Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.…
I. AN EVIDENT PHYSICAL NEED. This chapter connects spiritual truth with one great physical need of men, even as ch. 6. connects spiritual truth with another great need. Both Jesus and the woman were exactly in the position to appreciate the value of water, and the opportunity of getting it easily and freely. Jesus is a thirsty Traveller; the woman is one who has frequent journeys from her home to get the indispensable supply forevery day's needs. We cannot all get the same amount of good out of the conversation between Jesus and the woman. Those whose toil often makes them thirsty, and those who get their supplies of water with difficulty, they will be the people to relish the figure by which spiritual benefits are here set forth. Our very difficulty in profiting by this conversation should be a matter for thankfulness. If we are thirsty we very soon get a drink; and if others in their thirst ask from us, we very soon get them the requisite supply.
II. AN UNFELT SPIRITUAL NEED. This woman is an excellent specimen of a very large class. They feel the physical need so much that the spiritual need is altogether overlooked. It is little wonder that the woman talked as she did in this conversation. How was she to know, without a good deal of instruction and experience, whence Jesus came and what he meant? By this conversation, as well as other recorded ones of his, Jesus would evidently stir us up to consider whether there be not other wants just as necessary to be met in their way as the wants that are met by a supply of water. When we are hungry we all know the use of bread; when we are thirsty we all know the use of water; why is it, then, that we know not the use of Jesus? it is either that we have not yet felt the deeper thirst of the heart, or, having felt it, we do not yet understand how in Jesus alone that thirst can be effectually quenched. This woman was wholly and solely occupied with the idea of getting natural water more easily. Her journeys to the well must have been very frequent ones, and, though they might not be long ones, yet they might be quite enough to add very considerably to the toil and burden of the day. What a warning there is for us in this woman's gross spiritual ignorance, her inability to comprehend, even in the very least degree, what Jesus was talking about! She had come out to get as much water as she herself could carry back. There she stood before Jesus, and so ignorant was she of his mission and his power, that at the moment she could think of nothing better to ask him than the opening up of some natural fountain of waters such as would render needless any more toilsome journeys to Jacob's well.
III. THE CONTINUAL READINESS OF JESUS TO SUPPLY ALL SPIRITUAL NEED. He is weary with travel and heat, and needs rest. But the need of this ignorant, degraded woman is far greater than his, and, more than that, in speaking the words that may go far in instructing her as to her need, he speaks the words that may instruct many others also. The physical want of Jesus is soon supplied; a draught from Jacob's well will do that. But the want of the woman is not so easy to supply. It would be easy enough if she were only in the right state of mind; but, first of all, what ignorance, misconception, and wrong desires have to be removed! A deal has to be done for us before we care to appropriate our share in that fountain which, because of its unfailing, fulness, can do nothing else but leap forth to everlasting life. But what an encouragement to know that Jesus is so ready to do all when we are willing to have it done! If we are unsaved, unblessed, unbelieving, unhoping, unloving, if no fresh, deep spiritual stream runs through our nature, it is because we keep away from the fountain that Jesus has opened up. It is not he who has to discover the need and make the preparation. Jesus has everything in perfect readiness so soon as the heart begins to feel its thirst.-Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.