Jesus conversation with the Samaritan woman isn’t the first time a man goes to a foreign land, sits down by a well of water, meets a girl and asks for a drink. In fact it happens quite a few times in the Old Testament with the same surprising result.
Genesis 24, Genesis 29 and Exodus 2:15-22 also recount the story of a man meeting a woman at a well. And in each it leads to the two getting hitched. In Genesis 24 Abraham’s servant finds a bride for Isaac, in Genesis 29 Jacob finds his future wife Rachel and Moses, in Exodus 2, meets his future wife Zaphora.
John 4 parallels these stories on several points. Here’s how Lyle Eslinger breaks it down in his article “The Wooing of the Woman by the Well.”
- The future bridegroom (or surrogate) journeys to a foreign land (vv. 1-6)
- There he meets a girl at a well (vv. 6-7)
- Someone, the man or maiden, draws water from the well (vv. 7-15)
- The maiden rushes home to bring news of the stranger (vv. 28-30, 39-42)
- a betrothal is arranged, usually after the prospective groom has been invited to a betrothal meal (vv. 31-38).
- Vv. 1, 3, 6 (Exodus 2,14-15): like Moses, Jesus believes that the Pharasees (cf. Pharaoh) have heard about his actions and he leaves his country to avoid them. On his journey in a foreign land he sits down by a well and there meets a girl.
- V. 6b (Gen 29.7) Both Jacob and Jesus come to the well at noon.
- Vv. 7, 9 (Gen 24.17-18). Like Eliezer, Jesus says give me a drink. Unlike Rebekah, the Samaritan woman does not immediately comply.
This is part two in a five part series on the sexual subtext in Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman. You can read part one here – The Sexual Subtext in Jesus Encounter with the Samaritan Woman