Commands of Jesus for His Bride According to the Gospel of John: The Woman at the Well

Jun 11, 2024 | by Captain Kristin Coriston

Captain Kristin Coriston

Corps Officer

Midland, Texas

Scripture: John 4:5-30​​​​​​​

The story of the woman at the well is familiar to most of us. Early in Jesus’ ministry, He met her in the middle of the day – a Samaritan, a woman, a sinner. Here we see Jesus upsetting cultural norms, offering eternal life, and showing grace to someone who was totally undeserving. I am in awe of the way Jesus shows this woman the truth in love. Considering our current cultural climate, I am struck by something fundamental about this moment: Jesus invites this woman to find her true identity in Him. He invites her to find her true self, the self He intended for her all along. In an incredible reversal of what was expected, Jesus confronts her sin, tells her He already knows the depths of her heart, and offers her a new way of being.

The Great Lie

We have seen and felt the shift over the last decade to an increase in the “be true to yourself” movement. It’s all over social media, the news, and in entertainment. It has even crept into the church. Our enemy, Satan, has used the lie that whatever you feel is right must be right, that the only source of your identity is you. It is the same lie he whispered to Eve in the garden: “Did God really say that? Did He really mean it? Does He really know what is best for you?” Satan was successful in targeting Eve, lying to her about God’s good plan for her and influencing her to question who decides what is right. When we meet the woman at the well, this seems to be the case for her, too. Her culture has certainly influenced her identity, and so has her own sin. In many ways, she has done what was right in her own eyes, deciding that ultimately, she knows best, and it has become who she is.

Finding Her True Identity

When she encounters Jesus at the well, what takes place is nothing short of miraculous. On the surface, it looks like this might just be a matter of meeting physical needs – a drink asked for and given. However, Jesus used this moment to highlight her need and offer her what was truly necessary: finding her identity in the Messiah. Jesus showed her that her identity was in Him – not in what culture said, not in her mistakes, not in her past and current relationships. As a Samaritan, the Jews would have looked down on her and her people for not having a so-called proper claim on the true God. As a woman coming to the well alone, she would have been looked down on by her own people for her mistakes and immorality. And yet, Jesus met her and showed her how to enter into a new life and identity with Him.

For those of us that have given our lives to Christ, this transformation has happened! We have been given a new identity, our true identity. You and I have come back to the real us as we were intended to be in Christ. We are now working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). For countless others, though, the search for identity continues with intensity, and many don’t even realize that is what they are looking for. They have been fooled by the enemy’s deceptions into thinking worldly identities will be fulfilling and worth the cost. Satan has convinced thousands upon thousands to find their identities outside of Christ. One of the most insidious and dominating ways he does this in today’s culture is through the perversion of human sexuality. Satan has convinced people that to find their identity, they must follow every sexual proclivity, love whichever gender they want, and even harm their own bodies to look like a different sex to be the truest version of themselves. The rise of homosexuality, transgenderism, pornography, fornication, and other sexual immorality has become the “end all be all” of identity today.

The woman at the well was familiar with this identification, and so am I. Many of us are. The ways in which we seek to feel loved, cherished, and accepted know no limits. How sweet it is that Jesus met the woman in her moment in time and offered her the opportunity to become the real version of herself. I had a similar moment with Jesus, and maybe you have, too. In a world trying to find itself, will we be faithful to respond to others searching for identity, as the woman was? Will we run, just as she did, into our workplaces, our schools, our homes, our churches, and share how Christ has given us salvation and a new identity? Will we bravely live and proclaim that identity is not found in what we desire, what media tells us, or in our past mistakes – that we in fact do not know what is best for ourselves, but that Jesus does?

Identifying Deepest Need

In The Salvation Army, we are excellent at meeting physical needs. In fact, we may truly be the best at it. I wonder, though, are we the best at meeting spiritual needs and telling people how and in whom they can find their identity? I shudder to think that our reputation is that we are the best non-profit organization rather than those who show others how to become who Christ intended them to be. It is so easy to offer someone a drink, a meal, a shower, or a warm place to stay at night. It is incredibly difficult in our social climate today to share the deep reality of sin and the need for a Savior. The cost for those like the Samaritan woman who have placed their identity in their own selfish and sinful desires is extremely high – for they will die in their sin if they do not encounter and respond to Christ. If we are a people who have been transformed, we can feed people what they really need: the truth in love.

Today, thank God for the new identity you have in Him! Share your story with others as a testament to who Jesus is and what he offers. This world needs faithful witnesses like you and I to combat the lies of the enemy and to bring hope to those looking for purpose and peace.

Our Corporate Prayer

Dear Lord, Thank You that when we found You as our Savior we also found out who we are. We thought we knew so much but we found out we didn't know anything at all. Help us to remember that we cannot be defined outside of You. When the world tries to tell us how we should look or how we should act or how we should have fun, remind us that they are defining things in terms of all that will perish. You spell it out in eternal terms. Please continue to conform me into the image of Christ and then I will be who you truly meant for me to be. I pray this in Your mighty and holy name. Amen.

Our Worldwide Prayer Meeting
Eastern India Territory

Thinking It Through

Try counting the number of television commercials that tell people how they should define themselves either by their looks, their spending, their leisure or their activities. How do these compare with the values of the Kingdom of God? How easy is it to be taken in by the voice of the world?

Notable Quotables

Dear God, I thank You for me - for the person I am, the person I am becoming. I'm glad for my identity. - Colonel Virginia Talmadge


An old song based on this story reminds us that the Lord is willing to "Fill My Cup." 


We would appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions on how to improve these devotionals. Please email comments to: or by going to our website:
We would love to hear from you.

Lt. Colonel Allen Satterlee
Territorial Spiritual Life Development Officer/THQ Chaplain
USA Southern Territory

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