Home > Born Again, Law, Living Water, Theology > The Samaritan Woman – the correct interpretation

The Samaritan Woman – the correct interpretation

What is the meaning of the living water that Jesus can give to those who ask? I'd like to share a few thoughts on Jn. 4. Let me start with a quote:

"The Exact historical origins of the Samaritans are disputed to this day. 2 Kings 17 and Josephus (Antiquites 9.277–91) claim that the Samaritans are descendants of mixed ancestry, both of Israelite lineage and of deportees brought into the region of Samaria by the Assyrians from other lands they had conquered, including Cuthah. On the other hand, the Samaritans have always claimed to be the descendants of Israelites of the Northern Kingdom who remained behind during the Babylonian Captivity, and thus introduced none of the religious changes brought about among the Jews during this time. Some modern scholars agree. A genetic study (Shen, et al., 2004) concluded from Y chromosome analysis that Samaritans descend from the Israelites (including Cohen, or priests), and mitochondrial DNA analysis shows descent from Assyrians and other foreign women, effectively validating both local and foreign origins for the Samaritans.
Some date their split with the Jews to the time of Nehemiah, Ezra, and the rebuilding of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. Returning exiles considered the Samaritans to be non-Jews and, thus, not fit for this religious work." [Wikipedia on Samaritans]

The Samaritans accepted nothing more than the Torah (5 books of Moses), and rejected the rest of the OT we shall rightly call TaNaKh (formed from the first letters of the Hebrew equivalent for Torah, Prophets and Writings).

The custom of the day was to draw water from the well early morning to avoid the heat of the day, but the Samaritan woman wants to avoid other women, so she goes to the well at noon. Her sins are known to her people, and she is shamed by other women, thus she wants to avoid contact.

The story of asking for water brings into memory the Israelites, when in the wilderness they asked Moses for water. Moses struck the rock and living water gushed out of it satisfying the thirst of the people.

Living water is natural flowing water, such as a stream, river or rain water. Purification bath (Mikvah) – and baptism – was done in living water.

Jesus is a prophet like Moses, who can give living water that quenches the thirst of the people.

Symbolically water may represent many things, but living water is related to the Torah. It is the blessing God bestows upon those who learn the ways of righteousness (the laws). This is the only water that can satisfy man's thirst!

John 7:38 He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, `Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"

He speaks about the Spirit, that is, about receiving the "law in the heart", the new nature which causes one to habitually fulfill the law (just as a father should fulfill the role of the father).

Though the ultimate source of such living waters is God,

(Jer 2:12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the LORD, 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Jer 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake thee shall be put to shame; those who turn away from thee shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.)

eventually anyone, who receives such water can become a fountain himself.

John 4:13 “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

["Eternal life" is the translation of the Greek term "zoe aionios", "aion" (eon) meaning "age", and thus, the term more correctly refers to "life in the Age", that is, the Kingdom (Olam Haba = the age to come), which was the very centre of Jesus' ministry.

Hope you find this helpful.

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