John 4:1–15, 25–26comment (1)
September 26, 2013
By Jay T. Robertson
Related Scripture: John 4:1–15, 25–26
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
THE POWER TO GIVE LIFE
John 4:1–15, 25–26
Jesus departs Judea and is going to Galilee, but “He had to pass through Samaria.” Jesus has a divine appointment at the well in Sychar. The Samaritans are a racially mixed group of partly Jewish and partly Gentile ancestry. The king of Assyria had brought foreign people to settle in Samaria in 722 B.C., and over time they had intermarried with Jews who had remained in the area. They had their own version of the Pentateuch, their own temple on Mount Gerizim and their own rendering of Israelite history.
Jesus intentionally takes this difficult, mountainous route to Sychar to make a disciple. Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., reports that one out of five non-Christians in America do not know a Christian. Surely heaven weeps, and so should we. Christians must become intentional about introducing people to Jesus. Serving Jesus can no longer be understood as simply serving on a church committee. Christians need to share Jesus as they go to the gym, school, work, ball games and family gatherings. We cannot begin to obey the Great Commission without going to people who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Jesus, tired from the journey, is sitting at Jacob’s well at noon. Don’t miss the humanity of Jesus. He is tired. While resting He encounters a woman of Samaria. He uses this as an opportunity to engage this woman with gospel truth. As we sit in the doctor’s office waiting room or at the hair salon, for example, we should take the opportunity to engage people with the gospel.
Jesus asks this woman for a drink of water from the well. She responds: “‘How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?’ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)” For the sake of evangelism, Jesus boldly crosses barriers that separate people from God. Jesus crosses over the racial barrier between Jews and Samaritans to show that the message of salvation comes from God to the Jews, but it is intended for all the peoples of the earth. Jesus crosses over the gender barrier and shows God’s gracious heart for this woman and for all women.
Clarify (10–15, 25–26)
A master teacher, Jesus uses the metaphor of water to speak to the woman about salvation. Cleverly exposing her sin and her need for God’s forgiveness, Jesus requests that she first go home to get her husband before He could give her living water. She replies with a half-truth, that she has no husband. Jesus then names her sin, saying she has had five husbands and is now living with a man who is not her husband.
The naming of the woman’s sin is the turning point in the conversation. She recognizes that Jesus must be a prophet deserving respect, so she refers to Him as “sir.” This is appropriate since the Samaritans are not waiting for the Messiah but rather the promised prophet who would be like Moses.
The woman asks Jesus about the theological issue dividing their religions. Where should she go to confess her sin and be reconciled to God? Should she go to her Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim or should she travel to the temple in Jerusalem? Jesus astounds her by declaring an end to both Samaritan and Jewish worship. Jesus crosses over the geographical barrier and opens the possibility that everyone everywhere can worship if they repent of their sin, because Father God is seeking them and will give them the truth and the Holy Spirit. Jesus clarifies the most important issue in the world for this woman — her need for salvation and how she can receive God’s gift of forgiveness.
How does this lesson convict you? Are you intentionally seeking to make disciples of non-Christians? Will you ask Father God to place at least one person on your heart to seek to introduce to Jesus?