Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard that he was making and baptizing more disciples than John.
(Actually, Jesus was not baptizing people. His disciples were.)
So he left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee.
Jesus had to go through Samaria.
He arrived at a city in Samaria called Sychar. Sychar was near the piece of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob's Well was there. Jesus sat down by the well because he was tired from traveling. The time was about six o'clock in the evening.
A Samaritan woman went to get some water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink of water."
(His disciples had gone into the city to buy some food.)
The Samaritan woman asked him, "How can a Jewish man like you ask a Samaritan woman like me for a drink of water?" (Jews, of course, don't associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus replied to her, "If you only knew what God's gift is and who is asking you for a drink, you would have asked him for a drink. He would have given you living water."
The woman said to him, "Sir, you don't have anything to use to get water, and the well is deep. So where are you going to get this living water?
You're not more important than our ancestor Jacob, are you? He gave us this well. He and his sons and his animals drank water from it."
Jesus answered her, "Everyone who drinks this water will become thirsty again.
But those who drink the water that I will give them will never become thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give them will become in them a spring that gushes up to eternal life."
The woman told Jesus, "Sir, give me this water! Then I won't get thirsty or have to come here to get water."
Jesus told her, "Go to your husband, and bring him here."
The woman replied, "I don't have a husband." Jesus told her, "You're right when you say that you don't have a husband.
You've had five husbands, and the man you have now isn't your husband. You've told the truth."
The woman said to Jesus, "I see that you're a prophet!
Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain. But you Jews say that people must worship in Jerusalem."
Jesus told her, "Believe me. A time is coming when you Samaritans won't be worshiping the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.
You don't know what you're worshiping. We [Jews] know what we're worshiping, because salvation comes from the Jews.
Indeed, the time is coming, and it is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. The Father is looking for people like that to worship him.
God is a spirit. Those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
The woman said to him, "I know that the Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us everything." (Messiah is the one called Christ.)
Jesus told her, "I am he, and I am speaking to you now."
At that time his disciples returned. They were surprised that he was talking to a woman. But none of them asked him, "What do you want from her?" or "Why are you talking to her?"
Then the woman left her water jar and went back into the city. She told the people,
"Come with me, and meet a man who told me everything I've ever done. Could he be the Messiah?"
The people left the city and went to meet Jesus.
Meanwhile, the disciples were urging him, "Rabbi, have something to eat."
Jesus told them, "I have food to eat that you don't know about."
The disciples asked each other, "Did someone bring him something to eat?"
Jesus told them, "My food is to do what the one who sent me wants me to do and to finish the work he has given me.
"Don't you say, 'In four more months the harvest will be here'? I'm telling you to look and see that the fields are ready to be harvested.
The person who harvests the crop is already getting paid. He is gathering grain for eternal life. So the person who plants the grain and the person who harvests it are happy together.
In this respect the saying is true: 'One person plants, and another person harvests.'
I have sent you to harvest a crop you have not worked for. Other people have done the hard work, and you have followed them in their work."
Many Samaritans in that city believed in Jesus because of the woman who said, "He told me everything I've ever done."
So when the Samaritans went to Jesus, they asked him to stay with them. He stayed in Samaria for two days.
Many more Samaritans believed because of what Jesus said.
They told the woman, "Our faith is no longer based on what you've said. We have heard him ourselves, and we know that he really is the savior of the world."