Bible Reading: John 4:15-26

Yesterday we saw how Jesus challenged the woman at the well in a gracious and non-condemnatory way about her past. She had five husbands and the man she was now living with was not her husband!

There is a great danger of wanting experiences of the Holy Spirit but not being prepared to deal with our past sins. Such an attitude will cheapen the gospel, and mean that we don’t fully enjoy what Jesus has made available to us. For this reason Jesus challenged the woman about her life-style. Her life-style was a barrier to spiritual understanding and salvation. “Inner healing is simply cooperating with the Lord to let Him remove from our psychological natures the things that are blocking the flow of the Holy Spirit” [Dennis Bennett]

Repentance is the Greek word, metanoia, and means a change of mind that leads to a change of behaviour. Repentance is far deeper than remorse or regret over something that has happened. Repentance implies that if we had the opportunity to commit that sin again we would not do so. Paul writes about godly sorrow that produces repentance – it leads to salvation. On the other hand, worldly sorrow, that is remorse and regret, and sorrow at being caught out, leads to death [2 Corinthians 6:17].

What exactly does godly sorrow look like? The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and reveals how God’s heart is broken over sin. It is literally seeing our sin as God sees it and recognising how it grieves Him.

The woman quickly changed the subject when she knew that Jesus knew all about her private life. His presence exposes sin! Instead she raised the issue of the correct place to worship God. Strange how so often people use religion or theology to cover up sin, but Jesus would not be side tracked. He dealt with her very gently, explaining to her that the issue of worship is not the location but the heart attitude of the worshipper. Jesus then brought her back to the necessity of making a decision, but without demanding it of her.

With great simplicity Jesus led the woman of Samaria to faith. It was not well formulated or very extensive in its understanding, but it was sufficient! What did she actually know? She knew about the coming Messiah [v25]; Jesus’ claim to be Messiah [v26]; She recognised that Jesus knew her intimately [v17-18, 25], and that Jesus could transform her life with “living water” [v14]. She also knew something about God and worship, although it was probably hearsay and very limited [v21-24].


Considering how much the Samaritan woman understood, how much do you have to understand in order to genuinely come to Christ and be saved?

How would you explain repentance to someone who was seeking salvation?

Why do you think that Jesus challenged the woman about her five husbands but did not continue to question her or challenge her any further about this?