chevron-leftchevron-right-+closefacebook-bwinstagram-bwmenuNew Tabtwitter-bwyoutube-bw
facebook-bw twitter-bw instagram-bw youtube-bw menu close - +

What Can Separate You from Jesus?

Watch Session Four

Of all of the “water cooler conversations” we’ve had at work, none have ever resembled the one like Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4, have they?

The Samaritans were descendants of Israelites who had intermarried with local, nonJewish people and settled in the region that became known as Samaria. They were rejected by the Jews, both socially and spiritually.

What have we heard about the Samaritan woman? From our modern perspectives, we’ve assumed that she was an immoral woman who’d married and divorced five husbands. At the time she met Jesus, she was living with a sixth man, this time not even bothering to marry him. In order to accurately interpret this passage, we need to reconcile our modern connotations with the cultural realities of first-century living.

Women in the first-century Middle East did not experience the freedom that we women enjoy today. They were legally and socially treated as property with little power. It’s more likely that she had been widowed or divorced her several times. Living without the protection of a man could have been risky, both in terms of physical safety and financial security. Living with a man who was not her husband likely, then, implies that she was either his concubine or second wife in order to avoid poverty.

reconciled to reconcile

Looking at the woman through first-century eyes will help us see that her story was one of loss, pain, and shame. Enter Jesus, who broke down barriers to:

  • Cross a gender divide—he spoke to a woman while she was alone (John 4:7).
  • Cross a social divide—he, a Jewish man, spoke to a Samaritan woman (v. 9).
  • Cross a religious divide—he asked for water. The Samaritans were considered unclean. The water that she gave Jesus would have been considered unclean also. Jesus didn’t care (v. 9).

He then engaged this woman in a deep, theological discussion as if she were his equal. This was Jesus’s longest recorded conversation. We should take note of that. Jesus’s longest recorded conversation in the Bible is not with his disciples or with the religious leaders of the day. It is with someone whose gender and religious pedigree counted against her.

This intentional interaction illustrates something powerful and relevant to us. Jesus breaks societal rules and norms, refusing to let cultural constraints deter him from encounters with women who desperately need his presence.

But also consider this: The conversation at the well wasn’t just for this woman’s salvation alone. The encounter with Jesus brought God’s presence to the entire community (v. 29). They initially came because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony, but they stayed because of all the things they heard from Jesus himself.

We’ll explore how God reconciles us to himself first and then uses us to reconcile others to himself later on this week. Our encounter with God is never for our benefit alone. He wants to use our whole story, including the painful and shameful parts, to draw others to himself.


Leader Guide


Learn More

About IF:Equip

Go Back

What the Women Saw

Daily Question

Is it painful to share your past with others for fear of judgment or rejection? What person or group of people can you share your story within order to draw them to Christ?

Your email address will not be published.

Comments (21)

It is very painful to share your past with others. Especially with the thought of judgement. Everyday people are judged based upon their past, or present choices. To be honest you never know who to share personal information to without thinking someone will judge you. In these times alone people think so selfishly. It’s difficult to confide in someone.

Yes it painful to share some experiences I’ve endured . Ican share my testimony with young women who may be entering new ronantic relationships , or rebuilding torn familial relationships . Learning to have faith ,grow and surpass the pain is not easy but can be done in the process of prayer, repenting and being vulnerable to God and loved ones.

For me, my past is a testimony of all that God has brought me through so I am not afraid to share with anyone! I specifically can share my past to women/mothers as I had learned so much about being a single mother and keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus first by allowing him to be the cornerstone of my relationships with people!

I think you must share your past because we must meet people where they are at
I use to didn’t want to share but only because of the grace of God I can share
Praise the lord
Jesus is the same yesterday today and forevermore!
Come to Jesus just as you are and he will save you!!!

I wish teenagers understood that the drama of these years they are in right now, will not last forever. Everybody will grow into adulthood, and the rejection, lonliness and ridicule they suffer as beautiful young people will not make a hill of beans. I know, I went through it. I stayed true to my beliefs, morals and values (in other words I tried really hard to stay away from the drugs and drinking). That made me an outcast. I wasn’t a Christian, I grew up with a family member who drank to much, so I decided I didn’t want that in my life – I wanted to be somebody others could depend on and I seen first hand that too much drink wouldn’t make me who I wanted to be. But my "school friends" didn’t understand that, they just knew I was different. But guess what? I made it all the way through. I don’t have a perfect life but it’s a great one. I have suffered since – because I’m human and live in this world. I found Jesus in my 20′ and He is a friend I have depended on everyday since. Life is terrific with Him in it, because I know He understands my heart.

No it’s not painful anymore . It was when I was younger, because it mattered what people thought of me. But that’s one of the joys of growing older (I’m 78). I know that Jesus doesn’t judge me and that’s all I care about now. I haven’t had an easy life and it’s pure joy to share with other women how God’s brought me through deep waters many times.

It is shameful and painful for fear of judgement for me. I do know that God looks past this as we are new in Christ Jesus when we are saved and our sins are forgiven. I try to share this with my children often so they too can see how I was before and know what I am now to help them also understand and want God’ salvation in their lives.

I do find it a bit difficult to share a lot of things about my past with other people. I went through a lot and it got to a really bad place. I feel like I can share my story with my close friends and family and not have to fear being judged. Especially the ones who stood by me throughout the hard times.

There alot of painful things we go through in life but thank God we have been given the grace of forgetting, with time.
Age mates, people who have a similar walk though different challenges.

It depends on the audience and the right timing. There are some places I won’t share about my attempted suicide after I lost both parents unless if I felt it was a safe place or someone needed to hear it to see how God took me out from my darkest days. Safe place is in church, during connect groups, when counseling others, when serving because we serve others to show Christ’s love and show that God uses broken people and ordinary people not extraordinary people to do his work. Amen.

Have questions?

We've got answers.

View Our FAQs

Thank you to our study partner