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Last time we met we studied John 3: 22-36, today we meet a Samaritan Woman in John 4:1-46.
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
I have to admit, I know this story fairly well. Jesus, at a well, Samaritan woman of ill repute comes up and they have a conversation, she’s amazed and tells everyone about it. Sometimes when you know stories well it’s hard to think you can learn anything more from it. We need to fight that tendency as there is always something more to learn from God’s word.
Take for instance this truth. Jesus knew that the Pharisees were aware he was baptizing a lot of people. His response was to leave Judea and head over to Galilee. Normally Jews stayed out of Samaria. They avoided them. But here Jesus is walking through Samaria to get to Galilee, he’s tired and sits down to take a break. Do you see Jesus’ humanity here? He got tired just like we all do. He needed to rest his weary body. His very humanity lept out at me here. Seeing his weakness and frailty.
He’s resting, a woman comes to get some water and Jesus has the audacity to ask her to get him some water. Can you imagine her surprise! The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” It’s a shocking thing for her. Jews and Samaritans don’t mix, and certainly talking to each other is not the normal case of events. But Jesus does it anyways. (See his divinity there?) Jesus gives us a glimpse of it in his response to her: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” Only Jesus as God could give anyone living water.
Isn’t that a great opening statement? If someone said that to me I’d be saying Huh? What do you mean living water? The confusion of the Samaritan woman is understandable isn’t it? Jesus asked HER for a drink, and he has no bucket to draw water with…living water??? This makes no sense! Jesus goes on to tell her about his water, the water he gives will be an eternal water, one that refreshes a person so they never thirst again. Wouldn’t you want that water as well? Picture it. You, a Samaritan woman, coming to the well alone, at a time of day when most women would be at home. She comes to a well where a Jewish man tells you he can give you water that would satisfy you forever? Wouldn’t you be like this lady and jump at the chance? It’s no wonder to me that she says : “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
Jesus surprises her again. He asks her to go get her husband and when she admits to not having one proceeds to tell her what he knows of her. “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” Do you blame her then for thinking Jesus is a prophet? She shows she knows her faith history though. The Samaritans worship on the mountain they are at, while the Jewish say to worship in Jerusalem.
Can you imagine her heart surprise when Jesus tells her this: “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” To have a Jewish man, who just told her, her own life story, tell her that location doesn’t matter for how you express your faith? That what’s in the heart does? Can you see her understanding? Her faith? She knows a messiah will come (called Christ) and that he’ll tell all they need to know. And then to have Jesus tell her he was the Christ? I’d have gone barreling off as well. GUYS COME MEET THIS GUY! HE KNOWS EVERYTHING!!!! Come See, maybe, just maybe he is the Christ!!!!!
While they are talking the disciples have returned, surprised that Jesus is talking with her, but they don’t question it. Instead when she left they urged him to eat.
I find Jesus’ statement here intriguing “I have food to eat you don’t know about”. Can you see the disciples confusion? They can see that Jesus has no food so what can he be talking about? Maybe he got food from somewhere else? Jesus urges them to look deeper… to see the need around them. Showing them that doing God’s will is food enough. There are fields aplenty around them…. people needing to know the Lord, to see God clearly, regardless of where they are.
Even though Jews and Samaritans kept themselves separate.. because of one conversation between a Jewish man and a Samaritan woman… many of the Samaritans in that town believed in God. They came and heard what Jesus had to say because one woman shared her amazement with those she knew. Jesus and his disciples stayed there for two days before continuing on to Galilee.
I need to share my amazement about the things of Christ with those I know as well. I need to sow seeds, I need to be willing to reap the harvest. I need to not let differences stop me from talking and sharing and being the person God wants me to be. I need to let others see The Saviour of the World.
When Jesus went to Galilee he was welcomed because people had seen what he did during the feast in Jerusalem.