There can be nothing quite as depressing as having failed in multiple marriages irrespective of who was at fault that led to the breakups. Here we have a woman - the Samartian woman at the well - who had experienced five divorces and was so discouraged and depressed that she had presumably lost all faith in the institution of marriage and had simply decided to shack up with her sixth man.Why not? She probably figured the relationship would end up like all the others.
"Yah'shua (Jesus) said to her, 'Go, call your husband, and come here.' The woman answered and said, 'I have no husband.' Yah'shua (Jesus) said to her, 'You have well said, 'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly'" (John 4:16-18, NKJV).
People have speculated as to the cause of this poor woman's predicament. Some have suggested that the first five men had died off, one after the other, and that the woman felt so cursed that she had ceased bothering about marriage and decided instead to take a lover. That would be a tragedy indeed and although such a scenario is unlikely it's not impossible. I do think, though, that had this actually been the explanation that something would have been said. After all, didn't the Sadducees invent a story about a woman who had had seven husbands, each of whom had died, in a bid to catch Yah'shua (Jesus) out over a question about the resurrection that the Sadducees didn't even believe in? (Mt.22:23-33)
No, I think there's another explanation and it concerns the laxity with which divorce could be procured in those days. You will recall the Pharisees' question to Yah'shua (Jesus) on divorce and the sharp rebuke they received from Him:
I believe the husbands of this poor Samaritan woman had exploited all the loopholes invented by the Pharisees justifying easy divorces and she had simply given up in despair because she could never measure up or find security. Perhaps she had failed to produce an heir or perhaps each husband had simply grown tired of her looks or her cooking abilities and had simply kicked her out. Whatever the reason, this woman felt rejected and hopeless - she had come to the end of herself and was open to receive the Besorah (Gospel). And Yah'shua (Jesus) did not condemn her. He understood her travail even if she was living in sin by not marrying her lover.
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" (Mark 10:11-12, NKJV).
Sexual sin is a serious matter and adultery is one of the worst sins there is, second only after murder. But there is hope for those who genuinely repent in tears, make proper restitution, and do not repeat this crime against man and Heaven again, as one woman found out (Jn.8:11). However, if the Samaritan woman was a victim, as I believe she was, we can more readily understand her despair and sense of hopelessness.
This goes for men who have been casually dismissed by faithless wives too. The effect of ungodly divorce is equally devastating on both. And it applies to any desparate man who may be shacking up with a woman without making any commitments because he is so disillusioned with marriage. Yah'shua (Jesus) understands them too.
We're not told what solution was offered to the Samaritan woman. The main issue was, in any case, salvation. We can only assume that she followed up and got her marriage affairs fixed as well. What is important here is to understand that Yah'shua (Jesus) both cares about and understands those who have been through hell in marriage - sometimes many times. His solution is salvation - to come to Him and to commit to a spouse who has come to Him also. Maybe her lover didn't convert, we don't know, but I am sure the ending for her was a happy one.
The message we are to garner from this story is that our situation is never so discouraging and hopeless that Yahweh cannot fix it...if we will truly come to Him with every part of ourselves and give Him full sovereignty over our lives. He will take care of, and provide for, us if we do. It may not be the way we expect or might at first want, because of the blindness of our levim (hearts) caused by sin, but it will work out well in the end. Our part is to simply surrender and trust Him, and He will make all things right in His way and time.
Have you been rejected, perhaps multiple times? There is hope, and that hope is in Yah'shua (Jesus). Amen.