Well, Well, Well

Well, Well, Well

Well, Well, Well

[Jesus] 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.” 

John 4:1-18

I don’t know about you, but most of what I’ve ever heard about the woman at the well involves her sleazy past. Five husbands! And living with a guy now.

It’s often read with inflection that conjures up raised eyebrows, slight head shaking, tsk, tsk, tsk. Who would dispute Jesus’ unearthing her checkered past? If you read beyond verse 18, you’ll notice she changed the subject to the topic of worship, and sort of takes a jab at Jesus.

When I studied performance and sang for years back in Canada, one thing I learned: always read a script or a lyric in loads of different ways. Put emphasis on different words, like 

I have no husband.

I have no husband.

I have no husband.

This is the woman’s response when Jesus brings up her current living arrangement.

Also, consider the context. Does the context allow sadness? Anger? Pride, shame, etc.? Thinking through historical, literary and theological contexts, what makes the most sense? This is one among loads of moments from the Bible, where we wish we could see her face. Hear her tone. But we can’t. So we do our best, and sometimes make assumptions.

Think about this:

This woman at the well has a past, but maybe everything is not as it seems. 

Remember, women weren’t the ones who had power in first century. They were property. They were subject to divorce for any little thing. And when they were divorced, they were destitute. A man could make or break a woman’s reputation.

Perhaps her husbands died. (But five? Probably not.)

Perhaps her sin wasn’t a “love-them-and-leave-them” attitude. Perhaps it was more she had undesirable traits (anger, resentment, who knows?), creating issues in her marriages that caused men to send her away.

The point:

Be very careful to not make assumptions about people based on only raw facts. Be very careful to not make assumptions about the voice of Jesus speaking into these things.

In Christ,


I’m real because God is so real.



Your Calling For Today

Is there someone in your life you’ve made assumptions about? Even if you are correct, is it possible that you could be making assumptions about the way God is speaking into the situation?


Nancy HicksRelationships