Jesus left Judea and returned to Galilee when he learned that the Pharisees heard he was baptizing and making more disciples than John. Jesus himself did not baptize, only his disciples did. On his way he traveled to a town in Samaria called Sychar, which is near the piece of land that Jacob had bequeathed to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there and around 6 in the evening Jesus sat down near it because he was exhausted from his journey. A Samaritan woman came near to draw water from the well. Jesus asked her to give him a drink. His disciples had traveled ahead into town to buy food.
She replied “Why are you, a Jew, asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” Jews normally did not associate with Samaritans.
Jesus answered, “If you understood the gift of God, and who is asking you for a drink, you would be asking him, and he would give you living water.”
“Sir,” she said, “the well is deep and you don’t even have a bucket with you. How and where are you going to get this ‘living water’? You aren’t more powerful than Jacob, our father, are you? He is the one who gave us this well. He, his sons, and their livestock all drank from it.”
Jesus said “Anyone who drinks this water will become thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I offer will never ever become thirsty again! In fact, the water I offer will become like a spring of water, flowing from within that person for eternal life.”
“Sir,” she said, “let me have some of this water so I won’t get thirsty and have to come all this way to draw water here again.”
“Go get your husband and come back here” he told her.
“I am unmarried,” she replied.
“You are correct in saying ‘I am unmarried,’ because you’ve been divorced five times and the man you are with now is not your husband. You have spoken the truth,” Jesus countered.
“Sir, it is obvious to me that you are a prophet,” the woman replied. “The Samaritans worshipped here on this mountain in years past, yet you Jews believe that Jerusalem is where people should worship.”
Jesus said “Believe me, the time is coming when you won’t need to worship the Father here or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you don’t know, while we Jews know what we worship, because salvation comes into the world through us. However, it is now the time when true worshippers will worship God in spirit and truth. God wants this kind of worship from us. Since God is spirit, God should be worshipped in spirit and truth.”
The Samaritan woman said “I know that the time is coming when the Messiah will arrive” (the One who is called Christ). “He will explain everything to us when he comes.”
“I am the One who is speaking to you.” Jesus told her.
His disciples arrived at this point and they were surprised he was talking with a woman. But none of them asked him what he wanted or why he was talking to her.
Then the Samaritan woman got up, left her water jar there, and went back to town. She told the men “Come with me and see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done! Is it possible this is the Messiah?” They left the town and went straight to where Jesus was.
Meanwhile, the disciples kept urging him to eat something. But he said “I have food that you are unaware of.” The disciples began to wonder among themselves, saying “Could someone else have brought him something?”
Jesus told them “My food is to do God’s will and to finish God’s work. Isn’t it common to say ‘There are four more months before the time for the harvest’? Listen clearly – raise your eyes and look at the fields – they are ripe for the harvest! Right now the reaper is being paid and gathering the harvest for eternal life, so those who sow and those who reap can celebrate together. Here the saying is true – ‘One sows the seed and another reaps the harvest.’ I have sent you to harvest what you didn’t work for. Others have worked and you have benefitted from their work.”
Many people from the Samaritan town believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony when she said “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” Because of this, they asked him to stay with them when they came out to see him at the well. Jesus stayed there for two days. Many more people came to believe because of his word. Then they told the woman “We don’t believe just because of your testimony. We have heard him for ourselves and we know that he truly is the Savior of the world.”