John 4:7-12
John 4:7 (KJB)
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
Here Jesus begins a dialogue with the Samaritan woman at the well. Just an aside, how many times has this happened to you that you are diverted from something and the event turns into a divine appointment. There is no such thing as a coincidence in the Kingdom of God only a God-incident. Now since women of that time did not initiate conversations with men, it was Jesus who started the conversation with her. Jesus was no doubt thirsty so He asked her if she would give Him a drink. The well water was used for many purposes such as drinking, washing, or washing clothes among many other uses. So now Jesus begins a dialogue with her that will change her life and the lives of many in Samaria.
John 4:8 (KJB)
(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
Jesus was alone at the well and the disciples had probably gone into Sychar to buy the provisions they needed for their continuing ministry and that is why Jesus had asked her for the drink of water. These provisions would have included all the nourishments needed for a hard walking trip. This verse goes beyond just telling us that the disciples went to buy provisions. They were probably dispatched because Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman would have caused a scandal and would be offensive in their eyes plus by Jesus being alone, it teaches us that it is Jesus who saves and not the disciples. Salvation is not initiated by Saint Peter or Saint Andrew.
John 4:9 (KJB)
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.
Here is the first time we learn that the woman was from Samaria. (Acts 1:8 KJV) But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. By Jesus opening the door of speech with this woman, He was already showing us that salvation was going to go way beyond Israel, unto the farthest end of the earth. In fact there is a good missionary book called “From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions ” by Dr. Ruth Tucker which should be a read for all Christians.
The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans because they were considered a mixed breed of people and not pure Israelites. They were basically descendants of Gentiles and the poorer Jews who were left behind in Palestine from both the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests. This created many intermarriages which was the start of the Samaritan race. They were hated by both Jews and the Gentiles. So they were really in a bad position. They would not worship at Jerusalem so they built their own temple on Mount Gerizim. Mount Gerizim was where God planted the blessing when Israel crossed the Jordan. (Deu 27:12 KJV) These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: If you notice that the tribe of Judah was included in the blessing and the Lord Jesus Christ came from the tribe of Judah.
John 4:10 (KJB)
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.
Jesus begins this dialogue in the same manner He began with Nicodemus. He used an earthly illustration turning it into a heavenly lesson. First of all Jesus speaks of the gift of God. That gift of God is salvation by grace without keeping the requirements of the law. This means that Jesus was bringing the true Gospel to Samaria and it did not matter what race they were because God was going to save from every country in the world. Secondly, Jesus says to her “and who it is that saith to thee.” He is now intimating that if you knew the gift of God and who you are speaking with, that is, He was the bringer of eternal salvation Himself. He was the Son of God and the Lamb of God, the promised Messiah. The Samaritans would have also been looking for the Messiah since they had the five books of Moses which mentions the Messiah.
Then Jesus states that if you knew these two things, you would not be so focused on the earthly water but you would be seeking salvation and heavenly things. The living water is the gospel of salvation which would take away all your sins forever and you would have eternal life because the living water cannot die. The living water may also be an intimation of the Holy Spirit but before one is indwelled by the Holy Spirit, they must become saved. (John 7:38-39 KJV) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. {39} (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Now Jesus definitely has her attention.
John 4:11 (KJB)
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?
Just like Nicodemus she was focusing on the physical water and she seemed perplexed because Jesus was sitting on the well and He did not have a bucket to draw water with. Jacob’s well was about 100 feet deep so a bucket or a pitcher was definitely needed to access the water. Now just like a works gospel, it is necessary for a person to draw the water by hand which would constitute a work but the living water is given as a gift of God requiring no works at all, which is the essence of grace. She now inquires as to where He would get this living water since Jacob’s well is the only good water for many miles. Like Nicodemus said and I am sure she was thinking, “how could these things be?”
John 4:12 (KJB)
Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
In her understanding of the quality of the water because the deeper you dig, the fresher the water is because surface contaminants do not get into it. She then poses the question, is Jesus greater than Jacob? Of course, at this point she still does not know about the gift of God and the one who was speaking to her. She was thinking that maybe He had knowledge of a better well with better water. Another point which must be factored in that Jacob’s well had been active for many hundreds of years and supplying water. The woman would have known if there was a better well around because she would have learned it from others. However, she brings in the point that Jacob, his children, and his cattle had drunk from the well. The well was old but still functional and the Lord was ready to give her living water which would run into eternity.