Consider this: when the woman at the well ran to tell her fellow townspeople, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29) she was excited about far more than the fact that Jesus inexplicably knew intimate details of her life.
Let’s start at beginning of this woman’s story. In John 4, she came to draw water at Jacob’s well, in the village of Sychar. It’s interesting to note that she arrived at the sixth hour, meaning noon time, in the Hebrew system of timekeeping. Most women came to draw water in the late afternoon or evening, in preparation for the next day.
Yet this woman came alone, as if she were avoiding the other village women. As she visited with Jesus, it became apparent that these women probably shunned her because of her immoral lifestyle.
But Jesus didn’t jump right in with the mind-reading. Instead, he simply asked for a drink of water.
She was astonished. It had probably been a long time since anyone had spoken to her in that setting, never mind a Jewish man.
“Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (v. 9).
In the next few verses, Jesus responded that as he was the source of eternally thirst-quenching water, she should have asked him for a drink instead.
Of course, the woman jumped at the opportunity – as Jesus knew she would – and asked him for a drink of that water.
Then, Jesus requested that she invite her husband to join her at the well, whereupon the woman carefully answered, “I have no husband” (v. 16).
Jesus responded with equal care, though with different intent. “Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly” (v. 17b-18).
The woman’s astonishment grew. She recognized that Jesus must be some sort of prophet, at the very least; at most, he could be the Messiah.
Jesus replied, “I that speak unto thee am he” (v. 26).
Her reaction was priceless. Forgetting her original errand, she left her waterpot at the well, hurried back to the village center, and told the men – perhaps the men in her life of whom Jesus spoke – and urged them to come see “the Christ” (v. 29).
Initially, the woman at the well was amazed simply that a Jewish stranger would speak to her.
Then, he spoke to her kindly.
He offered her the gift of himself, as a drink of eternally live-giving water.
She was amazed.
He revealed that he knew of the sins for which many condemned her, and yet he continued to talk with her.
She was astonished.
And when he had revealed that he knew her heart, he revealed his own, as the Messiah.
She was overwhelmed.
She literally dropped everything – not just her waterpot, but all her fears and inhibitions – in her urgency to share her discovery with others.
Jesus’ love for her despite his knowledge of her – that is what is reflected in this verse:
“Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” – John 4:29