Hard Conversations

A Lesson from Jesus and the Woman at the Well

Photo by Christina Morillo

The story in John 4 of the woman at the well has been on my mind this week. I am intrigued by how Jesus enters a conversation with someone who is considered an enemy. We can learn something from his approach to conversations with people on opposite sides or differences of opinion. Several characteristics were revealed to me in his interaction with the woman at the well. Take time to read the whole passage, I have highlighted some verses below.

v7. "Will you give me a drink"- Jesus starts by acknowledging that this woman has something to offer him. HE IS HUMBLE.

v. 9. "..How can you ask me for a drink?" This act of humility throws her off and she rejects this invitation to draw him water. 

v10. “If you knew the gift of God ....he would have given you living water.”-He offers her something of value despite her reaction. HE IS LOVING.

v11. "Sir, you have nothing to draw the well with...Are you greater than our father Jacob,"-She doesn't understand his generous offer and responds with doubt.

v13. "Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again....Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus takes time to explain and doesn't make her feel bad for not understanding. HE IS GRACEFUL.

v15. "Sir, give me this water..." The woman is now ready to receive.

v16. "Go call your husband". This is where Jesus gives her a chance to be honest before calling her out. HE IS GENTLE

v17. "I have no husband". She responds in denial. 

v18. "The fact is, you have had five husbands". HE IS TRUTHFUL but notice that he was loving, graceful and gentle FIRST. 

v 19. “I can see that you are a prophet". - Truth is beginning to set her free, but she still can't see fully. 

v 21-24 "..believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem"..Jesus explains to her again. HE IS PATIENT.

v 25. “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” The woman responds with her knowledge but still is partially blind to the truth. 

v 26. "Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” Jesus reveals himself to her and he does not debate it. It is up to her now to fully receive this truth. HE HAS CONVICTION.

I love that Jesus leads with HUMILITY, LOVE, GRACE, GENTLENESS, TRUTH and PATIENCE. While he does NOT force her to believe, he does not waver and declares with CONVICTION that He is the Messiah. 

Have your conversations been characterized by these attributes? 

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