“The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”” (John 4:15–16, ESV)
The Samaritan woman’s response to Jesus’ claim that he could give her living water is not unexpected. “Give me some of that water and I’ll never have to trudge out to this stupid well in the heat of the day ever again!” Of course Jesus is not talking about physical water, but he is happy to give her what she asks anyway. However, there is a barrier that must be overcome first.
Go, call your husband, and come here. It’s a seemingly simple request, indeed, a kind one. Not only will Jesus give her living water, but her husband also. It’s an arrow to the heart. The woman: I have no husband. Jesus: You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.”
Jesus is not brutal with the woman, just frankly honest. But oh, what honesty! Imagine the arrow that has just buried itself deep into the center of this blessed [as we shall see] woman’s heart. A total stranger has just pointed out that, not only has she been divorced multiple times [in a culture that looked on divorce with great shame], but he also points out that she is living with a man to whom she is not married. One can see how shocked she is, by how quickly she changes the subject. I think it’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t say, “Wait, just a minute, young lady, I’m not going to allow you to skirt this issue.” As Marvin Vincent points out: He is content with letting her see that He is aware of it, knowing that through Him, as the Discerner, she will by and by reach Him as the Forgiver.
What is it that ultimately draws this woman to faith? Look at her own testimony: “So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”” (John 4:28–29, ESV). She is drawn because Jesus knew her point of sin and went directly to it and challenged her, frankly and openly, but gently and without malice.
This is also why she is so blessed. Could she imagine as she picked up her water jar that day and headed out to the well, that her life would be changed when a stranger confronted her with the fact that she’d had five husbands and was shacking up with a sixth man? Hardly. Yet her shame led to blessing; her greatest blessing. How do I know this? Because here we are two thousand years later, speaking of the unknown woman and saying, “Look how Christ changed her.”
We will get to meet this woman in heaven. We will get to hear her testimony. We will get to praise God with her.