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And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria,
which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son
Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there.
Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was
about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus
saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city
to buy meat.)
Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew,
askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no
dealings with the Samaritans.
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is
that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he
would have given thee living water.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is
deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our
father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his
children, and his cattle?
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall
thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall
never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water
springing up into everlasting life.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither
come hither to draw.
Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
The woman answered and said, I have no husband.
Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had
five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst
thou truly. (KJV)
Jesus was in Judea. To go to Samaria, a Jew would normally go around
Samaria. This would add miles and a day to the journey. This is how bad the
prejudice against the Samaritans was among the Jews, they didn’t even want to
go through their territory. Jesus, however, takes the more direct route through
Samaria. Stopping at Sychar, at the well of Jacob (see Genesis 33:19), Jesus
sits down at the well. It was the sixth hour, noon by Jewish time, and six in the
evening by Roman time.
A woman of Samaria has come to draw water, and Jesus asks her for a drink.
This surprises the woman for two reasons: 1) she is a woman; and 2) she is
Samaritan. Jesus asks the woman because His disciples had gone into town to
get something to eat.
1) It is important to realize that Jesus treasured and respected woman as
well as men. In ancient times woman were considered possessions. Respect for
women began to rise with the teaching of Christianity. Women, from Mary the
mother of Jesus to Mary Magdalene to Lydia to Phoebe to the mother and
grandmother of Timothy, are praised for their contributions to the cause in the
(1 Corinthians 11:8-12) For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the
man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the
angels. Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman
without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the
man also by the woman; but all things of God. (KJV)
2) Prejudicial feelings towards other groups, whether social, economic, age
or racial have been prevalent in societies since the beginning of time. However,
God has never approved of such pre-judging of individuals. Whether the
actions of the Jews towards the Samaritans, or a division between city and
country, or dividing people because of the color of their skin, etc.
(Acts 17:24-28) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is
Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is
worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth
to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of
men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times
before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the
Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from
every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain
also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (KJV)
Strictly speaking, a Samaritan would be an inhabitant of the city of Samaria,
but the term was applied to all the people of the kingdom of Israel. After the
captivity of Israel, B.C. 721, and in our Lord's time, the name was applied to a
peculiar people whose origin was in this wise. At the final captivity of Israel by
Shalmaneser, we may conclude that the cities of Samaria were not merely
partially but wholly depopulated of their inhabitants in B.C. 721, and that they
remained in this desolated state until, in the words of
"the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon and front Cuthah, and from Av.
and from Hamath, and front Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of
Samaria instead of the children of Israel and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt
in the cities thereof." Thus the new Samaritans were Assyrians by birth or
subjugation. These strangers, whom we will now assume to hare been placed in
"the cities of Samaria" by Esar-haddon, were of course idolaters, and
worshipped a strange medley of divinities. God's displeasure was kindled, and
they were annoyed by beasts of prey, which had probably increased to a great
extent before their entrance upon the land. On their explaining their miserable
condition to the king of Assyria, he despatched one of the captive priests to
teach them "how they should fear the Lord." The priest came accordingly, and
henceforth, in the language of the sacred historian, they "Feared the Lord, and
served their graven images, both their children and their children's children: as
did their fathers, so do the unto this day."
A gap occurs in their history until Judah has returned from captivity. They then
desire to be allowed to participate in the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem;
but on being refused, the Samaritans throw off the mask, and become open
enemies, frustrate the operations of the Jews through the reigns of two Persian
kings, and are only effectually silenced in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, B.C.
519. The feud thus unhappily begun grew year by year more inveterate. Matters
at length came to a climax. About B.C. 409, a certain Manasseh, a man of
priestly lineage, on being expelled from Jerusalem by nehemiah for an unlawful
marriage, obtained permission from the Persian king of his day, Darius Nothus,
to build a temple on Mount Gerizim for the Samaritans, with whom he had found
refuge. The animosity of the Samaritans became more intense than ever. They
are sid to have done everything in their power to annoy the Jews. Their own
temple on Gerizim they considered to be much superior to that at Jerusalem.
There they sacrificed a passover. Toward the mountain, even after the temple
on it had fallen, wherever they were they directed their worship. To their copy
of the law they arrogated an antiquity and authority greater than attached to
any copy in the possession of the Jews. The law (i.e. the five books of Moses)
was their sole code; for they rejected every other book in the Jewish canon.
The Jews, on the other hand, were not more conciliatory in their treatment of
the Samaritans. Certain other Jewish renegades had from time to time taken
refuge with the Samaritans; hence by degrees the Samaritans claimed to
partake of jewish blood, especially if doing so happened to suit their interest.
Very far were the Jews from admitting this claim to consanguinity on the part of
these people. The traditional hatred in which the jew held the Samaritan is
expressed in Ecclus. 50:25,26. Such were the Samaritans of our Lord's day; a
people distinct from the jews, though lying in the very midst of the Jews; a
people preserving their identity, though seven centuries had rolled away since
they had been brought from Assyria by Esar-haddon, and though they had
abandoned their polytheism for a sort of ultra Mosaicism; a people who, though
their limits had gradually contracted and the rallying-place of their religion on
Mount Gerizim had been destroyed one hundred and sixty years before by John
Hyrcanus (B.C. 130), and though Samaria (the city) had been again and again
destroyed, still preserved their nationality still worshipped from Shechem and
their impoverished settlements toward their sacred hill, still retained their
peculiar religion, and could not coalesce with the Jews.
Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Yet Jesus takes the woman’s thoughts not to the fact she is a woman, or to the
division between Jew and Samaritan, but to the gift of God which He is able to
grant, and who He is. If she knew who He was, she would have asked for living
water. Isa 12:3; 44:3; Jer 2:13; Zec 13:1; 14:8
The woman was reminiscent of Nicodemus – she was clueless. Her thoughts
turned to physical water, not spiritual matters. Without a bucket, how could He
draw any water? Was He a better man than Jacob who dug the well?
Jesus tries to return her thoughts to spiritual matters. He contrasts what He is
speaking of, with what the woman is comprehending. The water He is speaking
of will quench thirst forever, in contrast to the water of the well which was only
temporary in its relief. The water He would give would give everlasting life.
Still the woman did not understand. She wanted the water so that she would not
have to draw water at the well again. She could not transition to the spiritual.
Jesus told the woman to go get her husband, and come back.
She answered, I have no husband.
She answered correctly. Just because one is living with someone, even if they
have gone through a ceremony does not mean that they are married. For thou
hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that
saidst thou truly.
(Matthew 19:3-10) The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying
unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he
answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at
the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man
leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be
one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore
God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did
Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He
saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to
put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you,
Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry
another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth
commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his
wife, it is not good to marry. (KJV)
|Jesus' Conversation With
the Samaritan Woman: