John 4:15-19 Devotional Commentary

Hard facts: Devotional Commentary for February 12-18

John 4:15-19 (NASB)

This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.

15The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw."
16He said to her, "Go, call your husband and come here."
17The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have correctly said, 'I have no husband';
18for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."
19The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet."

Last week's Devotional was concluded by Jesus' assuring promise to the Samaritan woman, that the Living Water He was offering her shall spring into eternal life in her, and whoever drinks the Living Water shall never be thirsty again. She did not understand the type, source, or value of the Water. Nevertheless, she asked for it hoping that it might address her needs: the needs she recognized in herself. She wished to assuage her persistent thirst for water and desperately wanted to break off her reliance on the well. She wanted this special water, if it quenched her thirst and eliminated her need to come to the well every day.

The woman was finally convinced and asked for the Water. But the conversation took a drastically different direction. Jesus told her to go and get her husband. All the woman wanted was the special Water. But Jesus asked to see her husband. What is the connection?

Actually, the issue at hand had nothing to do with drinking-water, thirst, the daily trips to fetch water from Jacob's Well, or even the well itself. It turned out, the woman's need was different and far more serious than refreshing the body with water. She missed Jesus' point. Instead of asking why and what for she might need the Living Water, she attempted to resolve her problems as she understood her needs.

Jesus cut to the chase with a confrontative question which promptly shifted the focus of the conversation from the water to her life, and, from Jacob's Well to her home. Jesus asked her to go and get her husband. She promptly affirmed that she did not have one. Jesus acknowledged her correct response and commended her for giving a factually correct answer. However, Jesus pressed the matter further and unveiled details of her home life which she did not disclose. He showed her that what she did not divulge is already known to Him.

She was right in saying she did not have a husband. But she was neither celibate nor chaste. She lived with men, different men, six to be exact. Jesus revealed to her that, He knew that all the men she lived with were not her husbands. She did not live under a wedding vow. She indulged her flesh in the extravagant pleasures of promiscuity. She humored her flesh with unrestrained gratification.

She appeased her flesh but paid little attention to her soul. Perhaps she looked for answers to her problems in different men. But in the process, she let her parched soul linger in death and in darkness. But Jesus, Who knew her from before the foundation of the world, opened the Fountain of the Living Water and invited her to receive eternal life and refresh her soul with the Living Water.

Once the woman realized the depth of Jesus' knowledge about her, the light of true understanding began to dawn in her heart. She now knew that Jesus was no ordinary man. He was not merely a nice Jewish man who was willing to talk to her. She perceived that He is a Prophet, and confessed the truth about Him with courage and without a doubt. Just like Thomas who was compelled by the Truth to exclaim "my Lord and my God", the Samaritan woman also acknowledged Jesus as The Prophet. Indeed, He is the Prophet, the Messiah, and the Christ Who is the Bread of Life and the Living Water. Thus, in offering the Living Water to her, Jesus offered Himself, indeed His Life; so that the one dead in sin might receive Eternal Life from the Hands of the Giver of Life.


As we continue to meditate upon the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, we see the process of redemption at work and feel the dynamic tension between human prejudice and divine Love and Mercy, between ignorance and God’s revelation, and between human error and divine Truth. We observe the Power of divine Love and Truth at work in a heart obscured by doubts and preconceived misgivings. Like the Samaritan woman, perhaps we see solely the physical and the material aspects of life.

We may attend to traditions and adopt attitudes of worship when we find ourselves inside church buildings while living the rest of our lives in casual nonchalance, giving scant credence to meager professions of faith in God. Truly, much of our worship is place-focused and time-oriented, the where and when of worship, based on unreliable feelings and symbolic rituals. We often pass through such moments without experiencing real cleansing, peace, meaning, and significance due to the tumult spawned by our daily struggles.

Like the Samaritan woman, we vainly attempt to bring the conversation back to some safer theological discourse when we are confronted by Truth. Nevertheless, Jesus pursues us lovingly and graciously. He persistently reveals to us the truth of who we are and where we are in our spiritual journey. He wants us to understand fully how we are so completely and helplessly bound to our sinful perspectives.

Again like the Samaritan woman, we are stopped cold in our tracks, overwhelmed by the compelling words of our Savior. In Christ, we find fulfillment and eternal relief from the burden that crushes our soul. In Christ the Living Water, our souls are refreshed. With the Power of His Truth and His all-pervasive Knowledge, he regenerates our fallen understanding and transforms our perception. In the end, we perceive that He is Jesus the Christ, the Living Water leading to eternal life.

As He did with the Samaritan woman, He captures our attention. He exposes the depravity of our sin-nature. He acquaints us with the dire spiritual condition of our soul. He sets us free from a life of casual nonchalance, indifference, ignorance, and a blind race toward enduring darkness. He offers us a sure Hope in Himself: Jesus Christ, the Living Water.

Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.

We encourage you to frequently visit our website where you can find weekly devotional readings and helpful blogs.

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