If You Knew
I. An Occasion
Jesus having to go through Samaria.
Jesus went from Judea (southern Israel) to Galilee (the north). In between lay Samaria, an area many Jews skirted.
Hatred and distrust between Israelites and Samaritans went back over 500 years, to Israel’s return from exile in Babylon (cf. Ezra 4:1-5).
Jesus’ fellow Jews saw Samaritans the way many Israelis today see Palestinians, and vice versa. But Jesus saw Samaritans as people who needed his love as much as anyone else, and treated them that way. He went through Samaria on purpose and reached Jacob’s well at noon.
Pastor Roger Frederickson wrote, “He did not need to save the three days He could gain by passing through this ill-regarded province rather than crossing the river and going up the eastern desert route…. the Father had sent Him into the whole world—not just part of it.
II. An Opportunity
A well (Jacob’s)
The traditional site of Jacob’s well cannot be located by finding Sychar, as that city is no longer in existence. However, the site thought to be the biblical Shechem, called Tel Balata by archaeologists, is near a well. This is important because the Bible says Jacob bought land from Shechem and lived at that place for a long time (Genesis 33:19). He would have required a well, and it is perfectly reasonable that he dug one. Also, the well at Tel Balata is indeed of ancient origin. These biblical and geographical facts point to the site as a good match for what the Samaritan woman called “Jacob’s well.”
Today, the well is inside the Church of St. Photina (the name traditionally given to the Samaritan woman by the Orthodox Church—the name is Svetlana in Russian). The church was originally built in A.D. 380. Through the years, the church was destroyed a number of times by natural and military forces. The current building is administrated by the Greek Orthodox Church, which obtained the site in 1893. The church and the well can be visited today in the West Bank.
The significance of Jacob’s well is that it provided an opportunity for Jesus to present Himself as the life-giving Messiah to a Samaritan woman and, later, to her whole village.
- It is a deep well.
- III. A Crisis (The Woman)
- Shunned – v. 9
- Shamed – v. 9
- Separated – v. 9 (although she did have some friends somewhere)
Application: That’s exactly what sin does. Shun, shame and separate.
IV. A Gift
If you knew…
The gift of God…
You would ask…
He will give you living water!
Question: The woman had asked, “Are you greater than our father Jacob?” The answer is a resounding “yes.” Jacob may have provided his children with physical water in an arid land, but Jesus provides His children with “living water” in a spiritual wasteland. The life Jesus gives satisfies all our needs and springs up to eternal life (John 4:14).
V. An Answer
‘Who ever drinks from this well will thirst again…. but whoever drinks of water I have to give will never thirst again’.
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