We don’t know much more than that. All we know is that they were married … and that marriage ended. Did her husband die or did he divorce her? Was she so hard to live with that this husband couldn’t take it any longer? We can only guess. But she was single again, then married. Again. And again. And again until she had five husbands.
Life went on for this Samaritan lady when she moved in with another man. Had he refused to marry her because of her reputation or was her character so difficult to be around he wouldn’t commit himself? Was she an old woman by now, bitter and worn? At least he allowed her to live there, cook for him and tend to his needs.
How many men do you suppose had hurt this woman? How many times do you think she had hoped her life would turn differently? As a little girl, do you think she had wished for the torment—the scorn—she came to receive? We don’t know the hows or whys surrounding her misfortune. We only know that more men had been in her life than was acceptable.
If you know the story (found in John 4), this Samaritan woman was already shunned because she was a Samaritan. Jews didn’t like them and the other women definitely wouldn’t give her the time of day. After all, she’d been married five times and was now living with another man. News like that travels fast in a small community. She had no way of hiding her shame.
This Samaritan woman felt the full condemnation of the community to the point of seeking ways to stay away from others. that’s why she went to the well in the heat of the day to collect water when nobody else was around. Risking her health was more welcomed than dealing with public shame and the torment she faced every time she dealt with other women there in the mornings.
But then she met another man—a seventh man. A Jew who was at the well needing a drink. And this man offered to give her living water, so she would never thirst again (John 4 10).
Why did she trust this seventh man? What was about him that gave her the courage to try one more time? He told her about her past without heaping her with shame. She even told him the truth–a truth that surely would have turned the head of most Jewish men–yet he still offered her a love she had never known. Then he honored her with telling her that he was the Messiah everyone had been waiting for. He gave this Samaritan woman love, acceptance and mercy.
What would it take for you to trust someone?
If you’ve never read the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, check it out (John 4:1-26). Try on the story for yourself and see if there’s anything in your life that would keep this man with Living Water from you.