It was clear that she did not expect to talk with this man “sitting thus by the well” (John 4:6). As the conversation unfolds, this man, the Christ, did three things that we should practice when we are about our Father’s business.
He began by asking for water, but there was more to it. He actually spoke to her. In her mind, it was something that Jews didn’t do with Samaritans, much less a woman (John 4:9). Here is our first challenge—talking with those who nobody else will. By doing so, we show that we are not like everyone else and that we care. These two things go a long way with reaching the lost. The concept that people have about the “religious” is often tainted.
The discussion at the well covered living water, her past and true worshippers. In all of these subjects Jesus demonstrated knowledge and wisdom. He did not flinch at her sins and the life she lived. We must be equipped to do the same (2 Tim. 3:16-17). She was like so many of our friends and co-workers who are confused about what real religion is and are living lives of sin. We must be fountains of information for those around us, and we can’t flinch or shrink away when the down-trodden and outcasts come to the well, for “such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:11).
Finally, she began putting things together. She understood that this was no mere man with whom she was speaking (John 4:19). At the end of their discussion, she admitted that she understood the nature of the coming Messiah. Jesus then revealed, “I who speak to you am He” (John 4:25). He divulged to her His true self, the Messiah. We must be those who point to the One, the Christ, with our lives and our speech to help people come to know Him. We are not mere people, but rather, we are His servants, His priests and His ambassadors with the message of reconciliation (1 Cor. 4:1; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:20). As people who seek to be laborers in the kingdom, these things should be a part of who we are. We care, we demonstrate a knowledge of God, and we point people to the Christ.
As the woman left the well and went into town with the message, “Come and see,” it was time for the disciples to learn. The work we have to do is more important than the food we eat (John 4:34). There is no time to wait—the harvest is now (John 4:35). We rejoice with those who labored before us as we enter a work that was started long before us. “Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together…others have laborer and you have entered into their labor” (John 4:36-38). Let us rejoice on our work.