The Woman at the Well - John 4:1-54

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


The Deity of Jesus Christ is clearly taught in the fourth chapter of John, as it is in the preceding chapters. His offer to the Samaritan woman of the water of life. His reading her heart and life, the authority manifested in His conversation with the disciples when He spoke of sending them forth to reap. His power over life and death manifested in the restoration of the nobleman's son to health, — all speak of His Deity. Only God can give men the water of life. Only He can read the thoughts and secrets of the heart and life. He alone has authority over the ministry of His servants. And none other can give new life to a dying man by the simple statement that he lives. How simple the stories of the book of John are! There is no attempt to impress the reader with the spectacular, but instead the facts are simply and calmly narrated, exactly as they occurred. And in all of them the figure of Jesus moves with quiet dignity, at every step and in every word and deed impressing the reader with the power of His person, and the realization that here can be none other than God manifest in the flesh.

In addition to the clear evidence furnished of Jesus' Deity, this chapter also teaches some rich truths concerning God's dealing with sinners, with His servants, and with suppliants at the throne of grace. For convenience let us consider these truths in four divisions.


John 4:1-30

"The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10.

1. The Saviour was seeking the sinner. We are not told why Jesus must go through Samaria, but familiarity with God's grace in dealing with souls leads one to believe that this necessity arose from His consciousness that there were willing souls in Samaria. He doubtless knew that there were some there who were hungry for the truth, and that some were ready to believe if they might hear the Gospel. Such willingness, wherever it is found, rejoices His heart and causes Him to set His power in action in order that the willing one may hear and be saved. Cornelius was such an one. The Eunuch was such an one. And in both these cases God worked specially to meet their need. He has promised, and will perform His promise, "If any man will (is willing to) do His will. He shall know the doctrine." God's constant attitude, as manifested in Jesus, is that of seeking men in order that He may save them. Jesus came into Samaria seeking the willing souls, and when He found them He saved them. Many there believed in Him. Jno. 7:17; Acts 8:26-39; Acts 10:1-48; II Pet. 3:9.

2. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman He immediately gave her the message of life, which led to her salvation. He wasted no time but went right to the heart of her need. From the water of the well He pointed her to the water of life. From the prophecy of Christ He pointed her to Himself. He had met one of the needy souls to whose need He had come to minister. And how gently He dealt with her. How kindly His treatment of this poor woman. How tenderly He pointed out to her the sin which revealed her need. How compassionately He pointed her to the salvation which He had come to provide. Jesus came to seek and to save this lost soul, and He is just as eager to save men today. He is pleading with them earnestly and tenderly to trust Him and be saved. Jno. 3:16; I Tim. 1:15; Rev. 22:17; Isa. 1:18.


John 4:27-30, 39-42

"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." Eph. 2:10.

1. The Samaritan woman believed and was saved. She ran into the city and called the men, saying, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did. Is not this the Christ?" This simple word of faith was all the Lord needed. It is all He ever needs. He has said "Him that Cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out." He has said "He that believeth, — hath everlasting life." The simple faith of this woman fulfilled God's requirement for salvation. There is no question but that she thus drank of the living water for which her soul thirsted. Some day when we get to be with Jesus we shall see this woman and be permitted to talk with her. God never refuses to save any soul which comes to Him in simple faith. "He that believeth on the Son of God is not condemned." Jno. 6:37; Jno. 5:24.; Jno. 3:18 ; Jno. 3:16.

2. When the Samaritan 'woman believed, she immediately ran to tell others about her Saviour. What a lesson for us! Here is the scriptural order. First one should believe and be saved. Then immediately he should seek to lead others to know the Saviour. Good works can never save us, but God saves us that we may render service unto Him. Andrew and Philip are good examples of this, as we have already seen. Their first act after finding Jesus was to tell others about Him. Are we tempted to scorn the poor sinful woman of Samaria? Shame! She sets before us an example which should humble us, and which should stir us to do as she did. Sinful as she was, the moment she was saved she ran to tell others, and the record is that many of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman. May we not find that this poor woman has excelled in the Master's service? When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the rewards for our labours will we find that, though we are saved, yet we have no reward, while this woman and others like her receive rich rewards for the heart-service they have rendered to Him Who saved them? God exhorts us to look to ourselves that we receive a full reward. Eph. 2:8-10; Matt. 4:19; II Jno. 8; Rom. 12:1-2.


John 4:31-38

"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Psa. 126:6.

1. Jesus used the case of the woman to teach the disciples that sowing must precede reaping. Is it not probable that they had come up in time to hear the last few words of the conversation ? This woman had already heard some truth, for she knew that Messiah was coming. The seed had been sown in her heart, and when Jesus announced to her that He was the promised Messiah she believed it. Jesus reaped the harvest from the seed sown before His coming. May we learn this truth, and be not weary in sowing the seed. We may not see the harvest, but we can trust God for that. Our responsibility is to sow, and then if God permits us to reap as well we may rejoice in that, but we can trust Him even though we may not see the fruit of our labours. Let us then be diligent in the sowing. Psa. 126:5; Isa. 55:11.

2. Jesus needs reapers today as He did then. The fields are always ready for harvest, and while we are sowing the seed, yet we should be constantly on the look-out for those who are ripe in their willingness as were these Samaritans, that we may gather them unto a definite decision to accept the Saviour. Oh! Let us be faithful in His harvest! From every land voices are calling us to carry them the Gospel. God's voice is calling to us saving "Whom shall I send and who will go for us?" Let us answer gladly "Here am I Lord, send me." Isa. 6:8; Rom. 6:13; Rom. 12:1-2; Rom. 10:14-17.


John 4:46-54

"Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." Jno. 14:13.

1. The Nobleman received the thing he asked the Lord for. He was satisfied. Nothing is more sure than that God answers prayer. The pity is that we do not pray more. This particular miracle was a Kingdom testimony, and in this age when that testimony is not being given we may find that it is not God's will that the sick be healed. But as certain as God was willing to answer prayer for the nobleman, so certain it is .that He is eager to answer our prayers. Let us pray. Let us pray in faith. Let us trust Him for the answer, for He is a prayer-hearing and prayer answering God. Many tales might be told of prayer answered for others, but God wants every one to put Him to the test, and find the joy of answered prayer in his own life. I Jno. 5:14-15; Jer. 33:3; Matt. 21 :22.

2. Through the answer to prayer the nobleman's faith was strengthened, others were led to believe and God was glorified. So, if we pray, and thus give Him the opportunity to answer, God hears our prayers, and works through His answers to strengthen our own faith, to inspire others to believe, and to glorify Himself. Then let us pray! Let us pray earnestly, constantly, trustfully. Jas. 1:5; I Kings 18:36-40.