Ancient reconciliation: Jesus and the woman at the well

Meredith Flynn —  March 26, 2015

Tony_EvansNashville, Tenn. | “Jesus reversed over 800 years of racial discord in 24 hours,” Tony Evans preached this afternoon at the ERLC’s Summit on the gospel and racial reconciliation.

Walking his listeners through John’s account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, made application to modern times:

Jesus met the woman on common ground, at Jacob’s well (John 4:6). “Jews didn’t like Samaritans, Samaritans didn’t like Jews, but since they both loved Jacob, that’s where he stopped,” Evans said. The Old Testament patriarch was viewed as the father of both Orthodox Jews, and the pariah Samaritans.

He didn’t hide who He was. The woman at the well knew Jesus was Jewish (John 4:9), even though he didn’t say it. But though he looked and talked like a Jewish man, Evans noted, he didn’t act like one to the woman, who other Jews would have viewed as an outcast. Nor did he try to be something he wasn’t.

God is not asking you to stop being different than you are to reach somebody different than you are, Evans said. He doesn’t want white people to be black or vice versa. “He’s asking both to be biblical.”

Jesus earned the right to deepen the conversation. “Because he was willing to drink out of her cup” at the well, Evans said, “he has now earned the right to take a normal discussion about water and turn it into a discussion about eternal life” (John 4:13-14).

Jesus was about his father’s business. Father God plays an integral role in the story of the woman at the well. The conversation changed when the Samaritan woman brought Him up, trying to change the subject when Jesus reveals he knows her current situation (John 4:19-20).

Jesus uses the opportunity to show her what she’s always known to be true about her history, her background, and her identity isn’t, in fact, true. Jesus’ words apply to the racial absolutes we live by too, Evans inferred.

“Black is only beautiful when it’s biblical, and white is only right when it conforms with holy writ,” he said.

Many more Samaritans believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony, John writes. How can the reversal detailed in the story happen in just 24 hours, Evans asked. Because Jesus was about his father’s business.

Watch the Summit online at

Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.