Biblical People

Biblical People: The Woman at the Well

The Jews dismiss Samaritans as half-breed misfits. They refuse to associate with them. Even talking to one is social suicide. Yet Jesus defies convention and purposefully travels to their town and even rests there. While he waits at the local well, he sends his disciples into town to buy food.

At noon, a Samaritan woman comes to draw water. She may pick this time of day to avoid being there with the other women of the village. Her life choices make her an outcast. She’s an outcast among outcasts. 

Jesus surprises her by asking for a drink of water. She’s shocked. Not only is he breaking conventions in talking with a detested Samaritan and a woman, but he asks for a favor. If she gives him water, he will need to drink from her cup, another thing completely unacceptable to Jews. 

Jesus, however, doesn’t care what others think. He cares for her.

He also knows about her past, that she’s been married five times and isn’t married to the guy she’s living with. Amazed that he knows her secrets, she affirms him as a prophet and later learns he is the Messiah everyone has been waiting for.

She goes and tells the villagers what Jesus said. Based on her testimony, they come out to meet him and believe in him. They ask him to hang out with them and he stays for two days.

When we tell others about Jesus, is our story compelling enough for them to seriously consider him?

[Discover more about the Samaritan woman in John 4:5–42.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at