1. AT JACOB’S WELL
a. What happened when Jesus sat down to rest during one of His trips? Where were the disciples? John 4:3–7 (first part).
b. Had Jesus offered to help her draw water, would His offer have been accepted? What did He do to eliminate her prejudice? (John 4:7, second part). Very much surprised, what did she say? John 4:9.
“The hatred between Jews and Samaritans prevented the woman from offering a kindness to Jesus; but the Saviour was seeking to find the key to this heart, and with the tact born of divine love, He asked, not offered, a favor. The offer of a kindness might have been rejected; but trust awakens trust.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 184.
“Where bitterness of feeling exists because of difference in religion, much good may be done by personal service. Loving ministry will break down prejudice and win souls to God.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 386.
2. HOW JESUS AWAKENED THE WOMAN’S CURIOSITY
a. How did Christ seek to arouse the woman’s curiosity and divert her attention to something more important? John 4:10.
“The woman had not comprehended the words of Christ but she felt their solemn import.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 184.
b. Supposing that Jesus was speaking of Jacob’s well, what did she say? John 4:11, 12.
“[The Samaritan woman] saw before her only a thirsty traveler, wayworn and dusty. In her mind she compared Him with the honored patriarch Jacob.”—Ibid., p. 184.
c. Since she was not yet prepared to accept the answer to her own question, how did Jesus try to raise her curiosity still further? John 4:13, 14.
“Jesus did not convey the idea that merely one draft of the water of life would suffice the receiver. He who tastes of the love of Christ will continually long for more; but he seeks for nothing else. The riches, honors, and pleasures of the world do not attract him. The constant cry of his heart is, More of Thee. And He who reveals to the soul its necessity is waiting to satisfy its hunger and thirst. Every human resource and dependence will fail. The cisterns will be emptied, the pools become dry; but our Redeemer is an inexhaustible fountain. We may drink, and drink again, and ever find a fresh supply. He in whom Christ dwells has within himself the fountain of blessing—‘a well of water springing up into everlasting life’ (John 4:14). From this source he may draw strength and grace sufficient for all his needs.
“As Jesus spoke of the living water, the woman looked upon Him with wondering attention. He had aroused her interest and awakened a desire for the gift of which He spoke.”—Ibid., p. 187.
3. JESUS’ GREAT TACTFULNESS
a. What did the Samaritan woman say when she realized Jesus was offering her something better than mere water? John 4:15.
b. What was she required to admit? How tactful was Jesus in bringing out the facts of her life that she tried to keep secret? John 4:16–18.
“Before this soul could receive the gift He longed to bestow, she must be brought to recognize her sin and her Saviour. He ‘saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.’ She answered, ‘I have no husband.’ Thus she hoped to prevent all questioning in that direction. But the Saviour continued, ‘Thou hast well said, I have no husband: for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly’ (John 4;16–18).
“The listener trembled. A mysterious hand was turning the pages of her life history, bringing to view that which she had hoped to keep forever hidden. Who was He that could read the secrets of her life? There came to her thoughts of eternity, of the future judgment, when all that is now hidden shall be revealed. In its light, conscience was awakened.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 187, 188.
c. How did the woman still try to evade all reference to her past and present life? John 4:19. How did she seek to turn the direction of the conversation? John 4:20.
“Patiently Jesus permitted her to lead the conversation whither she would. Meanwhile He watched for the opportunity of again bringing the truth home to her heart. ‘Our fathers worshipped in this mountain,’ she said, ‘and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship’ (John 4:20). Just in sight was Mount Gerizim. Its temple was demolished and only the altar remained. The place of worship had been a subject of contention between the Jews and the Samaritans.”—Ibid.
4. JESUS SHOWS NO NATIONAL PREJUDICE
a. Showing that he had no prejudice against the Samaritans, what did Jesus say? John 4:21–24.
“Jesus had shown that He was free from Jewish prejudice against the Samaritans. Now He sought to break down the prejudice of this Samaritan against the Jews. While referring to the fact that the faith of the Samaritans was corrupted with idolatry, He declared that the great truths of redemption had been committed to the Jews, and that from among them the Messiah was to appear. In the Sacred Writings they had a clear presentation of the character of God and the principles of His government. Jesus classed Himself with the Jews as those to whom God had given a knowledge of Himself.
“He desired to lift the thoughts of His hearer above matters of form and ceremony, and questions of controversy.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 188, 189.
b. How did this woman tactfully try to find out if Jesus was indeed the Messiah? John 4:25, 26.
“Not by seeking a holy mountain or a sacred temple are men brought into communion with heaven. Religion is not to be confined to external forms and ceremonies. The religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. . . .
“While the very purity of His presence condemned her sin, He had spoken no word of denunciation but had told her of His grace, that could renew the soul. She began to have some conviction of His character. The question arose in her mind, Might not this be the long-looked-for Messiah?”—Ibid., pp. 189, 190.
“The Saviour is still carrying forward the same work as when He proffered the water of life to the woman of Samaria. Those who call themselves His followers may despise and shun the outcast ones; but no circumstance of birth or nationality, no condition of life, can turn away His love from the children of men.”—Ibid., p. 194.
5. THE FATHER SEEKS SUCH TO WORSHIP HIM
a. What happened when the Samaritan woman, filled with great joy, acted as a fully-persuaded missionary? John 4:28–30.
“In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, giving us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us a willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship. It is the fruit of the working of the Holy Spirit. By the Spirit every sincere prayer is indited, and such prayer is acceptable to God. Wherever a soul reaches out after God, there the Spirit’s working is manifest, and God will reveal Himself to that soul. For such worshipers He is seeking. He waits to receive them and to make them His sons and daughters.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 189.
“The woman had been filled with joy as she listened to Christ’s words. The wonderful revelation was almost overpowering. Leaving her waterpot, she returned to the city, to carry the message to others. Jesus knew why she had gone. Leaving her waterpot spoke unmistakably as to the effect of His words. It was the earnest desire of her soul to obtain the living water; and she forgot her errand to the well, she forgot the Saviour’s thirst, which she had purposed to supply. With heart overflowing with gladness, she hastened on her way, to impart to others the precious light she had received.”—Ibid., p. 191.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did Jesus try to overcome the prejudice that existed between Jews and Samaritans?
2. What did Christ explain to the Samaritan woman about the living water?
3. Why is tact so important when sharing the gospel?
4. What do we all need to realize about the two-sided nature of prejudice?
5. What did the woman do as soon as she was fully persuaded?