Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg

The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Our Scripture reading is taken from the Book of St. John Chapter 4:3-42. We will take it verse by verse

In the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

John 4:3 Jesus left Judea and started back to Galilee. 4 But he had to go through Samaria. 

Oh, Samaria! That was the strange place, the half-breed place, the place you are not supposed to visit if you are well brought up! All of us had some section of town when we were growing up that we were not supposed to visit. Two thousand years ago, that place was Samaria!

But you know what? Jesus went through it! Jesus goes through the places that we think are off-limits.

5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon. 

Jesus was tired. Can you imagine Jesus being tired? If he’s the Son of God, what’s he doing being tired?

Well, remember, Jesus shows us what it means to be truly human and what it means to be truly God. Jesus is both. Jesus is human and Jesus is God.

This means that no matter, what we ever feel in life, Jesus has felt it before us. Jesus knows us. When we are flat-out, dead tired, Jesus has been tired, too.

Are you tired of your journey? Are you tired of all the work you’ve had to do? Well, Jesus can relate. Jesus is tired, too.

7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 

Yes, we were all taught not to talk to strangers. And we were probably taught, implicitly, that there were some people we were just not supposed to associate with. Two thousand years ago, Jews were not supposed to speak with Samaritans.

And they were certainly not supposed to eat with them, or drink with them, or especially drink after them! That would be more than just not right. It would be unclean; it would be disgusting. For the proper Jewish man, to drink with a Samaritan would be like one of us drinking from the bottle as a wino on the street in a bad section of town. Disgusting.

Today, Americans are not supposed to speak with Cubans. North Americans are not talking with Iranians. Northern Ireland is not supposed to speak with Southern Ireland. Ukraine is not supposed to speak with Russia. Opposition is not supposed to speak to the Government. Democrats are not supposed to speak with Republicans.

Well, that’s not the way that Jesus considered it.

Men were not even supposed to mingle with women in that culture. I don’t mean co-mingle. I mean that men and women did not share the common exchanges of daily commerce and need.

But Jesus broke those rules. Jesus respected women. Jesus respected women so much that he was able to share his ordinary need with a woman; he shared his thirst.

10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?”

Living water? What is this living water? Isn’t all water living?

No, it’s not all living. All of us have seen the opposite at some time or another. The opposite of living water is dead water. Some water is absolutely dead.

Some water is dead, and yet folks continue to drink it. Do you know what dead water is?

  • Dead water is the same old television show every night.
  • Dead water is the same old argument you get into every day.
  • Dead water is that little habit you persist in nourishing, that habit which is small in itself, but which will kill you one day.
  • Dead water is what may have nourished somebody long ago, but it sure does not give you joy and vigour today.

Yes, my brothers and sisters, we go over the same arguments day after day until it became tasteless. We continue to hate our fellow loved ones and shout praises to God. HEAR me now; you are wasting your time. It is you being full of yourself with no room for God to dwell.

Dead water is that water you give for yourself which still leaves you crying out for more.

13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” 

Yes! The Samaritan woman wants this water now! She knows exactly what Jesus means! Sir, give me this water! This woman recognized who Jesus was and she too was willing to break the cultural barriers. She wanted her soul saved, after trying many relationships with no positive outcome, she wanted to change.

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 

Ah! The woman has no husband! Exactly. She has used up husbands the way each of us uses up unsatisfactory water. We keep trying all these ways to cure our souls. We try this self-help book. We try that therapist. We try this drug. We try that drink. We try this husband. We try that wife.  We try the fortune teller, the card reader, the obeah man and forsake the God before your very eyes. These people know all about you but cannot fix their own problems. I offer to you this day my brothers and sisters a man, a husband, our Lord Jesus Christ. Today if you will believe the words I write to you and forget your ways, this is your moment to shine.

But, ultimately, we have no husband. Jesus knows that we have no husband. Jesus knows that our search has been fruitless. Our well is dry and the springs are blocked. We need the peace of God that will transcend deep into our souls until all we see is Jesus and only to hear His words.

19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 

Yes, Jesus knows. Jesus knows. Prophets know. Prophets know, but they love people anyway. Look at this revelation before our very eyes. Because something was in this man Jesus flowing on the outside the woman was able to recognize who He was. Hallelujah, this was a moment for this woman to receive of God. Without fear or favour, she was willing to surrender to Him.

20 Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. It does not matter where your ancestors worshipped. Their arguments do not need to be your arguments. They were concerned with matters that are no longer a part of our lives. Just like today in our churches we rely on the rituals of our fore-parents and without checking the scriptures we continue the same path. Yes, the rituals have a place in our worship but there is a time and a place for them. Our ancestors worship a certain way but here is Jesus offering Himself to you. Choose this day who you are going to serve.

True worship has to do with spirit and with the truth. If you want to worship God, you must be willing to enter the realm of the Spirit. The Spirit uses history, but the Spirit is not bound to history. If you want to worship God, you must be willing to enter the realm of the Truth. Truth uses history, too, but Truth is not bound to history.

Truth is willing to acknowledge that everyone gets thirsty. No matter whether you are Jew or Samaritan, or Gentile, or Greek, or American, or the Caribbean or Southerner. No matter whether you are a man or a woman, or anything in between, gay or lesbian, or something else entirely, everyone gets thirsty. That is the truth.

Are you willing to worship God with the truth of who you are? If you can worship God in truth, you are in the Spirit. Yes the Spirit of God and not that of some saint or man. There is one way and it is the Jesus way.

25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.” 

“I am he,” Jesus said. “I am.” That was the phrase that Moses heard from the burning bush. “I am who I am.” “I am becoming who I am becoming.” “I am …he.” My God, Hallelujah. This is real anointing Church, Let me hear you shout for this is my time, our time standing before the great “I am.”

“I am that living water. I am that Spirit. I am that Truth, that way, that life.” And Jesus speaks to us.

Jesus is speaking to you, right now, if you have ears to hear, right now, here in church, in this place, in this time, at this well. O, I wish I was on the pulpit shouting these words to you as we close out this year to start a new.

Jesus is at the local watering hole if you have ears to hear spirit and truth. Jesus is at the local coffee shop. Jesus is at your favourite restaurant. Jesus is at the gym; Jesus is at your job, at your house, in your bedroom. O, hear His tender pleading come sinner come. O, come, my brothers and sisters back to this watering spot, this well where Jesus is waiting for you.

Wherever you hear spirit and truth, you are hearing Jesus.

27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” 

Honey, you better believe he is the Messiah!

30 They left the city and were on their way to him. 

Somehow, the townspeople were convinced! They realized immediately, from the woman (!) that something big had happened. Do you know what convinced them? It was the woman’s testimony, to be sure. She had a testimony now, a witness. People believe testimonies because people recognize the truth. People are convinced by what they feel, in their gut, is the truth. Hallelujah, I just feel like shouting because of the testimony and the words spoken the villagers went out to see Jesus. The change must take place from the inside out, while some people always see the fault of others and they cannot do better, God is working on the inside of that person. Where is your testimony, How we speak, dress, and live can change the hearts of others? This is your opportunity to change who we are now to what God want us to be.

But the people were also convinced by her question! That’s how she ended her testimony. “He cannot be the Messiah, can he?”

Honey, you better believe he is the Messiah!

31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.” 39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 

41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

This is the Jesus we worship today. This is the Jesus we worship in Spirit and in Truth: the Saviour of the World. I present to you this day my brothers and sisters, the family of The Mystical Order of Spiritual Baptist Inc., and Starlight of Israel Jesus the Saviour of the world.



Author: Godfrey Gregg