Bad Girls of the Bible: The Woman at the Well

Bad Girls of the Bible | Liz Curtis Higgs

She wasn’t looking for a man. Not this girl. Hadn’t she already made five trips down the aisle? And didn’t she have a new man in her life and in her bed?

On that hot afternoon in Samaria, all she wanted was a drink, drawn by her own hand.

But God had another plan.

"Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst"

Chapter 4: Dying for a Drink
John 4:1-42

That was what Jesus wanted too: a lukewarm gulp of water from Jacob’s well. A moment of relief during the heat of the day.

He was tired from his journey, and so he “sat down by the well” (John 4:6). He sat. The Son of God, the Savior of the world, was limited by his humanness, just as we are. Comforting, in a way.

This is a Savior who says, “I’ve been there. I get it. I’m with you.” He understands exhaustion, stress, muscle aches. He knows what it means to feel weary, thirsty, hungry.

The wells in that era were low to the ground, encircled with just enough packed earth to keep livestock from stumbling in. A good place to rest. A fine place to wait.

A well in Israel

Then our Bad Girl appeared, right on time. If she’d hoped to collect her water and get out of Dodge, that wasn’t happening.

A man was there. A stranger.

When he asked her for a drink, she knew what that meant. In their world, giving and receiving water was an open invitation. Let’s converse. Let’s become friends.

She pushed back, reminding him of their differences. “How can a Jewish man like you ask a Samaritan woman like me for a drink of water?” (John 4:9 GW).

He can because he is God. He isn’t concerned with issues of race or gender. From his point of view, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

All one. Utter equality. We aren’t there yet. But Jesus is.

Right from the start he began to woo our woman at the well. “If you only knew the free gift of God” (John 4:10 EXB), he said. Did that make her nervous? She’d no doubt had men offer her presents. The kind with long strings attached.

The gift Jesus brings isn’t like that. Salvation is free for the taking. Free. Paid for in full by every nail that pierced his body

“If you knew the gift of God…”

Do you know about this gift, beloved? Have you claimed it for your own?

Living water

She’d come for well water, yet this stranger promised her “living water” (John 4:10). Naturally she was skeptical. Who wouldn’t be? “You have nothing to draw with” (John 4:11), she reminded him. “You don’t even have a bucket” (CEV).

Despite her doubts, Jesus didn’t give up on the Samaritan woman. Didn’t walk away or call her foolish. Didn’t stop seeking to meet her deepest need.

He surely gestured toward the well when he told her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again” (John 4:13). Nothing on this earth truly satisfies. Not even good things—not fresh water or warm sunshine or healthy food or the love of a godly person—can quench our spiritual longing.

If we settle for the kind of water this world offers, we will soon be parched. Guaranteed.

Now comes our key verse, the one we’ll unpack this week.

Flowing fountain

“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

She was willing to settle for less. Jesus wanted to give her more. While she was happy with temporal satisfaction—a drink of tepid water from a well in the desert, a man in Sychar who could dump her tomorrow—Jesus longed for her to experience eternal joy.

The truth? We must let go of one to embrace the other. If we are constantly seeking to satisfy our bodies, our spiritual selves will languish. “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

My head knows this, even my heart knows this. The time has come to hold out both hands and receive all that Jesus has to offer.

All who are thirsty, drink

“But whoever drinks the water I give him…” John 4:14

Being near the water doesn’t count. Going to church, carrying a Bible around, listening to Christian music are all well and good, but they’re not the same as drinking the water.

“Those who drink” (NLT) are the ones who admit they’re thirsty, and know only God has the water they need. The people who open their mouths and partake. They don’t just read the Word; they do what it says (feeling deep conviction as I type this).

The person whose thirst is quenched is not the one who merely studies the pitcher of water. Rather, it’s “whosoever drinketh” (KJV).

“…will never thirst.” John 4:14

Imagine a life without wanting and wishing and striving and stressing. Feeling refreshed instead of depleted. Feeling full rather than empty. The kind of life where you “shall never, no never, be thirsty any more” (AMP).

Too good to be true? Not with God. He stands ready to quench your thirst. The prophet Isaiah promised, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3).

Filled to overflowing

“Indeed, the water I give him…” John 4:14

Another reminder that this water doesn’t come from a hole in the ground or a tap on the sink. This is “my gift” (PHILLIPS), the Lord declares. No person or thing can supply the water of life. Only God.

Why do we keep looking elsewhere?

“…will become in him a spring of water…” John 4:14

Bottled water comes in two varieties: still and sparkling. The kind God serves is definitely sparkling. It’s a “fountain” (DRA) of “life-giving water” (GNT), “flowing” (AMP) and “gushing” (EXB), a “fresh, bubbling spring” (NLT).

There is nothing still about life in the Spirit.

Though she is often called “the Samaritan woman,” I think “the woman at the well” suits her perfectly. Not only did Jesus meet her at a well; he also offered her “a well of water” (YLT).

And it’s an inside job: “a wellspring within you” (VOICE). Jesus didn’t come to wash her clean on the outside; he came to wash her clean on the inside.

Washed clean

“…welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

The end result isn’t an end at all. It’s the beginning of an “endless life” (MSG), drawing power and strength from “a well of life that lasts forever” (NLV).

Though I’ve been quiet about this online, the fact is, I lost someone very dear to me this month. My only consolation in the midst of my sorrow is knowing my beloved brother Tom has merely continued life in another place. Though his body has been reduced to ashes, his spirit is alive and well. Very well.

Leaving her water jar...

It’s easy to see why our Former Bad Girl left her water jar behind when she “went back to the town” (John 4:28). Her thirst was quenched. Her future was secure. All she could think about was sharing this living water with others.

“Come, all you who are thirsty” (Isaiah 55:1). Yes, yes, yes.

Here’s the Discussion Question

Does the omission of the Samaritan woman’s name make her story more believable or less so? More powerful or less so? She came looking for water but instead found Jesus. Was the meeting at Jacob’s well a coincidence or a God incident? What leads you to this conclusion?

There are so many details included in her story—the lengthy conversation, the five husbands, the discarded water jar—her name is hardly necessary. We smell the dust in her hair and the sweat on her body as she approaches the well. We hear her vibrant personality in the words she speaks and the way she says them. We envision the toll all those marriages must have taken on her body, and feel the longing in her soul as she anticipates the coming Messiah.

She’s real, all right, and her encounter with the Christ is one of the most powerful in Scripture. Without her given name, we are free to step into her story even more fully, and scribble our own names in the margin. Susan. Kathy. Elizabeth.

As for her meeting with Jesus, the word “coincidence” is not in the Bible. Clearly this scene was ordained by God. His Word describes the process like this: “Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass” (Isaiah 37:26). And David wrote, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

So, no surprises here. Jesus knew she would come to the well, even as he knew she would hurry back to town with her water jar empty and her heart overflowing with the Good News.

Now it’s your turn

My question for you is a bit different than the one I answered: If not at a well, where did Jesus find you? And what was your initial response to his offer of eternal life? Kindly share you story under Post a Comment at the bottom.

Check out the Woman at the Well’s aqua-colored Pinterest board. I think you’ll find it refreshing!

Next week, we’ll start snipping away with Delilah, one of our Bad to the Bone Girls, who has much to teach us about valuing our relationships. Until then, I do hope we’ll connect online or across the page. You are a treasure to me.

Your sister, Liz

Your Sister in Christ, Liz Curtis Higgs

56 Responses to Bad Girls of the Bible: The Woman at the Well

  1. Susan September 25, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    As I thought about the question, Where did Jesus find you? I think He has found me many times throughout my life. My first real memory was as a little girl (probably 5 or 6) in the vestibule at a Catholic Church. They had books there and I am a lover of books – and there was one about Mary. When my Dad read it to me I remember thinking how brave Mary was and that I wanted to trust God the way she did. Then again in High School, when after been through so much loss (the death of my father, two brothers, grandfather and Aunt), I was searching for security. I felt unloved. My church just didn’t help me connect to God. And then two sisters from a Christian Church came into my life and challenged me to read my Bible and to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I studied, and prayed and gave my life to Him. And then He met me again, in the middle of the night as I prayed . .I realized He was there with me – even after I said Amen. And He met me again at a time in my life when I was exhausted, This time on a mountaintop in Tennessee – I felt His presence and a deep sense of peace. I met Him again as our church split (the church my husband pastors) – when I needed understanding, the ability to forgive and to be strong and courageous. I met Him at my job, where part of what I do is work with the poor and homeless – there was one man, Jessie, who was difficult & Jesus rebuked me and reminded me that He died for Jessie, too. And I met Him again when my son committed a crime and I grieved deeply – and He showed me compassion and unconditional love. So, Liz, I guess, He keeps finding me – over and over again. Each time I needed Him – whether it was for love, peace, understanding, strength, courage, correction, He was there. I find Him in different ways – I think because I keep growing, keep looking and He always is there, showing me more about Him. Does that make sense?

    And when He offers me His gifts, and eternal life, all I can do is praise Him. oh, this feeble heart still learns daily of just how great He is. He really is more than we can imagine. more than wonderful !

    I am sorry to hear of the loss of your brother. It hurts when we lose someone we love. There is an emptiness – a void – we can’t fill. I am praying that God bless you with some special memories and that those memories give you joy.


    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      What a brilliant answer, Susan. YES, we absolutely do meet Jesus again and again. (I was thinking of the first encounter, but ALL of them are planned and purposeful, aren’t they?) Thanks for sharing some of your powerful journey with us.

    • Peggy Coffey September 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      Absolutely my truth also. I believe that the fact that we are sharing this way in His Name, substantiates to doctrine of predestination. We have been His since “always”; but our human sojourning has taken the very, very, long way back Home! He meets us all along the journey to keep us focused on Him. I so love our great and sovereign God! This lady at the well is my most favorite girl-friend. I have sat at the well with her a good bit, and of course we share Jesus and sip iced tea! Thank you for the eloquent words Susan … Blessings, Peggy.

    • caroline September 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

      this is how I feel. Jesus just kept coming into my life.
      Even when I felt so unworthy. I am so glad to read what you said

    • Tamara October 3, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your journey.

  2. Christina Anderson September 25, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    This one was excellent Liz. I think not knowing the name of the woman at the well makes the story more powerful. She could be any of US! I, myself, have been married and divorced three times. I’m not looking for Number Four! God has promised to be my “husband” and my “father”. My own beloved dad was killed in a car accident when I was twenty-three. I’m not sixty-five, and a day doesn’t pass that I don’t think of him and miss him. But I know I will see him again. As you will your brother. Praying for you at this time of your loss.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

      God is indeed our father and our husband, and Jesus our brother. Boggles my mind to think of the closeness of our relationship with the Creator of the universe!

      • Suelle Austin September 25, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

        Our Wednesday morning ladies group at Pathfinders Christian Church in Milledgeville, Ga is studying one of the Bad Girls each week. We have enjoyed our studies very much, learned much, and had so much fun. We have laughted and even felt compassion for Mrs. Lot.

        • Jean Roberts October 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

          Our Wednesday morning Bible Study is also doing the study. Several times the ladies have expressed their delight with this material. We live in the small town of Galveston, Indiana.

          • Liz Haley January 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

            Our adult Sunday School class started studying your book before the holidays, and your blog has provided much food for our discussion! We are in Norge, Virginia.

  3. Jennifer September 25, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I agree with Christina, not knowing her name makes it easier to insert our own. I actually met Jesus in church but strayed. One may wonder, did I really have an encounter with the living God…yes but in my infancy acted like the babe I was. Thankfully the Holy Spirit drew me to him ( more than once) and I believe it to be “growing” in his word. I am so thankful he didn’t “leave me by the well”! I am so grateful every day to have a Savior that refreshes me with “living” water.
    Please accept my condolences on the loss of your brother, how heartbreaking it must be even though you know you will see him again. That is our humanness. Blessings to you sweet Liz and thank you for your God inspired bible study.

  4. Lynn Janzen September 25, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    My first real acknowledgement of God was when I was 10 and my brother who was 11 died suddenly and tragically. We had quarrelled the morning he died and my grief was overwhelming wondering if I had somehow been responsible for his death. The day after his funeral I got on my knees in a field beside our family farm and begged God, if He was real, to allow me the chance to physically say goodbye to my brother. And He answered my prayer …. a young girl from an unchurched family who had no knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus. To hear my brother’s voice, audible but not visual, assure me he was in heaven and with Jesus! Profound! While those around me met this news with skepticism I knew in my heart that God was real. It was not until I was 24 and a mother of two young kids that I allowed the saving grace of our Lord enter my life after hearing my neighbour share her testimony and heard the life changes that took place in her life after accepting Jesus. So it was at my kitchen table where I truly met my saviour!

    Liz my deepest condolences to you on the loss of your brother. May you treasure sweet memories of him while on this side of heaven … What a celebration when you will one day be reunited in the Lord’s presence!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      To think how many kitchen tables over the years have been the setting for those sacred meetings! Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your life, Lynn.

  5. Sunni Jeffers September 25, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    I heard about God all my life and wanted to serve him, but then I strayed during my high school and college years. I got pregnant, then married. I wasn’t happy. I was on the verge of divorce. I wanted out – wanted a better life. My sweet mother-in-law wrote to me, pointing me to the story of Ruth and Naomi and Boaz. That day I realized I could not handle my life. I was making a mess of it. That day, I met Jesus on my knees in the kitchen of an old rented house. That was 42 years ago. It’s been an amazing life with my sweet husband and my precious Jesus. Liz, I am so sorry you are grieving the loss of your brother, even knowing it is temporary. It hurts. May the God of all comfort bring joyous memories to your heart and mind, to fill the gap until that glorious reunion day.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Another kitchen story! I love it, Sunni. Bless you for your kind words.

  6. Ina Peters September 25, 2013 at 11:57 am #

    I think the Samaritan woman’s name was omitted so that we can relate to her as it could be anyone of us, yes it was powerful to me as I can see myself in this woman. It was definitely a God moment, Thank you for your insight Liz, you have given me lots to think about.

  7. Lin Wadle September 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    I’m so sorry you will be separated from your brother for a time, Lizzie, but thankful that you will be reunited one day in heaven. My husband, Ray, died in May and what keeps me going is the certainty that I know he is with the Lord Jesus who he so dearly loved and served so well. I accepted Christ as my Savior in the summer of 1957 but I got SERIOUS about my faith almost 50 years later. I lost a lot of precious time but I will never do that again !

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      So sorry for your own loss, Lin. Grieving–really, healing–is a long process.

      Isn’t it wonderful that God is busily redeeming all those “lost” years and using them for your good and his glory?

  8. Bonnie camacho September 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Hey.Liz. Love the Bad Girls .Love to study the Bad Girls and good ones .ok Thsnks

  9. Sandra (Sandy) Wall September 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    I accepted Christ when I was 9 years old. I was at a Christian camp. I knew there was an emptiness in me at that age. I grew up with an alcoholic dad and a work-alcoholic mom. Looking back I was a very lonely girl and the way the Gospel was presented I wanted God who would love me. I would “stray” as people say……stray as in “feeling disconnected with God”. Every year I would re-dedicate my life to the Lord. Looking back on this I used to feel guilty about it, but, as I see it now, I believe I was being drawn more to God in a deeper relationship with Him. God and I have been thru a lot. Even when I go thru my darkest days, I know that God is with me.

    I remember sitting in church one morning, by myself, and just praying and crying to the Lord because of a situation and all of a sudden I felt an arm go around my shoulder and a hand rest there. It startled me because I thought I was alone. In my mind I thought, “Oh great! someone saw me cry!” I opened my eyes to see who it was and no one was there. I knew that was God. I remember saying, “Put your arms around me again”, but the moment was gone. For me that was God’s sign that He is always with me and loves me. When I am deep into myself I remember that feeling and it helps me get thru whatever it is I am going thru. God is always faithful even if I am not..

    Coming home from work this morning I was thinking, “Sandy, you need to bring your Bible so that you can read it while my client is eating (I take care of a CP client ). Then, your study today “drinking from the water of life”. So, I will bring my Bible this afternoon when I pick up my client and drink from the Water of Life.

    Please pray for my grandson. He was in the ER a couple of days ago. He has broken out with red spots at the joints. He went there because he could not walk. The rash is now forming on the inside (his stomach). They are taking blood samples now because there is some kind of bacteria in his blood. My grandson is 5 yrs old.

    Liz, I am sorry that you lost your brother. It was hard for me to loose my brother. I still cry at odd moments for him, my mom and my dad. They all died within 3 years of each other, plus my granddaughter, and 2 uncles. If I did not have Christ in my life I would not have made it. They are all whole now and with each other.

    Much love to you Liz

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      You’ve traveled a hard road indeed, dear sister. What a comfort to know, absolutely, that God is with you always. Praying for your grandson RIGHT NOW.

  10. Dawn E. Brown September 25, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Thank-you for this, I needed to read it. I do spend time with my Lord each day,but I still want and need more.I am so this woman .I thirst,and every time I press hard into Him, He supplies all my need, not some,but all. Praise His Precious name and blessings Dear Liz for sharing.

  11. Dawn E. Brown September 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Liz, I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear brother Tom.Parting is still hard, even when we Know Him.

  12. Sue September 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    So sorry for your loss. What a joy that he knew the Lord and you can know where he is, that eternal hope that can bring some comfort in our loss.
    Sister in Christ,

  13. Meghan September 25, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    What a great question Liz. The Lord met me several times over the span of my young life. It’s a bit overwhelming– his grace. How I have done nothing to deserve it. God met me when I was in preschool coloring a t-shirt with Jesus on it, and I thought he really loved me. It wasn’t until now that I realized he met me after I was wrongly accused and punished for something I did not do when I was little (which started my legalistic tendencies) because I first became aware of the law and my inability to fulfill it. He met me when I first went to my brother’s church and saw the Body in action. He met me when I was struggling with severe anxiety and depression when I was in college through two Christian friends who showed me Christ. He met me at an intensive workshop where He looked at my wounds with me and touched my spirit with Grace. He is meeting me now, here with you all, as I realize I am parched. It is so easy for me to settle into complacency and codependency living with my parents this last year or so and I need to get out. All Praise be to the Life-giving Jug Holder, my Savior Jesus.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

      Our life-giving jug holder! Wonderful phrase, Meghan. It’s so important to mark all those specific times that we were aware of meeting the Christ. He is with us always, yet there are definitely moments when we sense his presence and experience his love in a fresh, new way.

  14. Susan September 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Don’t you just love how Jesus can love and care for each of us in such an individual way?

  15. cathy gross September 25, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    So thankful your brother will be there to welcome you Home one day. Sad for your loss just now.
    I learned young on that topic. Though I loved this God I heard about in church, i knew He could never love anyone as dirty as me. So I looked for any crumb of love where I could find it. Then an older male friend modeled Jesus for me and I slowly began to see what God is like and how He loved me. I believe I was His long, long ago because I loved him. I was thirty before I began to get it and fifty when it hit home. I am fifty nine now. The depth and passion of His love is stunning to me and humbling too. Though much of my life is gone, I look forward to seeing where He takes me on the last quarter of our journey on earth, assuming that is how the time frame works out. I believe they will be the sweetest years yet. God bless you and your family Lizzie.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      My father, who lived to age 89, said each decade was better than the last, and his 80s were the best years of all! Gotta love that positive attitude.

  16. Vippydoda September 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    I got to know God growing up and going to church with friends. But I “went away from Him” for quite a few years. Just before my father died, he accused me of plotting against him with my Mom. I thought he was teasing but saw that he wasn’t. I was just devastated that he died before I could set that right with him. I cried for a solid week that he left thinking so badly of me. Then I realized that I was not going to be able to handle this by myself and remembered that Christ would take it from me and all I had to do was ask. I don’t cry anymore about it, just tear-up. I am now with God every single day and would not be able to handle this world if not.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

      I’m so sorry, my sister. Some illnesses can diminish one’s reasoning abilities and usher in paranoia. Perhaps that was the case for your dear father. I’m relieved to know that you are clinging to our Savior, who will always defend you and never desert you.

  17. Susan Gruener September 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    Hi Liz, So sorry to hear of the loss of your brother. I don’t know what I would do without the great Comforter, His Holy Spirit. Praying for you. I know He is with you.
    Thanks for another great thought-provoking devotional. I know from the Word, Jesus went out of His way to go “through Samaria” to find ‘the woman at the well’. He did the same for me. He came and ‘found me’ at 14. I found Him in my youth group, and asked Him into my life, and never looked back. 🙂 That was almost 48 years ago, and He gets more awesome as the years go by! Thanks once again for sharing your gift of writing with us!

    P.S. I felt as though this was especially for me today… Two out of the three names you mentioned in your writing were mine… 🙂
    Susan Elizabeth 🙂

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      I could have written a whole post on the significance of Jesus seeking her out in Samaria. Amazing, isn’t it, the lengths our Savior will go to rescue us?

  18. CarolAnne September 25, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    First, hope you remember the fun times with your brother. Time does make it easier, but sometimes you have to cry. Second, don’t know why her name was omitted. Were the Samaritans Muslim? Could that be why? Third, God has always been in my life (cradle Catholic), but have felt His presence during hard times and intense prayer. I have learned so much from your Bible studies, and your books. Really appreciate them. Thank you, Liz!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 1, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Her name was omitted (as were many women’s names and men’s names as well), simply because it wasn’t necessary to the story. Not a slight of her character or worth in any way. As to the religion of the Samaritans, they observed a form of Judaism all their own, which they believed was the true religion of the ancient Israelites prior to the Babylonian Exile. So, that put them at odds with the rabbis of Jesus’ time. Hope that helps, CarolAnne. It’s an honor to teach and encourage you here!

  19. Jori September 26, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    I just wanted to thank you, Liz, for offering free copies of your book The Women of Christmas. The book I ordered and the free copy arrived this week. I can hardly wait to mail one of them to my mom! Thank you for sharing your generous heart with us.

  20. Linda H September 26, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    So sorry for your loss and I am praying that the Lord will surround you with His everlasting arms of love and comfort! The Lord found me when I was pregnant wih my oldest son and had just moved into a new area and church. He breathed new life into me and promised me His everlasting love. Since that time 37 years ago He has shown up many times to fill me and remind me of His promise. I need to be reminded He is the only one who can satisfy my deepest longing! I love Him so much and praise His precious name! Sending you my love and a big hug your way!

  21. shelly L September 26, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    Of all the women in the bible I relate to the woman at the well the most. I have had failed marriages. I have been one of those bad girls. I did not know a loving God growing up. I was in a very abusive, alcoholic family and continued their patterns into my adult life. The free love of the 60’s. My mother had multiple personalities and would change religions according to what personality was in control of her. I have seen snake charmers, witchcraft, exorcisms, all of it, and as a young child I decided I wanted no part in these God/ gods that were going on in my life. I was angry and hurt because this so called loving God I would hear about didn’t seem to love me, didn’t save me from what the grownups in my life were doing to me and around me.

    Oh, I had such a long and hard road before I found out how much God really loves me and what Jesus did for me on that cross. I spent many years drinking and drugging and sleeping with men. It took me many years of this spiritual thirst to find God. I was angry at first, then I cried. I cried for years and I couldn’t believe the stories. I continued to go to the bible studies and the women’s groups because I was so hungry and thirsty for God’s love. I desperately needed his grace, his forgiveness. I also had to forgive myself so I could allow God to work in my life. It has been a long journey. It has not been an easy one. I am now like a sponge soaking up all the water I can find!

    I am so grateful for Gods love and his grace. His sacrifice for me. I can never seem to share this without crying. I owe my life to God. He is my strength when I am weak, he is my every breath. He is like oxygen… I can’t see him but I can’t live without him. I hope that one day God will use my pain to help others.

    I know the pain and grief of losing family members. All the grown ups from my childhood are gone now. I hope they are at peace. God has forgiven them and I have too.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 1, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      Bless you for sharing your long, hard road to peace with God, Shelly. I have no doubt God will use all you’ve been through to help others. Only one who has suffered can say to others who are suffering, “God loves you. God has a plan for you. God is with you.”

  22. Susan Greene Ireland September 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    My Aunt Willie is a great story teller , she is 86 now and still sharp as ever in the word. She would have us all sit on her kitchen floor and she would sit too and take us on a journey into the word of God, David & Goliath , Daniel and the Lions den and many more. I never stop learning new things, and some things I wonder what took me so long. I am so sorry about your brother 🙂

  23. Birdie Cutair September 26, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    I am glad she is not named also, because you can place yourself in her place. Jesus did not meet me at a well, but like many others at a youth group meeting. Even though I invited Him into my heart then, He didn’t really become real to me until later. I lost a daughter, age 10, and one day when I was grieving, I heard God’s voice say to me that she was with Him and she could look down and see me. I was filled with peace and joy to know she was no longer suffering, but with Jesus mine and her’s Lord and Savior.
    I, too send condolences to you about your brother. Know that Jesus is your brother also, and He is with you always!

  24. Donna Hughes September 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Hi Liz.
    Sorry to hear of your loss. 2 Corinthians 1:3.
    The Lord met me when I had the hots for this gorgeous guy who was a Christian. Don’t want to go into too much detail, but mrs potiphar didn’t have a look in, but just like Joseph, he also fled, but the seed had been planted and one day on my own I prayed to Jesus asking him to be my Lord and to say sorry. Thank you Jesus.

  25. Jenn Taylor September 27, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    Relating to the first story above, how God met this dear lady at different points in her life, I felt my life story unfolding. I know we do have those encounters and when we recognize them it is a true blessing for our spiritual growth.

    Deepest sympathy for your loss Liz, may God be with you through this time of mourning.

  26. Becca September 27, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    As Susan stated, He has found me several times.

    He found me at the age of 5 years old, when I heard a sermon on Hell. Then growing up under the heavy thumb of my Pastor father, who was one person at the pulpit and another person at home, I began to say “If that is Christian, I don’t want to be one.” Then at the age of 23, with my marriage on the rocks, I turned my life over to him. I lived for Him for 21 years, then some bad things happened and I felt like He no longer cared for me. If he cared for me, why would he allow such bad things to happen. After all, I gave him my life, I lived for Him! It has been a struggle for the past 2 years because I just couldn’t understand why he would allow such things. He has found me again, when He knew that I was about to throw in the towel & just go to him. He found me alone, at the deepest well that I have ever been in and he drew me out! Taking each baby step again, I am drinking from His ever loving hands. I know now that the life he has for me, is far better than the life I had.

    I am sorry for the lose of your brother but have faith that you will be reunited with him one glorious day! Thank you again Liz for this study and may you be blessed from your obedience!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 1, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      Becca, this is a POWERFUL statement: “I know now that the life he has for me, is far better than the life I had.” YES, absolutely. Bless you for sharing this important truth!

  27. Susan Shipe September 27, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    I’ve been to the well so many times in my life I’ve lost count! But, whenever I have gone He’s met me there. Aside from my personal salvation experience the most incredible well-moment I’ve had was at a bonfire in Idaho in 1984, high on marijuana, I saw a vision that no mother of three kids ever wanted to see. I asked the Water-giver to give me another chance and He graciously and mercifully, did. The one thing in this story that always stands out to me is in verse 11 “Sir You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.” She was about to learn just how “deep” The Well is. One of my favorite stories in all the New Testament. Liz, a big (((hug))) as you grieve the loss of your brother Tom.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 1, 2013 at 9:40 am #

      Love your emphasis on the deepness of that well of living water, Susan. Yes, yes, yes!

  28. Barbara Vick September 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    Please accept my sincere and deepest condolence for the loss of your brother, Tom.
    May you find God’s grace to be sufficient and His strength to be yours each new day.
    {{{{{{Liz}}}}}} More hugs and prayers for you at this difficult time.
    Barbara Vick
    And Thank you for your influence in my life.

  29. laura September 29, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Jesus found me covered in grime after trying to hide from Him for over 30 years because of my guilt and shame. In February 2010, I just got so tired of hiding and carrying this weight I came out of my dark hole to seek His Light. As soon as I stepped out, there He was with open arms, ready to lift the heaviness off of me!! Do I still struggle? Yes, but this girl doesn’t hide in the dark anymore. She lives in the Light!!

  30. joyce September 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    Thanks so much for the bible studies, Liz. They are very helpful and lead to much thinking on my part, which I believe God wants from us. I am so sorry about your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

  31. Nanette October 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Oh Liz I love you!!!
    I am so sorry to read this a week late. But as always right on time. I am amazed at just how our Lord uses his people to bring “GLORY” to Himself. I will glorify the Lord. His living water refreshes a dry and weary life………..
    I am also saddened to read of your personal loss. HUGS and PraYers.

  32. Lisa October 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    First, please let me say that I will pray for you and your family, that our merciful Father draws you near to Him, and grants you comfort and peace in your time of loss.
    Second, I truly think that not knowing the woman’s name does not discredit the story anymore. Like I tell my preschoolers every day, “This very special story that I’m going to tell to you comes from God’s Word, the Bible, that’s how we know it’s true. Every word in the Bible is true!” If it’s in God’s Word, then it must be true, and there to teach us something. This one reminds me that God takes us where we are, and uses us for His purpose to His glory. God does that to me all of the time, reminding me that I am who I am because He made me that way, and I should do what I need to do for Him, and that He is there to help me. What a great boss I have!

  33. Tamara October 3, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    This is one of my favorite’ stories in the Bible and I don’t think it matters at all what her name is, and I do believe she had a God appointment that day. Jesus called me at age 8 on a Sunday night and I went to the altar and accepted him and fell in love with him. Since that time he has never left me nor forsaken me. I wish I could say the same thing but sadly I have failed him many times, I have fallen, and I have lost my way and sinned but to my surprise that is when he loved me the most and showed me his grace and mercy. I am reminded that I can drink from the Well everyday not just when I’m thirsty and desperate. This story tells me that Jesus is easy to talk to, he knew all about her, and her failures, but he still talked to her and offered his love, he had what she needed. If I will meet with him and talk to him everyday he has everything I need and he understands what I am going through or dealing with it. If I stay filled up daily it will be easier to share this water with others. I thank God for this web site, for Liz, and for these studies, for this blog, and for all the comments that was shared.

  34. Tammy October 4, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    I too have loved this story, it is near and dear to my heart because my name can definitely be filled in the blank….it used to be shameful, but the fact that Jesus comes to our rescue at our most desperate moment makes it beautiful!
    I was literally knee deep in dirt from landscaping when two elders from a church that I had visited came to call on me and invite me back. They talked for quite a while. The literal dirt that I was working in and covered with was a representation of the life I was living at the time, and had lived most of my life. I was living with a man that I was not married to, who happened to be a very messed up closet alcoholic. Even though I did not know his secret, All my life I have been a fixer of everyone else, but myself. God knew this, and He loved me enough to rescue and fix me. I began attending church regularly, my daughter who was seven at the time and I both got baptized within a few months of each other. Our journey with Jesus was put into motion. The symbolism is beautiful to me looking back, I was living in filth from a spiritual standpoint, and God reached out to me through those two elders when I was in physical dirt, an absolute sweaty mess on that hot summer day. I am now married to a wonderful man of God who loves me, encourages me daily, and sees me the way Jesus does, flawed, but lovable anyway. Made beautiful through Christ’s sacrifice. God is so good! I thirst for Him daily, but no longer look in the wrong places to fill my water jar! Love to you Liz, and I am sorry for the loss of your brother, but it is heaven’s gain.


  1. We each have a bit of “Delilah” in us… and how to let her go! - October 3, 2013

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