Now as soon as the Master was aware that the Pharisees had heard it said, "Jesus is gaining and baptizing more disciples than John"--
though Jesus Himself did not baptize them, but His disciples did--
He left Judaea and returned to Galilee.
His road lay through Samaria,
and so He came to Sychar, a town in Samaria near the piece of land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
Jacob's Well was there: and accordingly Jesus, tired out with His journey, sat down by the well to rest. It was about six o'clock in the evening.
Presently there came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus asked her to give Him some water;
for His disciples were gone to the town to buy provisions.
"How is it," replied the woman, "that a Jew like you asks me, who am a woman and a Samaritan, for water?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)
"If you had known God's free gift," replied Jesus, "and who it is that said to you, `Give me some water,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
"Sir," she said, "you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; so where can you get the living water from?
Are you greater than our forefather Jacob, who gave us the well, and himself drank from it, as did also his sons and his cattle?"
"Every one," replied Jesus, "who drinks any of this water will be thirsty again;
but whoever drinks any of the water that I shall give him will never, never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become a fountain within him of water springing up for the Life of the Ages."
"Sir," said the woman, "give me that water, that I may never be thirsty, nor continually come all the way here to draw from the well."
"Go and call your husband," said Jesus; "and come back."
"I have no husband," she replied. "You rightly say that you have no husband," said Jesus;
"for you have had five husbands, and the man you have at present is not your husband. You have spoken the truth in saying that."
"Sir," replied the woman, "I see that you are a Prophet.
Our forefathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem."
"Believe me," said Jesus, "the time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You worship One of whom you know nothing. We worship One whom we know; for salvation comes from the Jews.
But a time is coming--nay, has already come--when the true worshippers will worship the Father with true spiritual worship; for indeed the Father desires such worshippers.
God is Spirit; and those who worship Him must bring Him true spiritual worship."
"I know," replied the woman, "that Messiah is coming--`the Christ,' as He is called. When He has come, He will tell us everything."
"I am He," said Jesus--"I who am now talking to you."
Just then His disciples came, and were surprised to find Him talking with a woman. Yet not one of them asked Him, "What is your wish?" or "Why are you talking with her?"
The woman however, leaving her pitcher, went away to the town, and called the people.
"Come," she said, "and see a man who has told me everything I have ever done. Can this be the Christ, do you think?"
They left the town and set out to go to Him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging Jesus. "Rabbi," they said, "eat something."
"I have food to eat," He replied, "of which you do not know."
So the disciples began questioning one another. "Can it be," they said, "that some one has brought Him something to eat?"
"My food," said Jesus, "is to be obedient to Him who sent me, and fully to accomplish His work.
Do you not say, `It wants four months yet to the harvest'? But look round, I tell you, and observe these plains-- they are already ripe for the sickle.
The reaper gets pay and gathers in a crop in preparation for the Life of the Ages, that so the sower and the reapers may rejoice together.
For it is in this that you see the real meaning of the saying, `The sower is one person, and the reaper is another.'
I sent you to reap a harvest which is not the result of your own labours. Others have laboured, and you are getting benefit from their labours."
Of the Samaritan population of that town a good many believed in Him because of the woman's statement when she declared, "He has told me all that I have ever done."
When however the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him on all sides to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.
Then a far larger number of people believed because of His own words,
and they said to the woman, "We no longer believe in Him simply because of your statements; for we have now heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world."