Jesus Loved Women (and Loves You Too!) Pt. 3

Roma Maitlall

Contributing Writer
Published: Feb 05, 2022
Jesus Loved Women (and Loves You Too!) Pt. 3 Plus

But, in addition to that, He allows her to share the revelation with her fellow Samaritans, giving the woman—someone of low status—a position of honor.

In my previous articles in this series, I explored the stories of the adulteress and the bleeding woman. Powerful and poignant, their stories richly illustrate just how highly Jesus regards women and how deeply He cares for the issues that affect us. 

In this article, I vividly imagine the story of the Samaritan woman, as told in John 4:1-42, and share how Jesus’ very touching encounter with her exemplifies His enduring love for all people, irrespective of race, gender, or social class. I am sure you will be enlightened as you discover the historical and theological contexts of this powerful story. 

The Samaritan Woman Meets Jesus

It is an ordinary afternoon. The sun is bright and hot—and most of the people in Samaria are resting, as per custom.

While everyone sleeps, a Samaritan woman cautiously visits Jacob’s well (named for the biblical forefather) with a jar on her hip, careful that no one sees her. But, as she approaches the well, wiping the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand, she is met by a weary traveler, a Jew, who kindly asks her for a drink of water. 

The woman is stunned. 

“You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman,” she says incredulously. “How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9). 

The woman is right. How can He? 

First of all, Jews rarely associate with Samaritans, whom they believe to be descendants of Jews who married Assyrians during the Babylonian captivity. In their eyes, Samaritans are inferior— “half-breeds” with whom they should never interact. Second, according to Jewish custom, men are not supposed to talk to women privately—unless they are their wives. 

The man’s response is startling. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink,” He says, “you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

When the woman says she wants this “living water”—a water that quenches all thirst and gives “eternal life”—the man tells her to bring her husband and then come back. 

The woman lowers her head sheepishly. “I have no husband,” she says. 

To her surprise, the man replies that He knows. “You have had five husbands,” He states matter-of-factly, “and the man you now have is not your husband.”

The woman clutches her mouth in shock, wondering how He could possibly know the details of her personal life. “You are a prophet,” she exclaims. “I know that Messiah…is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

The man smiles, then makes an explosive revelation—one that changes the woman’s life forever. 

Just then, the man’s disciples approach him, eyebrows raised in shock. “Why are you talking with her?” they ask disbelievingly. 

Meanwhile, the woman, having left her jar behind, breathlessly races back to town, eager to tell her friends and family what the strange man at the well just revealed to her. 

That He’s the Messiah, the Christ, the Savior of the world. 

A Story of Unconditional Acceptance

The story of the Samaritan woman at the well reveals a lot about the character of Jesus, as well as His treatment of women. 

First, it demonstrates Jesus’ respect for everyone, regardless of gender, race, social class, and/or reputation. Although He knows of the woman’s “low” status—of her history of promiscuity and her Samaritan background—Jesus talks to her directly, addressing her as an equal conversational partner. 

Second, the story shows just how willing Jesus is to free us of our shame and to meet us where we are in life. According to John, the Samaritan woman regularly comes to fetch water at the “sixth hour” (modern-day noon). This is strange because women likely went to the well in the morning to avoid the heat of day. From what we can infer, the woman visits the well at this time (when everyone else is resting) in order to avoid the shame of interacting with her peers who might judge her for her past and for living with a boyfriend. By speaking with her, therefore, Jesus shows the woman that He is not daunted by her relationship history and that she need not feel ashamed, embarrassed, or judged in His presence. 

Third, by revealing His messianic secret to the Samaritan woman, Jesus reinforces the inherent dignity and trustworthiness of women. He honors the Samaritan woman by sharing with her privileged information—that He is Christ, the Messiah. But, in addition to that, He allows her to share the revelation with her fellow Samaritans, giving the woman—someone of low status—a position of honor. 

In a world where women’s testimonies were not trusted or seen as reliable, this is huge. The woman essentially becomes one of the first evangelists, sharing the good news of the long-expected Savior’s arrival in Israel. As Scripture tells us, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39). 

Jesus ultimately proves that He cares for people more than He cares for cultural, political, and religious divides. Above all, He demonstrates that He is concerned for the woman’s soul and wants only for her to have a sip of the “living water”—that is, a place in eternity. 

The God of Love 

As we see in the stories I’ve recounted, Jesus loves and accepts all. Everyone is welcome in His Father’s kingdom with open arms, no matter gender, social status, ethnicity, or past. As women, let us always take comfort and courage in the fact that Jesus willingly broke societal and cultural barriers on our behalf—uplifting, redeeming, and celebrating us in the process. I am sure you will be moved by this wonderful quote from twentieth-century English writer and poet Dorothy L. Sayers, who eloquently summed up Jesus’ treatment of women:

"Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man—there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as ‘The women, God help us!’ or ‘The ladies, God bless them!’; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious."

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/greenaperture

Roma Maitlall fancies herself a bit of a logophile (from the Greek, meaning “lover of words”). Her lifelong passion for writing—combined with her love of Jesus—inspired her to study English and theology at St. John’s—a university located in Queens, New York, her hometown, where she always dreamed of becoming a writer. Now a full-time writer, Roma enjoys spending time with her wonderful sisters and family, learning everything there is to know about history, literature, art, and Christianity, and using her words to give glory to Jesus.