John chapter four contains one of the most beautiful conversations in all of Scripture. The Lord offers salvation to an outcast woman as if He were handing her a drink of water. This woman stands in stark contrast to Nicodemus from John chapter three. He was a Jew; she was a Samaritan. He was a religious leader; she was an adulteress. He was learned; she was ignorant. He was a member of the highest class; she was a member of the lowest class. He was wealthy and she was poor. He recognized Christ as a teacher come from God; she didn’t have a clue who Jesus was.
Jesus, by disclosing who He was to this unknown woman of Samaria, demonstrated that the Gospel was for all, not just the Jews, and that his ministry was to poor outcasts as well as the religious elites.
Through Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman, we learn several lessons.
First there is the lesson of the well—that Jesus came to seek and save lost sinners. As far as the Jews were concerned, the Samaritan people were the lowest of the low. They were a mixed race of Jews and Gentiles and were idolatrous and disobedient to God’s law. The Jews avoided Samaritans at all costs but Jesus goes to Samaria for the specific purpose of seeking and saving the lost Samaritan woman.
Then there is the lesson of the woman—that God is no respecter of persons, He doesn’t play favorites! If He did, He would have avoided Samaria altogether but instead, He not only goes to a taboo land but He seeks out an immoral woman who was an outcast in a nation of outcasts!
The lesson of the water teaches us that whoever is thirsty can come and drink of the spiritual water of life (salvation!) that Jesus offers, regardless of their race, stature, sin, or righteousness. Jesus does not condone sin but reveals the woman’s sin masterfully but graciously with the phrase, “Go and call your husband.” He knew the woman’s immoral character but invited her to drink of His water and be cleansed!
As Jesus talked to the woman about worship, He taught her that now is the time for true worship! Worship isn’t about where or when you worship but about Who and how you worship. In order to be a true worshiper, she must accept Him and the living water of salvation. While the Bible does not explicitly say that she accepted Christ, it seems very clear later in the passage that she accepts Christ as the Messiah and is saved!
The final lesson is the lesson of the witness. The woman goes back to her town and tells everyone, “This man receives sinners!” She displays the fruit of a transformed life as she tells everyone she meets about Jesus, the man who receives sinners
The last chapter of the Bible closes with an invitation similar to the one Jesus gave to the Samaritan woman. “Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (Revelation 22:17). While salvation is free, it is not cheap; the Savior purchased it with his own blood, so repentant sinners could drink as deeply as they like.