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The Sketchy Samaritan Woman (John 4)

John 4

The Sketchy Samaritan Woman

Have you ever heard the phrase “three strikes you’re out!”?

Well, that’s what we have in John chapter 4. Jesus is talking with a culturally questionable character.


1. She’ s Samaritan – strike one

2. She’s a woman – strike two

3. She’s a sketchy woman who has had many men – strike three.


For a variety of reasons women were not valued or recognized in the first century. As you read the NT in its first century context, you’ll see that the gospel and its teaching elevates women above the culture position that they held.


Anyway, in John 4 we have some interesting little details in the text. Follow me here…


1. Jesus and the disciples were walking through Samaria. (Side note – all Jews hated the Samaritans – and had hated them for centuries. The hate went back to Assyrian dominance over Israel back in 722 BC when the Assyrians conquered the area and mixed various ethnic groups together as a way to subjugate them. Well, as a result of this mixing, some Jews inter-married with gentiles and produced half-breeds. These half breeds (half Jew/ half whatever) is the origin of the Samaritan people. The Jews hated them because they compromised their nation).


2. Jesus and the disciples get to a town called Sychar and rests by a well.


3. The disciples head off to town to get some FOOD (they must have been hungry because that’s all they seem to think about in this chapter).


4. Meanwhile, a Samaritan woman leaves town and goes to the well (which would have been outside the town).


  • That means that the disciples likely met her on the path as they went into town.

  • Note the time of day: “the sixth hour” which is noon. The point is that no one goes to the well at noon – in the heat of the day. The women typically went to the well first thing in the morning. This Sketchy woman (who had many men in her past, and was currently shaking up with a guy) wanted to avoid the social shame from other women, so she goes to the well after everyone else has been there.


5. Jesus strikes up a conversation with this Sketchy Samaritan Woman, and reveals to HER that HE is the Messiah!! (4:26).


  • That tells us a lot about Jesus – there are none too low for the gospel.

6. The disciples come back, shocked that Jesus is talking with her!

  • That tells us a lot about the disciples – they think she is too low for the gospel.

  • They are oblivious to the low hanging spiritual fruit represented by the Sketchy Samaritan Woman, and are only focused on FOOD.


7. Meanwhile, the Sketchy Samaritan Woman has figured out that this guy by the well is very possibly the Christ – the Messiah – and in her belief she goes back to town and tells everyone.


8. Meanwhile the disciples are still focused on FOOD – and they try to get Jesus to eat.


9. He instructs them that making disciples is spiritual food in and of itself – and the appropriate priority at that moment. They’re like: huh?


10. Many Samaritans believed in Jesus as a result of the Sketchy Samaritan Woman – not because of the disciples.


Humbling, isn’t it?


I wonder if the disciples made any snide remarks to, or about, the Sketchy Samaritan Woman as they walked to town for food, and met her on her way to get water.

May God open our eyes to those that we, or society has preemptively labeled as misfits, outcasts and sit by the well with them – engaging them, valuing them.


Enjoy Walking with the Savior Today,

John