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Read Introduction to John


16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”


When the woman at the well did not accept the truth Jesus presented, He spoke to her personal spiritual need.


Jesus said to her,

Jesus changed His approach to the woman in this verse from explaining His offer of eternal life in verses 13 and 14 to now penetrating her sinful heart.

Go, call your husband, and come here.”

Jesus would now expose the woman for what she was. He did this by asking her to bring her husband to Jacob’s Well. He confronted her with the reality of her eternal situation. Jesus called attention to the woman’s husband to call attention to her sin.


The woman answered and said,

The woman answered Jesus’ question about having a husband by attempting to deflect Him from her true situation.

I have no husband.”

This is an abrupt and curt statement. The woman did not want to expand the issue of her marriage but wanted to avoid it. She was not ready to deal with her sins at this point.

It may have been that it was legally true that the woman had no husband, but it was nevertheless a misleading statement. At minimum, it was an attempt at evasion.

Jesus said to her,

Jesus knew about the woman’s immorality. He laid bare her attempted deception. The woman could not fool the Lord.

You have well [aptly] said, ‘I have no husband,’

This woman lived far outside the norms of her society. Jesus brought out the extent of her sinful life. This was a devastating revelation to her.

The woman gave a truth but not the whole truth. More probing was necessary for the whole truth to come out.


for you have had five husbands,

The word “husbands” can mean men. Probably none of the five men in her life was her legal husband. By this Jesus showed the woman the extent of her aberrance from God.

and the one whom you now have is not your husband;

The person with whom this woman lived was not her husband; she was living with him in immorality. This man was only her latest live-in affair.

in that you spoke truly.”

It was true that the woman did not have one husband; she had five husbands. All the woman’s pretensions vanished. She now had a clear view of herself.


It is necessary to admit our sin to become a Christian.


People cannot come to Christ unless they come to grips with themselves. Everyone stands in need of Christ, but most will not admit their need. Unless people realize that they are dead to God without the person and work of Christ, they will never enter eternal life.

Because it is necessary to unmask sin to show people that they need Christ, they will always seek to bury the sin question in their lives. They will even talk doctrine to avoid their fundamental issue with God. Eligibility of receiving eternal life of living water rests upon recognition of one’s violation of an absolute God. God resolved moral problems by Jesus’ death on the cross.

There is no conversion without conviction of sin. Until people come to a place of admitting their need, there is little likelihood that will they will come to Christ. Two imperatives are necessary to become a Christian:

  • A clear view of an absolute God who cannot compromise His holiness and that the price for sin was paid by Christ.

  • An honest coming to grips with ourselves and that we cannot come to God without trust in the price Christ paid on the cross for our sins.

We see ourselves truly in the presence of God. Christianity always begins with a sense of our sin. There is a proclivity to hush sins to ourselves. There can be no conversion without conviction. If we evade our sin, we will not allow God to deal with our sin. We need to tear away the mask of hiding our sin to become a Christian.