Phillip leaves Jerusalem because of persecution, preaches is Samaria, nobody filled with Holy Spirit till Peter and John baptize.

Trey Collins 9 days ago

Jonathan, good morning and great devo! What stuck to me this morning was the very end, how the Samaritans first believed the woman’s testimony and then after spending time with Jesus were certain he was the Messiah.

I wonder, when people spend a few days with me are they certain Jesus is my Messiah?

Praying for us Jonathan to be the salt and light for the world.

michael mcgowen 9 days ago

There’s a lot of incredible scriptures today lord but I’m stumped, so much welling up on me but I’ve got my head down and no sound, I’m not one of your go to guys never been a member at any church that pretty much makes me a social outcast here, I’m better off liking the posts and keeping quiet I’m real bad at being sarcastic, but I can wait on you lord there’s gotta be a job for me in that massive kingdom of yours, jk, lord I really need some wisdom because I really don’t know what’s up, we love your word amen

Michael Scaman 9 days ago

The woman and the Samaritans were focused on worship being on this mountain or that mountain. John Piper says Jesus changed the categories to think about. Not in ‘this place’ or ‘that place’ but ‘in spirit’ and ‘in truth’.

The Gospel of John movie starting at the woman at the well scene is here (If the browser starts at the movie beginning, the clip is near 15min:14sec)

Sue Bohlin 9 days ago

(1/2) Thank you, Jon.

I loved v. 4, “And He had to pass through Samaria.” Why? In order to meet the woman at the well.

My friend Dr. Sandra Glahn at Dallas Seminary wrote an eye-opening blog post ( about the cultural background of this story. We impute our modern judgment of the 5-husband thing (what a player, right?!) onto a woman who had very little choice about her life, in a culture where women didn’t initiate divorce and had no way to support themselves if they did.

Sue Bohlin 9 days ago

(2/2) "[S]he had endured the loss of six husbands. Some of them might have died. And some (most) might have left her. Infertility could have been a key reason. Women in Samaria typically could not just up and divorce their husbands. Especially not five of them. How would such women eat if they did that? No, it was the men who typically initiated divorce. So she had probably been dumped and/or bereaved of her man five times.”

I think Jesus shows tender compassion and empathy to this precious woman who may well have sustained deep wounds to her soul, including the shame of infertility (since it was she, not her children, fetching water). It warms my heart to think that our Savior revealed Himself as the Messiah—the one and only time He did so clearly and directly—to a woman carrying the weight of heartbreak.

Hope Harris 9 days ago


Reading this encounter several years ago as highly driven social justice person; demonstrated that Jesus cares for all people everywhere. At the time I still thought the Christians and the church viewed members of the LGBTQ community as the worst type of sinners.

Throughout the gospels Jesus breaks social norms to reach people where they are. Beyond that He speaks to the heart need. A woman who sought to fill her needs in in relationships with men.

Jesus shows her that needs can be met in receiving Him as the source of living water.

Lord help me to direct others to you. Satisfy my needs in you alone.

Hugh Stephenson 10 days ago

Watch “The Chosen”. Incredible rendering of this scene.

For me, there is a spiritual feast wrapped up in this passage.

What was the woman thinking? A lifetime of being a “half breed”. Outcast. Pariah. Doing the only thing she could so that she could have food, clothing and shelter. Day after day. A long slow death march.

Then, in the most improbable way, a lifetime of food and water. Could anyone be more grateful than she?

Imagine her testimony at Re:gen?!?! I know many Godly women who could ghost write it.

I link to Luke 7:36-48 and the unforgiving servant. Especially Luke 36:47. Also John 7:37.

In verse 34 Jesus says “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”

God wants me to know the race He has marked out for me, (Hebrews 12:1).

I pray to surrender to it.

Michael Scaman 10 days ago

Jacob’s well would have been about 2000 years old and the Samaritans were proud of it.

We have a 2000 year old well that is better with living water, in Christ.

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