Soon the news reached the Jewish religious leaders known as the “Separated Ones” that Jesus was drawing greater crowds of followers coming to be baptized than John. (Although Jesus didn’t baptize, but had his disciples baptize the people.) Jesus heard what was being said and abruptly left Judea and returned to the province of Galilee, and he had to pass through Samaritan territory.
Jesus arrived at the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son, Joseph, long ago. Wearied by his long journey, he sat on the edge of Jacob’s well. He sent his disciples into the village to buy food, for it was already afternoon.
Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.”
Surprised, she said, “Why would a Jewish man ask a Samaritan woman for a drink of water? Jews won’t even drink from a cup that a Samaritan has used!”
Jesus replied, “If you only knew who I am and the gift that God is wanting to give you — you’d be asking me for a drink, and I would give to you living water.”
The woman replied, “But sir, you don’t even have a bucket and this well is very deep. So where do you find this ‘living water’? Do you really think that you are greater than our ancestor Jacob who dug this well and drank from it himself, along with his children and livestock?”
Jesus answered, “If you drink from Jacob’s well you’ll be thirsty again and again, but if anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never thirst again and will be forever satisfied! For when you drink the water I give you it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life!”
The woman replied, “Let me drink that water so I’ll never be thirsty again and won’t have to come back here to draw water.”
Jesus said, “Go get your husband and bring him back here.”
“But I’m not married,” the woman answered.
“That’s true,” Jesus said, “for you’ve been married five timesd and now you’re living with a man who is not your husband. You have told the truth.”
The woman said, “You must be a prophet! So tell me this: Why do our fathers worship God here on this nearby mountain, but your people teach that Jerusalem is the place where we must worship. Which is right?”
Jesus responded, “Believe me, dear woman, the time has come when you won’t worship the Father on a mountain nor in Jerusalem, but in your heart. Your people don’t really know the One they worship. We Jews worship out of our experience, for it’s from the Jews that salvation is made available. From here on to worship the Father is not a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshippers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “This is all so confusing, but I do know that the Anointed One is coming — the true Messiah. And when he comes, he will tell us everything we need to know.”
Jesus said to her, “You don’t have to wait any longer, the Anointed One is here speaking with you — I am the One you’re looking for.”
At that moment the disciples returned and were stunned to see Jesus speaking with the Samaritan woman. Yet none of them dared to ask him why or what they were discussing. All at once, the woman dropped her water jar and ran off to her village and told everyone, “Come and meet a man at the well who told me everything I’ve ever done! He could be the Anointed One we’ve been waiting for.” Hearing this, the people came streaming out of the village to go see Jesus.