The Gospel of John – Lesson 8 – John 4:1-26

Jesus found out that the Pharisees had heard he was making and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 though it was not Jesus himself who was baptizing but his disciples. 3 So he left Judea and went back again to Galilee. 4 He had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the piece of land Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there. Then Jesus, being tired from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone into town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews do not associate 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 “Sir,” she said, “you don’t even have a bucket, and the well is deep. So where do you get this living water? 12 You are not greater than our father Jacob, are you? He gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his animals.” 13 Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I will give him will never be thirsty ever again. Rather, the water I will give him will become in him a spring of water, bubbling up to eternal life.” 15 “Sir, give me this water,” the woman said to him, “so I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 Jesus told her, “Go, call your husband, and come back here.” 17 “I have no husband,” the woman answered. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say, ‘I have no husband.’ 18 In fact, you have had five husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman replied, “I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews insist that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will not worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. 23 But a time is coming and now is here when the real worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for those are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (the one called Christ). “When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I, the one speaking to you, am he.”

Jesus and his disciples were on a journey from Judea to Galilee. Verse 4 of our reading said Jesus “had to go through Samaria.” It wasn’t that there was no other route Jesus could have taken. Many Jewish people would take a longer route to avoid passing through Samaritan land. It was necessary for Jesus to pass through Samaria for a different reason. That reason became evident as Jesus stopped by a well in the town of Sychar.

Jesus’ disciples went in to town to buy food while Jesus stopped to rest at a well on a plot of land Jacob had given to his son Joseph centuries earlier. (See Genesis 48:22) While Jesus was resting a woman from town came to draw water from the well. It would be hard to find two individuals with less in common than Jesus and the woman from Sychar. Jesus is the sinless Son of God. The woman’s sins against the Sixth Commandment (You shall not commit adultery) were obvious for everyone to see. She also wasn’t showing any signs of repentance. Jesus was born to Jewish parents. The woman was a Samaritan. Jews and Samaritans had a long-standing hatred for each other. As Jesus stopped to rest at Jacob’s well and the woman arrived to get some water, there seemed to be no reason why the two of them should have anything to say to each other.

But this woman was part of the reason why Jesus had to go through Samaria. Rather than ignoring her, Jesus took advantage of the one thing they did have in common. In doing so he showed a lost and condemned sinner the only way to eternal life. Both Jesus and the woman needed water. Jesus began his work by simply asking the woman to give him a drink. As you read the conversation between the two in our Bible lesson, notice how Jesus masterfully worked the conversation to show the woman her sinful life and to show her that she had a great need for the “living water” that only he could provide. As Jesus said “The water I will give him will become in him a spring of water, bubbling up to eternal life.” The living water Jesus provides is the good news that he is our Savior, who washes away our sins with his own precious blood and gives eternal life to all who trust in him as their Savior. This living water quenches our souls thirst for forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation. When we drink of the good news of Jesus and believe we will never need anything else to be saved.

It would have been easy for Jesus to take another route on the road to Galilee. But his love for lost souls made it necessary for him to go through Samaria. We’ll see the results of Jesus’ work at Sychar in our next lesson. As we read this portion of God’s Word, let us see how our Savior daily works in us through his Word. His Law shows us that our guilt was no less than the woman at Jacob’s well. His Gospel is the living water that quenches our thirsting souls with the good news of our salvation. Let us drink deeply of that living water daily and be filled up to eternal life.

Discussion Questions

1 – Jesus was thirsty. How did he use his need for water to turn his discussion with the woman at the well to spiritual matters?
Jesus and the Samaritan woman both needed water. This gave Jesus a natural place to start a conversation. From there it was an easy matter for him to switch the discussion from water for the physical body to water for the spiritual body. He talked about giving the woman a drink of living water. This intrigued her because she didn’t understand how Jesus could get water without something to draw it from the well with. Now that he had her full attention he could proceed with his discussion about living water.

2 – What is the living water Jesus spoke of?
Jesus Christ is the living water. Several prophesies in the Old Testament describe the promised Messiah in such a way. (See Psalm 42:1, Isaiah 49:10, Jeremiah 2:13) He is the water of life because he provides the only way to eternal life in heaven.

3 – In what way do those who drink of this living water never thirst again?
Jesus provides everything we need for eternal life. His sacrifice on the cross took away all our sins. His resurrection from the dead defeated the power of sin, death and the devil once and for all. We don’t need to add anything to what Jesus already did perfectly. We simply trust in him as our only Savior and we can be sure our way to heaven is certain.

4 – How did Jesus show the Samaritan woman her need for the living water?
He showed this woman her sins of adultery. She had no way to cover her sinful life. She needed the salvation that only he could bring her.

If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to