Read John 4

Key Verse: John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

I love this story. For several reasons. First, because Jesus was such a free spirit that He had no qualms about talking to a woman on equal ground. That ground, in this case was at Jacob’s well near Sychar in Samaria. But what made it even more astonishing, as far as onlookers were concerned, was the fact that this woman was a Samaritan and Jesus a Jew. Jews hated Samaritans, and the feeling was reciprocal.

Secondly, I love it because it’s such and excellent example of Jesus’ Semitic teaching style. It was a style that saw clear, concise, easily understood assertions as artless. In semitic teaching you whet the appetite, you baffle, you lead your student on–to the point where the light suddenly dawns and he asserts the lesson himself. Almost as if he’d known it all along. The Greek philosopher, Plato, had some insight into this method as well.

Jesus whets the woman’s appetite here. Perhaps, more accurately, He creates thirst. He does it artfully, by asking for a drink, as if He’s the one who is thirsty. Then He leads the woman on, until finally He is able to say to her, in reference to the Messiah of Israel, “I who speak to you am He.” It is marvellous!

Maybe one of the reasons I most love this story, though, is the woman’s honesty. She had every reason to hide her marital status from Jesus, but didn’t. She told it like it was, “I have no husband.” I think this honesty was critical in the conversation. Jesus can speak to hones hearts. Expose your heart to Him, and He will expose His heart to you; hidden hearts, on the the other hand, remain hidden.

This is why I chose verse 24 as the key verse. No question, we relate to God on the spiritual level, but our spirits are clouded as long as there is untruth in us. With God you’ve got to tell it like it is.