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Ministry of Jesus

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman


John 4:1-26


The Samaritans were disliked by Israelites because they were not full blooded Jews.  In 722 BC the Assyrians invaded the northern tribes of Israel.  Rather than carry them away as slaves, they allowed the people to remain in the land but under subjugation.  They married the Israelites and had children with them.  What resulted was the Samaritans, a race of people who were half Israelite, half Assyrian.  Because of this, Israelites treated them even worse than Gentiles.

The woman who Jesus encounters at the well is an outcast even among her own people.  When she goes to the well, it is about the sixth hour, or noon as the Jews began counting their day at sunrise, around 6 AM.  People normally went to the well in the cool of the morning or evening but this woman goes in the heat of the day because she is an adulteress and is shamed among her own people.

The woman does not understand what Jesus is talking about concerning living water.  She recognizes that Jesus is someone great when He tells her what He knows about her and her relationships with men.  This gives Jesus the opportunity to tell the Samaritan woman that He is the Messiah.

Jesus tells the woman that true believers must worship in spirit and in truth.  The Samaritans had spirit, but it was misdirected.  The Israelites had truth but often spirit was missing as things were followed to the letter of the law without any sense of worship behind it.  God is to be worshipped with both spirit and truth.

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