March 19, 2023: Jesus Talks With a Samaritan- John 4: 7-15, 28-30, 39-41
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Jesus had caused quite a stir in Jerusalem. Miracles and healings had the religious leaders taking notice. The great prophet, John the Baptist, is comfortable with his followers decreasing as Jesus’ followers increase. The Jesus Revolution of the time is in full swing. Jesus was talking to sinners, eating with publicans, teaching the outcasts, and drawing crowds. The religious Pharisees were not happy and began plotting Jesus' demise. Under the cover of darkness, a Master of Israel approached, but Jesus didn't wait for the question. He knew what he wanted. More importantly, He knew what Nicodemus needed. When we turn to the next chapter we find more need. The scripture says that Jesus needed to go to Samaria. When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. (John 4:1-4). There was a need for the Messiah to reach over the barriers of mistrust and hatred to another group of outcasts, a people despised by Israel. There is an urgency to Jesus’ trip. The lesson is a reminder - The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9). The Church must have the same mind as Jesus. It is an urgent matter that we get our lost to Christ. The true born-again bride of Christ should not be willing to let any perish - not on our watch!
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
The city Sychar is thought to be the same or very near Sichem (also written as Shechem). When Abraham departed to follow God, he came to this land and to this city. This is Jacob’s well, and Joseph’s bones were brought from Egypt and buried here. The blessing of Jacob upon his son Joseph says in part: Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel. (Genesis 49: 22-24). As Jesus approaches and rests at this well, we see the True Vine, the Good Shepherd, the Stone cut without hands, spreading over the walls and hills of Israel to include Samaria. Just as Joseph was mistreated by his family, the Samaritans find themselves the despised outcasts of Israel. The religious Jews consider them half-breeds (descendants of Joseph but intermarrying during their captivity by Assyria) and idolaters (incorporated Assyrian belief into their worship practices). A people so loathsome that most Jews would not even walk through Samaria or ever speak to a Samaritan woman.
In walks Jesus and asks for a drink. He is alone. The Samaritan woman finds it odd and possibly amusing that a Jew would even think to speak with her. She knows well the animosity of Israel toward the Samaritans. What she is not expecting is this Jew - the son of God, speaking to her for her benefit.
Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?
She rightly interprets the situation based on what she can see and knows. She reminds him that her ancestor Jacob dug this well. Jeremiah in his prophecy to the House of Jacob says: For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13). She is calling on her father, Jacob; however, a greater than Jacob is here.
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.
In a dry arid country, never thirsting sounds like heaven on earth! Of course, she wants that water! No more trips to the well. No more carrying heavy jars. He knows her heart's desire, but she doesn’t understand yet that she has access to so much more. Lord, open our Hearts and minds to your abundance and good pleasure for each of us. It is so much more than what we know or can imagine. Are you thirsty? The water of life flows freely for all who thirst and accept Christ. He is the living water - life.
Our lesson skips the verses about Jesus winning her over. Jesus also tells her He is the Messiah. She is a sinner. We are all sinners. Nicodemus, the Master Rabbi who sought Jesus under cover of night, also had to die to sin and be born again. Jesus answered his need. Jesus seeks out this woman in broad daylight. He has what she needs. The Messiah is that vine promised, extending out, to reach everyone regardless of responsibility, social standing, gender, or nationality. He is looking for a diverse family of all peoples, nations, tongues, and kindred to inherit everlasting life with Him in Heaven.
The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.
The woman leaves with living water. She goes to the men in the city and tells them the Messiah is here. She discovers that even though he knows all she ever did, Jesus still loves her! But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24). God is still seeking. What was it that convinced you that Jesus is who He says He is? He simply asks that we believe beyond what we know, beyond the physical we can see. He continues to seek out those to worship Him.
And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word;
When they heard her testimony and saw her excitement, it was enough to spark curiosity in Samaria. Then listening to the gracious, loving words of Jesus, new believers were born.
Many attacks have been made on the church in the last few years. Covid closed many church doors for a significant period of time. Political and economic issues have torn at the fabric of unity among believers. The Church of 2023 is understandably a little weary and discouraged. The confession of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God is the solid rock the church is built upon. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18). God is still in control. He is still the creator of all things, His arm isn’t shortened, and he hasn’t grown old or become unable to be God. Just as with the Samaritan woman, God still seeks to save. He knows us individually and intimately. He still draws people. He still loves us despite our failures and flaws. He wants as many as will to come into the family. To all the Church of 2023, wherever you are, stay focused - don’t look around at the world and its attitude. Dive deeply into the scriptures; the whole book speaks of Jesus. He is the way of salvation. Stay faithful. Look up. The King is coming.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
(Revelation 21: 1-7)
Thank you for studying with us! God bless!