What If UR Wrong

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

Elbert Hubbard

Jesus & The Woman at the Well

by Mark Karapetyan

The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well is one of the most captivating accounts recorded in the Gospel of John. It is also worth noting that the conversation between the Samaritan woman and Jesus is the longest one-on-one exchange ever recorded by any of the Gospel writers.

Personally, I believe that what makes this story interesting is the fact that although the woman and Jesus had never met before, and although the Samaritan woman failed to recognize Jesus and knew nothing about Him, Jesus knew everything about her, including the most intimate, personal details!

This is an enlightening conversation between a Samaritan woman who goes to the well to get some water, and a Jewish Rabbi who is there to rest and quench His thirst from the same well.  Before we start dissecting this topic, it is crucial that we understand the nature of animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans, for the woman was a Samaritan, and Jesus was a Jew.

The rift between the Jews and the Samaritans dates all the way back to 700 B.C. when Israel was divided into two kingdoms. The relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans was one of hostility. In fact, the hatred towards one another was so intense that they always avoided each other, and often, the Jews, publically cursed the Samaritans in their synagogues and regarded them as the worst of the human kind because they were allegedly demon possessed. “The Jews answered him, ‘“Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”’ (John 8:48)

In return, the Samaritans often taunted and ridiculed the Jews by rejecting most of the Old Testament books (except for the first five books).

Now that we understand why the Jews and the Samaritans were hostile towards one another, let’s return to our story and analyze the events.

It was a hot, dry afternoon in the small city of Sychar in Samaria. Jesus was on the way from Judea to Galilee. The reason for this journey was to avoid the Pharisees, whose suspicions were aroused by the fact that His disciples were baptizing and attracting many new followers. Jesus was by Himself, resting from a long journey, when an unnamed Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well:

“But He needed to go through Samaria. So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?  Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,  but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’  for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

What an incredible turn of events!

The Samaritan woman was aware of the tension between the Jews and the Samaritans. This explains why she was surprised when Jesus asked her for a drink of water. For a Jewish man to accept a drink from a Samaritan woman, much less speak to her, would have been unimaginable. Not surprisingly, after the woman expresses amazement at this, Jesus responds to her question with a few words about His identity. Lucky for her, it was the most loving Jew that she would have to encounter.

Not only that, Jesus proceeds by telling her about her other five husbands, a personal detail that he couldn’t have naturally known, since he was only meeting her for the first time.

A question arises, however: How did Jesus know specifics about this woman, such as that she had five husbands, and that she was living with a man she wasn’t married to, when he had never met her before? On other occasions, for example, Jesus managed to know particulars about others before He even met them, such as when He knew that Nathaniel was under the fig tree before Phillip called Him (John 1:48). “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”

How did Jesus know these things beforehand? The answer to this question requires us to shift our thinking to the area of physics.

According to modern science, time is a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of duration of events and the intervals between them. In other words, past, present, and future are what give meaning to time as a dimension, without them there would be no time.

Time and the knowledge of events and things are co-related. Without time we wouldn’t be able to know anything. You see, we in this universe are confined within the dimension of time. In fact, if we want to know what happened yesterday, we must look to the past to obtain information and know things. If we want to know what is happening now, we must look at the present. If we want to know what will happen tomorrow, then we have to wait for the future to arrive. If we want to know anything, past, present, or future, time must be utilized as a vehicle to obtain the knowledge about events or things because time is the past, the present, and the future.

Modern cosmology demonstrates that the uncaused first cause of the universe, God, is outside of time, because He created time when the universe was founded. Before the universe came into existence, there was no time because time had a beginning (as Albert Einstein proved). Time =past, present, and future. If God is outside of time, that means God is outside of past, present, and future. If He is outside of past, present, and future, that means He doesn’t need to wait for the future to arrive because to Him the future has already arrived. If the future has already arrived to God, that means He already has prior knowledge of what will happen tomorrow!

Now you understand how Jesus was able to know things before they even happened.  It’s because as God, as the eternal Son, as the creator of the universe, He is outside of time; hence to Him the future has already arrived. That’s how on many occasions, Jesus was knowledgeable about events before they occurred.

However, on many occasions Jesus didn’t know certain events. For example, about the last days, He told His disciples that no one knows of that day not even the Son.  “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

How can this be? If Jesus is God, then why did He not know the time of His return?

It is important to understand that Jesus is both, God and man, He had two natures. I know it’s difficult to grasp this concept, but again, that’s what you would expect from a God and not an idol. Jesus was divine and human at the same time (hypostatic union).

The Bible tells us that “Jesus was made lower than the angels” and that “He emptied himself being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-8). Just like us, Jesus had to deal with the limitations of being a man. That’s why Luke reminds us that “Jesus kept growing in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52). This explains why Jesus often knew things beforehand, yet other times as man, did not.

Jesus knows the past from the future, the beginning from the end because He is the alpha and the omega. If Jesus knew that the Samaritan woman had five husbands, a personal piece of information that the Samaritan woman never shared with Him, imagine what Jesus knows about you and your personal secrets!

Make no mistake, Jesus knows the most intimate and private details about you and your life. You would be misled into thinking that you can be clever enough to hide them from an infinite God.

Jesus’ compassion is unimaginable. With all of her faults and sins, Jesus lovingly asked the Samaritan woman for water, and in return, offered her a different kind of water, everlasting water that quenches thirst forever.

Jesus disregarded the venomous relationship between the Samaritans and the Jews and paid no attention to her ethnicity, background, or her social status. Instead, He chose to focus on her as a person, as a woman created in the image of God, and not as a sinful Samaritan. Thus, He won Himself a female follower who went into town and started evangelizing. Can you imagine what would happen if we humans treated each other in the same way?

Those of you who don’t know Jesus, should take Him up on His offer. Many of you are perhaps reluctant to approach Him because of your rough, difficult past. I assure you, Jesus pays no attention to your race, looks, wealth, degrees, or background. If you want Him to give you His living water, just ask; He will generously give. Don’t take my word for it; ask those who used to be lost and on the dark side, but now see clearly because they decided to drink from the water Jesus gave them.

Many of my readers are such…

“The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.”



  1. John

    My friend, just an observation, you say “With all of her faults and sins”… I would suggest this actually says more about you, than of Jesus, because Jesus never even mentions them…. and this is the problem with modern Christianity.
    Further more, how can a Gospel writer authoratively write about an event there were no witnesses to?
    (A rhetorical question).

    • Steven Abercrombie

      There was in fact a witness, two to be precise, the woman at the well and Jesus. It is entirely possible that 1) Jesus spoke with his disciples about this interaction. 2) John later interviewed this woman and included her tale in his accounting. 3) Both of these occurred. 4) Neither of these happened and he was directly led by the Holy Spirit to write it.
      All of us have faults and sins but this woman would have been particularly aware of hers due to the fact that she was ostracized within her community. (We know this because of the time of day she was drawing the water.) Jesus tells her to “…sin no more” he clearly regarded her behavior as sin, but chose to focus on her future as a saved person, as do all who partake of his “living water.” Modern Christianity has many problems but correctly identifying sinful acts as defined in the Bible is not one of them.

    • heidi

      Thank you for your defence of the typical corruption of the good news for the women whom Jesus embraced and loved.

  2. heidi

    I am comforted when I see the first comment here. I’ve studied this scripture at length and all interpretations always go far further in judgement than Jesus himself did in the passage. Firstly at no point does he tell her not to sin, so we can safely assume it wasn’t her sin he was referring to, he was referring to her relationships and life, I believe with sympathy, not judgement, precisely because he does not mention sin at all. He doesn’t enquire why she’s there alone, nor does he judge her, in fact, it seems he planned it precisely this way! And by his own striking up of conversation, was prepared to seem as scandalous to the way religion and men have judged her since. This is tellingly the longest piece of dialogue recorded in the bible between Jesus and his faithful, including even his disciples and no one was there besides the woman and Jesus. So all judgement is a form of deceit and reflects a continuation of the very conditions Jesus sought to liberate her from with his living water. Praise be to his perfection and shame on the men who continue to persecute she who Jesus choose as his first disclosure of his messianic mission too.

    • JAMES

      Which version are you reading? He clearly tells her to go and sin no more.

      • Di

        I think you are referring to the encounter between Jesus and the woman caught in adultery where He does say “go and sin no more”

        It is easy to get these two stories confused and not remember rightly.

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