Reflection John 4:5-42 – Jesus and the woman at the well – Lectio Divina

1. Introductory prayer

Jesus, You obviously want to meet me, really. However, I … I can run well, especially running away. Open my heart, Holy Spirit, that I can recognize, hear, feel Jesus even in the small moments, as you come as whispering, silence, gently.

Reading – Listening: The Gospel according to John 4,5−42

Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
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.
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.
17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:
18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?
28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,
29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?
30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.
40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his own word;
42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

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3. Thoughts on the Gospel – John 4, 5-42

  • Today speaks the word of God about the water. In our countries, we have a lot of water and we do not have a sense of the value of water. In Palestine, Africa, India. There the water is something very precious. Water is life. If there is no water, death comes. When the Bible speaks about water, it speaks about life.

In addition, the Gospel talks about water, when describing the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman. How much richness is in this passage! This wife is one of the most despised and humiliated. She belongs to the people of the Samaritans. Jews hated them.

  • Even among her people she is despised, because she does not live in accordance with the regulations, she is sinner. This fragile, hurt, unloved wife, Jesus says: »Give me to drink..” He who is the source of life, after which everything is created, asks this woman for water. He would like to quench the thirst, but awaken the thirst of woman for another kind of water. »If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” If she knew about the gift of God. About what kind of gift Jesus speaks. About love. The living water, which He promises to the Samaritan woman, is the gift of love, the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Here Paul writes in today’s reading: »And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us..” And he continues: ” For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly…. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

This is the true living water: Christ, who out of love, died for us. For this water came this wife to the spring.

  • All her life she was looking for it, all her sinfulness and hurt show a thirst for this water. This woman is the image of humanity. In its divisions, wars, suffering and tears, it is visible thirst for the living water. Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. This love we have not earned. We did not first show an improvement, and then God turned to us with his love.
  • No, we were sinners, when he died for us. This is the greatest proof of his love. However, this remains fragile in front of the human freedom of choice. One will accept it and the other will continue to grumble, as the Israelites in the wilderness. Whomever it will adopt and drink of this water will become in him a fountain and others will quench the thirst form it.

4. Meditation – thinking

About everything I have read and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:

  • I run away, hide from Jesus. He is there in front of me. Jesus, where do you want to meet me today
  • Jesus loves already with all my sins. I look myself with his eyes. If all the masks fall off, all the roles, who am I for Jesus?
  • If I stop fighting and immerse in all the emotions, I can see the big picture. God shows me a new, fresh color, new perspectives. Every day for a few moments, I let myself to Jesus, who invites me to stop and let him “wash me” with living water.

5. Personal Prayer

In the next moments of silence, I talk about of this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God)

6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God

Now I let silence to be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me.

Perhaps from this silence I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship, or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…

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7. Action

When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action)

8. Prayer at the end

Jesus, you come to me with tenderness, because you know that I am a sensitive fabric, because I carry wounds, sins. I would like to IMPROVE, before I see You. But You love me, already, like I am now. Thank You, that you are with me when I try to look with your eyes, on myself. Thank you to help me maintain a fresh flow of living water.

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9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection

This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:

  • How was I feeling when I started praying?
  • What happened during the prayer?
  • What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
  • How did I feel at the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
  • What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others and me to him and others?
  • How did I finish my prayer?
  • What did I receive for my everyday life?
  • In the end, I can write the lessons, findings and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
  • Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. By prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.

Lectio divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home  –

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!