Call Thy Husband
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, I have no husband, 18 For you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our Fathers worshipped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
Ok, I want to set the record straight before continuing. Just because she had been married five times does not necessarily make her a bad person. That she was presently living in open sin, is a certainty, but divorce because she had given her husband no children was very common in these days, along with a husband dyeing the result of some illness or an accident was also quite common, so this in no way implies she was a terrible person. But, as I said, that fact that she lived openly with another man without being married for the time was unusual and certainly a sign that she was living in open sin. Now, having said this let’s continue.
Jesus, having now fully awakened her desire for “living water” Jesus suddenly changes the topic of conversation. He desires to awaken within the woman a conviction of her desperate need for this water. This he does by focusing attention on the secretes of her life. Why would Jesus do this? She was not yet ready to receive the “living water” for which she so casually asked in verse 15. First and foremost, there is the problem of the stagnant water of sin that must be removed. The old life of sin must die before the new life of righteousness can begin; for the two cannot exist side by side.
James 3:11, 12 states this so wonderfully, “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Most people when coming to God, do not want to fully reveal what is in their heart. We see this in the way, she deflects Jesus from insight into her life. When Jesus asks her to bring her husband, she acknowledges only a little by saying I have no husband. But Jesus reveals that God knows the inner things of our heart. He sees all that we keep from others and so Jesus responds to her by saying that you are correct, but adds the other information that she wished to keep from others. She keeps it to herself for fear others will judge her harshly. But notice, Jesus just points out the facts and does not judge her at all. He uses this knowledge to further convince her that He is a prophet and she has a need for a Messiah. But she is still unwilling to go quite that far, so she changes the subject from herself to religion.
She like all of us, when convicted of our error or sin, seek a way of escape. She doesn’t want to deal with the problem head on.
When studying with others, I have noticed this as well. The study is going great and you can see they are really listening and learning. All of a sudden, a question will come out of left field, and you say to yourself, “where did that come from.” It is an attempt by them to deflect what they are learning because it is starting to hit too close to home, they are being convicted of their need for a change and changing is always difficult.
What is needed, however, is not a clarification of the points brought up for argument. Jesus wasted no time discussing either His status as a “Prophet” or the matter of where to worship. Instead He simply directed the woman’s attention to the spirit of true worship and to Himself as the Messiah. This method as used by Christ will bring men and women to a decision, not tomorrow, or the next but rather today.
There comes a time in every person’s life in which they will be faced with making the decision to accept Christ as the Messiah or reject Him. What response do you have, and what was the response of our woman at the well?
This we will see in our next post.