Finding My Identity At The Well

Written by Kelly Frost

Have you ever felt lost and in search of something?  When I became a stay-at-home mom, I felt like I lost my identity.  I was no longer Kelly, the passionate educator; I was Kelly the laundry doer, food prepper, unimportant mess cleaner.  I felt so alone.  I felt like if I disappeared no one would even notice.  I was embarrassed and ashamed of the lack of contributions I was making to the world.  The problem was where I was searching for my identity.  It was in my accomplishments rather than seeing my true identity as a daughter of God.

 This past year, I completed a life changing Bible study entitled Jesus and Women: In the First Century and Now by Kristi Mclelland.  This study focuses on looking at the Bible through a Middle Eastern lens rather than a Western lens.  The Middle East was and still is an honor/shame society.  Woman during Jesus’ time were denigrated to a place of shame. 


John 4:4-26 NIV The Woman at the Well

 Now he had to go through Samaria.  So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])

 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

 “I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

The woman came to the well in the middle of the day by herself.  This was a detail I would breeze right by in the past.  However, when you look at this point through a Middle Eastern lens, you know that women usually would have done this chore in the morning hours before the midday heat and that women traveled in groups.  Why was this woman a loner? One can assume it was because of her lifestyle.  She had many husbands and was living with a man that was not even her husband.  Jesus came to this woman at the well while she was by herself in the heat of the blazing sun.  Jesus met her there just as she was, a sinner, and he shared the good news of how He could provide eternal life. 

Jesus confirms to the Samaritan woman that He indeed is the Messiah! This is the first time in the Gospel of John that He reveals this and it is to a Samaritan woman.  That leaves me in awe shows me how Jesus places honor on this woman and her life. 

Jesus places honor on our lives too.  He died to help restore our relationship with the Father.  As a woman, this gospel story teaches me that God wants to meet me at the wells in my life when I find myself feeling ashamed and alone.  This leads me to understand that my identity is as a child of God.