John 4:16-18 (5 Husbands)

Samaritan Woman Edit

Originally posted 3/20/14

“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.
“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.
Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband – for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” (John 4:16-18)

Read: Deuteronomy 29:2 – 31:29

Relate: What an abrupt change of topic. Jesus had her. He spoke about living water and at first she didn’t understand, but then she said, “Yes. I want this.” Jesus obviously didn’t take any evangelism explosion classes. He clearly needed to go back to a basic witnessing 101 class. He already made the sale, now He should be having her bow her head so He could lead her in a sinner’s prayer. Instead He makes a counter-intuitive jump to what we would think should have been an untouchable topic.

Did you ever wonder why Jesus made this abrupt change? He came to earth and lived a perfect life to live as a model and an example for us. So what is the example here? What is the lesson we can learn from this? Sometimes we can get so lost in the uniqueness, the divinity of Christ, that we forget that He was also human just as we are. Yes, there were times where Jesus had special knowledge. When the paralyzed man was carried through the roof scripture says Jesus knew what was in the minds of those listening. Was Jesus given a gift of knowledge concerning this woman here at the well? Or perhaps it was something simpler than that. Was there something to the way she was dressing or carrying herself? Did the tone of her voice or the look in her eyes carry a flirtatious hint? Perhaps there was something to the very fact she approached the well when He was there or maybe how she was looking around to see if anybody else was watching.

React: Whatever the reason, what is clear was that Jesus’ focus was all on her. It wasn’t simply a bucket list accomplishment: First female Samaritan disciple… check. He wasn’t just reading off a playbook for how to win a heathen for God: “First water, now husbands, then prophets, mountains, worship, Spirit, and close with a personal revelation. Guaranteed to work at least eighty percent of the time.” No, Jesus’ sole concern was the Samaritan woman’s relationship with God. Wherever the knowledge came from, however He knew, Jesus knew that the Samaritan woman had issues of failure, of sin, that needed to be dealt with. She didn’t just need to repeat some prayer, she needed healing.


God, help me to remember that we need to be about more than just making converts. There are hurting broken people who desperately need a healing that only You can provide. Sometimes, being Your ambassadors of that healing might mean we need to broach topics that we might rather avoid. Things might have to get a little uncomfortable. Help us, in sharing You, to be sensitive to the true needs and deeper longings of those we are sharing with. Help us to be sensitive to the leading of Your Spirit. You are the healer. Help us to walk in step with You as You are about that task.

16 thoughts on “John 4:16-18 (5 Husbands)

  1. I really appreciate how you point out that we tend to think things must be done a certain way (Witnessing 101). Instead of following Jesus’ example and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we tend to rely on man-made methods. Thank you!

  2. Man-made witnessing is for someone who is a robot. One way of witnessing does not fit all. Jesus, in this portion of scripture, shows that our witnessing should be flexible. We, as lights of the world, have been equipped to meet the needs of lost souls. If we are not equipped to do this, then we need to better prepare ourselves. Jesus dealt with the woman right where she was. We need to meet souls right where they are. This includes ministering to one another at our church. I’ve always said to those who sought to encourage me that I wanted them to meet me where I was, not where they thought I should be. I am a soul first of all. Treat me as such.

    These individuals are souls that are walking in darkness. They need the light of gospel of Jesus Christ. They need to know that Jesus cares about them right where they are. We cannot use a template on every person. We need to deal with the individual right where they are. Jesus gives a fine example of this in this chapter.

  3. Pingback: Five Husbands | The Crusty Old Sailor Speaks

  4. Absoluely love this passage. What’s incredible is the way in which Jesus woes his lost love, this Samaritan woman. The Bridegroom that He is, Jesus is calling his unfaithful Bride, all of Samaria, back into a faithful union with Him. What always blows my mind with this passage is the symbolism behind it. The fact that the woman had five husbands could be seen to symbolize the five nations that the King of Assyria brought in to mix with the Northern Kingdom, hence Samaria’s unfaithfulness to the one God. Jesus is always teaching us, never failing to call us all to Him and the Father’s love!

  5. Many girls are feeling like loved and trown by men coz of some fake reasons. Jesus knows this failures as He comforted and healed the Samaritan woman near the well, Jesus will console, heal, comfort,rebuild, fetch water from well so that the broken heart is neaver broken again when it is safe in Hands of Jesus Christ.

  6. What about the way she was dressed, carrying herself, speaking, looking at Jesus, or approaching wells could have conveyed the fact that she had been married five times and was currently living with someone, but not married to that person? Do you suppose she had five and a half tallymarks on her forehead?

    • You are right, that clearly was a divine insight. I was speaking more along the lines of why Jesus abruptly changed the direction of the conversation. What he did there was unorthodox, it cannot be easily formulated into a universal evangelism model. But at the same time, the fact that an unattached woman would approach him, a lone stranger, is something that does not happen in conservative cultures. I am raising the question whether her speech mannerisms and actions could have shown Jesus that this was something that needed to be addressed.

  7. Pingback: From The Vine | Week 2 ~ Meet Me At The Well | Emerge Beautiful

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