While most Jews avoided Samaria, the region occupied by the hated half-Jew Samaritans, Jesus went there on purpose. Arriving at Jacob’s well around noon, tired and thirsty, Jesus sat down. A Samaritan woman came to draw water at the same time; she did not know she was about to meet her Savior.
Ignoring centuries-old prejudices and social rules, Jesus asked the woman for a drink (which would have made Jesus “unclean” in the eyes of the Jews). When she questioned His motives, Jesus offered her a different kind of water: living water that satisfies the soul eternally. Like the metaphor of “second birth” in the previous chapter, the idea of living water was a way for Jesus to teach about salvation.
In quick succession, Jesus revealed to the woman her sinful moral failures (she had been with five sexual partners and was not married to her present boyfriend) and her need for a Savior; her need to turn to the true and living God — the one who was seeking her worship (v.23); and the fact that He was the Messiah for which she was waiting (v.25-26). Leaving her water jar at the well, the woman went into Sychar and testified that she had met the Messiah. Sometime during her conversation with Christ she had become a believer! She had taken the living water He offered! Because of her testimony many of the people in her town came to Jesus, placing their faith in Him as Savior (v.42).
In the story of the woman at the well we see a great example of evangelism — someone who met Jesus, became a believer, testified about Him to her community, and brought people to meet Him. While this example of evangelism was happening, Jesus gave His discipleship a lesson on evangelism (v.35-38). The time to harvest souls for God’s kingdom is now, now later. The mission of discipleship is to go out into the field of souls and “gather fruit for eternal life” (v.36). Jesus said, “I sent you to reap” (v.38). That is our mission.
As we do the sowing-and-reaping work of evangelism, we can know that the Jesus we share is a gracious, healing Savior. The one who broke with tradition in order to reach out to an immoral woman also granted a long-distance healing to a sick boy in Capernaum. What a Savior! He loves, He heals, and He reaches out to sinners. Let’s join Him today in the fields of souls…are you with me?