The Samaritan Woman: A Good Example For Women Evangelists

By Mrs Gloria Ekua Owusu (Mpasaso District-Tepa Area)

The story of the Samaritan woman at the well, as captured in the Gospel of John, provides profound insights into Jesus’ intentional encounter with a woman who becomes an effective evangelist. Let’s delve deeper into this encounter and draw valuable lessons for women engaged in spreading the Good News.

“So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; so, Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman from Samaria came to draw water…

According to John 4:6, “The sixth hour simply is a modern-day noon, which mostly called for rest. Most women would come early in the morning or late in the evening to fetch water. However, Jesus had sent His disciples away (John 4:8), and we see the woman come to the well for water.

As the story unfolds, we learn that this woman regularly comes to the well at this time of day (John 4:15). She has been married five times, and is currently living in unrepentant sin, by living with her boyfriend (John 4:16-18). These circumstances point to her desire to avoid the shame that would come by attending the well when other women were present. And yet, Jesus, in His divine intentionality, sought to meet this specific woman at this specific time.

The Actual Story as Illustrated by the Bible

Jesus is revealed in this story in several ways:

Through dialogue with the Samaritan woman, we realize Jesus disclosed Himself three times throughout the story.

Firstly, Jesus is revealed as the Living Water (John 4:13-14). After asking the Samaritan woman for a drink, He retorts to her by giving her something greater. “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

Jesus is revealed as a Prophet.

John 4:16-19 says: “He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.”

Dumbfounded by how Jesus exposed her sins, now the Samaritan woman’s eyes are beginning to open to the truth of who Jesus is. Through this speech, He shows her that His word is true.

Finally, we see Jesus revealed as the Messiah. “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Jesus is the Messiah

Jesus apparently told the woman explicitly that He is the anointed King that has come to seek and save the lost.

Jesus’ encounter with this woman paints a picture of some lessons that reveal how women can also spread the Good News and be fully committed to the Great Commission.

  1. She came to the knowledge that Jesus alone is the Living Water.
    The Samaritan woman looked up to men to satisfy her pleasure and soul. We also focus on things external to Christ to give our lives purpose and meaning. Nevertheless, as Jesus revealed Himself to her, He opened her eyes to know that He was the never-ending water she was so desiring (John 7:38).
  2. She came to the knowledge that Jesus is not deterred by our numerous sins.
    The woman perceived Jesus as a prophet because He called out all her sins (John 4:29). Jesus is Omniscient and sees the iniquities within every man’s heart. He sees our desires, and yet He still pursues us and loves us (Romans 3:23). He is not surprised by our evil desires and intentions, but rather He seeks to reconcile us to the Father in spite of all our wrongdoings.
  3. She came to the knowledge that Jesus is the Saviour of the world.
    In the meantime, the Samaritan woman could not totally understand who Jesus was, until her eyes were opened to the truth. We also need Christ to open our eyes to the reality of who He is (Ephesians 4:18). She affirmed in her heart that it is only by believing in the words of Jesus that she will be saved from her sins and went out to declare to others about Jesus being the saviour of the world. We must also be courageous to declare Him to the whole world that He gives new desires and a new purpose to those who seek Him.
  4. She also came to the realisation that Christ is the Messiah.
    Once Jesus is your Messiah, He becomes the Lord of your life. She found this quickly and went out to declare to others that the long-awaited Messiah and king had come to save mankind. We come to Christ to be complete, to be pardoned; and the vacuum that is filled by Christ in our heart surfeits so that we desire to proclaim His excellences (1 Peter 2:9) and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus turns out to be such a treasure to us, so as to the Samaritan woman, that we cannot stop ourselves from telling others about the happiness He has conferred in our life (John 4:28-30).
  5. Lastly, she came to the knowledge that Christ is always willing to give us the water of life. Jesus responds to the Samaritan woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). The woman marvels how Jesus can offer this water, particularly since He had no means to draw it. In Jesus’ answer according to (John 4:13–14), we must tell others to come to the well and the brook of God to drink. This made the Samaritan woman a great kind of Woman Evangelist, as she went out to preach the gospel in her community to transform others.

In summary, the Bible uses water as an allegory in some places, and it does express “the water of life.” In John 4, Jesus is sitting at a well in Samaria when a woman comes to draw water. This would have been a diurnal task for her and would have involved significant effort and time on her part. Jesus asks her for a drink. This simple request was weighty because Jesus was publicly speaking to a woman and a Samaritan woman at that. The woman misinterprets, thinking that if she could get this water, she would not have to spend any more time labouring to get water daily from the well. At this point, she thinks that Jesus is talking about some kind of magical water that would meet her physical needs. Jesus turns the conversation from physical needs to spiritual needs. The conversation ends with Jesus telling her simply that He is the promised Messiah, and she goes and evangelises the whole town to come out and listen to what Jesus has to say.

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