(Genesis 29; John 1-4)

After history has ended, we see in the New Heaven and New Earth a Bride prepared for the Lamb (Rev. 21). Before history began, the Father purposed for Christ the Lamb to be slain to secure the redemption of his Bride. In the opening chapters of John we have a beautiful picture of Jesus finding his Bride in a surprising way.

John’s narrative presents the Lord as a New Jacob. When Jesus initially meets Nathanael, he says, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false” – in contrast to the conniver Jacob of old. Nathanael is shocked that Jesus knew about him before he got there. Jesus then announces, “You believe because I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that. I tell you the truth, you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:47-51). In this remark we see an explicit reference to Jacob’s dream at Bethel “in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it” (Genesis 28)

John the Baptist states that he is a friend of the Bridegroom. “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice” (John 3:27-30). Jesus at this point was a bridegroom without a bride, but this was about to change as Jesus’ journey took a strange twist.

John 4 opens with Jesus going through Samaria and then resting at Jacob’s well. An ancient scene is about to be re-enacted with new characters. Jacob met his bride Rachel at a well – at noon. A Samaritan woman comes alone to Jacob’s well and meets a Jewish male – at noon.

When Jesus tells the woman that he is the living water that will quench all thirst, she is compelled to ask, “Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and supplied all his needs from it?” Yes, he is greater than all! Greater than Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Melchizedek, and Elijah! “Behold a greater than Solomon is here” (Luke 11:31). This woman who ventured daily to the well for physical water came to see that all her longings for love, acceptance and spiritual thirst were to be forever quenched in the inexhaustible person of Jesus Christ.

After Rachel met Jacob, she went to her father’s family and invited them to come and meet him. Likewise, after the Samaritan woman experiences a revelation of the Messiah, she goes to the inhabitants of Sychar and summons them to come and see Jesus. Jacob was entreated to stay awhile with Rachel’s family. Jesus is asked to stay with those in Sychar for a few days.

Possibly the most beautiful thing about the Bride the New Jacob encountered was that she perfectly embodied the “new humanity” that Jesus would form through his death, burial and resurrection. She was a half-breed – part Jew and part Gentile. Jesus by his death on the cross tore down the middle wall of partition – the Law – and brought believing Jews and Gentiles into “one body.”

The New Jacob meeting the New Rachel illustrates how radical Jesus’ kingdom is. He boldly disregarded some very well-defined Jewish social customs in conversing with her at the well. A Jew should not have been in “unclean” Samaria. A Jewish male should not have been speaking to a woman in public – especially a Samaritan woman. “The disciples were surprised to find him talking with a woman.”

Christ pursued his Bride even though she had a very bad reputation in her village. Can you imagine the heart of this woman who arrived at the well bearing the shame imposed on her by first century culture? She left her jug at the well as she shamelessly made a beeline to her townspeople to tell them about a Messiah who was for the “world.”

Let’s ponder a moment the significance of the woman hastily leaving her jug at Jacob’s well. She left her jug empty, forgetting about her physical thirst, because the greater thirst in her heart had found its satisfaction in Christ. Her jug represents all of the emptiness human institutions can supply as people seek the tree of knowledge. As Jeremiah put it: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Seeing Jesus as a New Jacob throws light on a thorny issue. Some theological traditions have made a big deal out of the fact that the twelve apostles were all male. “Why were there no female apostles?” they ask. How many sons did Jacob have? Twelve. Jesus chose twelve males to represent the New Israel he would create from all the tribes of the earth. Junia is mentioned in Romans 16:7-8 as a sister who was “outstanding among the apostles.” Functioning as a “sent one” has never been limited to men.

We have the privilege of being part of the Bride that is pictured in the Samaritan woman. We are found at the well as broken people who are drinking water that cannot satisfy. Jesus gives us a revelation of himself, and we find that living water in Jesus by which we never thirst again. This living water then flows into relational life in his ekklesia, an organic environment – pictured in the Samaritan woman — where there is no Jew or Greek, bond or free, male or female.

By Jon Zens

For further reading on Jesus as the New Jacob see


  1. amen, wonderful how our Lord opens up the Old Covenant Scriptures and shows us how they speak of Himself and His bride, God’s heart!

    • “He opened up to them in Moses, the Psalms and the prophets all the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24). We do not begin to see all that there is about Jesus in the ancient writings!

  2. Very good! I’ve never thought of it like that (for the most part)

    Good one 🙂

  3. Deane Strawbridge says

    Thank you for sharing your teaching of the Lord, Jon.
    Paul’s prayer is answered when humble teachers share God’s Word with others 🙂
    Eph 1.17 “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him”

  4. I had not made this connection before and it made my heart soar. For many years I reluctantly read the OT because I could not stand to read how the women were treated and it seemed as if that was how God wanted it. It seemed to affirm what the Patriarchal teachers of today were teaching about women.

    I finally learned that much is descriptive and not prescriptive. That helped a lot especially about the visitor who threw his daughter out to be raped by homosexuals so to protect the “male” guest. I could not figure out why that was better.

    I finally realized that the Fall was more horrible than I had really thought. Soon after we have Lamech! And I realized that many today are teaching sin as a virtue. For years, I had a hard time believing God loved His daughters just as much. You heard over and over that it was “God’s Design” and the men were supposed to be more loving but that their sin did not negate their position over women.

    I also could not figure out why Cross could not help women “who are more easily deceived” yet it seemed to help men get over Adam’s sinning on purpose.

    Please blog as much as you can.

    • Kat Huff says

      Lydia, your words “many today are teaching sin as a virtue” tells it like it is more than any other expression I’ve heard. That is exactly what is being taught to many as the way of Christ. I would say to you “well put” but it feels like so much more than that!

    • Lydia, “descriptive rather than prescriptive” is the conclusion I came to, starting with Gen.3:15. The Lord’s words to the woman there are descriptive of the implications of sin for husband-wife relationships, not prescriptive of “God’s will.” Before the fall Adam/Eve were partners, and God said to “them” to have dominion over the earth. Why would one want to use a statement that emphasizes sin’s effects? When Jesus was asked about male/female issues he went back to the way it was in the “beginning,” before human sin erupted. We should start with Christ as a redemptive model of servant-hood in which there is no “male or female,” not with a descriptive remark about sin’s intrusion into marriage relationships! Lydia, your comments were excellent!

  5. Jon, the above is an article I wrote on this same subject back in 2007. I am a history fanatic as well as church history. It is the life of Christ within, that led me to find all these things out in my continual seeking the truth of the TRUTH. God begin to show me these things, when I was but yet majoring in Bible way back in 1973. I caused quite a stir with my Baptist Dispensationalist brothers, who were very unhappy with what God had revealed to me in my personal time of allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me, rather then man. I share with you and others as well. God bless you, and keep the word spoken forth. The Good News of Jesus Christ.

    • Joseph, I read your long piece quickly. I really, really enjoyed it! I don’t think you mentioned the specific date in the article, but the influential Scofield Reference Bible appeared in 1912, I believe. This work embedded Dispensational distinctives below the Biblical text via Scofield’s notes.

      Toward the end of your article you cited “the Kingdom of God is within you.” Contextually, it is better to see that as referring to Christ, who was the Kingdom in their midst. These words were directed to Pharisees, and the KOG was not within them redemptively, but the KOG was in their presence in the person of Christ!

  6. Jon, wonderful post….I especially like your closing paragraph. Do you have any quick thoughts on John 4:19-24?

    Thanks again,

    • Well, this is a pivotal passage in many ways, and it is interesting how the Lord carried on this deep conversation with a woman — a Samaritan woman! Certainly one central feature of this section is the reality that under the New Covenant the whole religious emphasis on “proper places” for worship is finished! Think about it. Just about every religion on the earth directs its adherents to a certain “special” place to be with God and go through various rituals. The Samaritans had their special mountain and the Jews had Jerusalem. Jesus tells the woman that all of this is over. It is finished. In Jesus’ “new humanity,” and “new creation” we seek the Father in Spirit and Truth, with no need for designated, prescribed physical places. Of course, the saints gather as “an ekklesia” (1 Cor 11:18). Believers occupy space — but such coming together is fluid, not rooted in fixed religious buildings and the like. In light of John 4:19-24 I think it is a distraction for people to make a big issue of how we are somehow obliged to pray “for the peace of Jerusalem,” as a piece of geography. Jesus indicated to the woman that in His economy such emphasis on the “right” place is a thing of the past. We are part of the “Jerusalem above” (Gal 4:25-26).

  7. I have read the story of Christ and the woman at the well a hundred times and never even came close to thinking of it in these terms. What a beautiful concept.


  8. The Samaritan woman has had five husbands, and the one she has now is not her husband. But the one to come has become her husband.
    Reminds me of the Harlot in Revelation.
    Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come.
    God is calling us to “come out of her.”

Speak Your Mind