Bible Reading: John 4:15-26
Although the Samaritan women does not fully understand what Jesus meant by ‘living water” she asked to Him to give her this water [John 4:15]. In response to her request Jesus asked the woman to call her husband, and she told Him, “I have no husband” [v.17]. She did not tell Jesus a lie, but she did not tell the truth either. Jesus, however, knew the truth about this woman, and talked with her about her five husbands and the man she was living with not being her husband.
How did Jesus know about this woman? I would suggest that this is a clear example of the Holy Spirit giving a word of knowledge. Jesus had never met her before, and yet He knew all about her. There is absolutely nothing hidden from God.
Why did Jesus raise the matter of the woman’s past and her relationships? It is probably for two reasons. Firstly, immediately after Jesus spoken this word of knowledge the woman recognised Jesus as a prophet, but secondly because the past needed to be dealt with before she could enjoy the living water that Jesus was offering her. It is wrong to think that you can just enjoy a new experience of God without dealing with wrong things in your life.
When Jesus preached the message of God’s kingdom He began with repentance [Mark 1:15]. It was the same message of repentance preached by Peter on the Day of Pentecost [Acts 2:38]. Repentance is a vital element of salvation. Salvation is more than merely embracing Jesus. It is a total change in the way that we live, where Jesus becomes Lord of every part of our life.
It is very easy to misjudge people and to presume things that are not true. Most people assume that this woman was immoral because she had five husbands and was now living with a man who was not her husband. I have carefully looked at this story and would suggest that she was not necessarily a prostitute or a woman of questionable morals. There is another possible explanation. In the culture in which she lived it was expected that a married woman would bear children, and if she did not do so the result was often that the husband would divorce her. What if this woman could not bear children and had been divorced five times for that reason? I am not justifying her having five husbands, but could there be another reason for her failure other than immorality? Whatever the reason this had to be brought to the light and Jesus was not embarrassed to do that. He did it firmly and graciously and without condemning her. He didn’t let her off the hook!
Tomorrow we will take a closer look at repentance and what it really means.
Are you tempted to judge people without having a full knowledge of the background and facts? Why is this a dangerous thing to do? What does Jesus say about judging others in Matthew 7:1-2?
Why does Jesus have to bring the woman’s past life before He can fulfil her request for living water?