Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this seven-week Bible study based on Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. We’ll be studying the lives of seven incredible New Testament women. It’s the perfect way to journey through Lent together.
The Samaritan Woman at the Well: The Thirsty Girl
Read: John 4:1-29
Israel, March 2015. The coach pulls to a stop, the doors open and we all spill out, cameras at the ready. We are British and America tourists, anxious to capture a photograph to prove that we’re standing beside the famous Jacob’s Well.
It wasn’t in the middle of a field, as you might expect. The well where Jesus sat, over two thousand years ago, and had that holy conversation with an unknown Samaritan woman, is now located in a church which serves to preserve this holy site.
We dropped a stone down the deep, deep shaft, and heard it splash 135 feet below. It was Betsy who turned the crank to wind the bucket back to the surface. And she tasted that water. I tasted that water. My sister tasted that water. We all tasted that water: the very same water that Jesus drank, all those years ago.
Don’t you think that’s incredible! After more than two thousand years, Jacob’s Well is not dried up. The water is still flowing. And if that’s not a picture of God’s never-ending, everlasting, soul-quenching love for us, I don’t know what is.
Let’s find out more about our Thirsty Girl…
The Samaritan woman who came out to Jacob’s Well in the heat of the mid-day sun is sadly not named. It’s widely believed that she came to draw water at that time of day because she knew that others wouldn’t be there. This is a woman who has been married five times, and so it’s easy to imagine that she was normally ostracized, and perhaps didn’t have many friends. But at Jacob’s Well, she would find the greatest friend anyone could ever have.
The very fact that Jesus strikes up a conversation with her is unorthodox. Jews and Samaritans did not mingle, and a Jewish man speaking to a Samaritan woman would have been unheard of.
But during the conversation, we learn that this woman is not uneducated. She is knowledgeable about Jacob, immediately recognizes that Jesus is a prophet, and she knows about the Messiah, the Promised One who is to come. She’s also truthful, and doesn’t lie when Jesus enquires about her husband.
But it’s when Jesus says these beautiful words that the woman’s eyes are opened and she begins to realize just who it is that sits beside her:
I, the one speaking to you—I am he. John 4: 26
Is it any surprise that upon hearing those words, the woman springs up from the well, and leaving behind the one thing that was important to her before she discovers who Jesus is, runs back to her village where she loudly proclaims the gospel to all she meets?
Friends, I don’t know about you, but I have been that thirsty girl. I have so often needed to drink from that life-giving, hope-giving water.
I have carried heaviness in my heart that felt like a water jar. In fact, I am, right now, carrying heaviness in my heart that feels like a water jar.
And I so need Jesus to show up today. I so need him to sit beside me and talk to me. I so need Jesus to reassure me that just like he knew that woman: everything about her, everything she’d been through, everything she was going through… so he knows me.
He knows, he knows what I’m carrying. And he is the only one, the only one, who can take that heavy burden from me.
And when he does, as I know he will, I’m going to realize that all along, the burden I was carrying wasn’t all that important. What’s important is knowing who Jesus really is.
Because when we know that, we can also trust that he carries us, and our burdens high on his strong shoulders…
Friends, Jesus is the only One who offers that life-giving, thirst-quenching water of life, that everlasting love that never, ever runs dry.
Questions For Reflection:
- How are you hoping to draw closer to Jesus during the next 40 days of Lent?
- The Samaritan woman met Jesus in the course of her everyday routine. Where, in your everyday routine, would you like Jesus to sit beside you?
- What do you imagine Jesus would say to you?
- What heavy burdens do you need to hand over to Jesus?
- Re-read the story slowly, or listen to it here. Close your eyes, and try to imagine the whole scenario at the well. Put yourself in the shoes of the Samaritan woman. How do you feel at each stage? In what ways do you identify with her?