John 4 – Recap
Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan women is quite remarkable. Not only because of the dynamics of their interaction, but the impact to the audiences: the disciples marveled, the Samaritans wanted to learn more from Jesus himself, and we were invited to live like Christ. Here are some questions that we answered together:
1. What was Jesus’ purpose and process to talking to this woman? As with all of His interactions at this point in time, Christ is ultimately concerned with others knowing His true identity – the Messiah. Not unlike our goal in sharing Christ with others, the Lord’s approach was very simple and quite replicable. He began by sharing in her humanity by saying, “give me a drink” It is a significant activity to share life with someone else – whether at large scale or formal affairs or in regular daily life. Sharing an unforgettable experience or simply a cup of coffee with someone is a means of valuing them. From there Jesus has a conversation where he confronts her sin and reveals His identity. We agreed that this entire interaction is what love is. It is welcoming, it moves beyond social norms, it is confronting of the things that can cause us harm, and ultimately it reveals the true identity of the Messiah. This is a simple pattern of sharing Christ that can be used by any of us, anywhere in our life.
2. The “the disciples marveled” at Christ’s interaction with this woman. Culturally, he obliterated many fences that this woman lived behind: a) a gender divide that pictured inferiority b) she was of a false religious sect 3) gathering water in mid-day indicates her outcast moral status amongst her own people. And yet, Jesus’ pursues her for a high purpose: knowing Him. In response we asked, “who are those, whom we may interact with, that our friends would find surprising?” Put another way, are there categories of people who we are unlikely to share a drink with or talk to about Jesus Christ? Consider this question and then reflect on how a holy and perfect God has related to you, despite the sinfulness of your heart. He has overcome death, your rebellion, and your guilt. He will surely lead you to overcome your fears.
3. The Samaritan woman’s testimony was immediately received by her fellow people. But why? She spoke openly and with vulnerability. Her posture was “come and see.” Be encouraged that we need not know all the answers. We are the people God wants us to be right where we are. Being honest about our true condition as sinful and incapable in the hands of a redeeming God is our most powerful testimony.
4. In verse 41 we found it significant that many of the Samaritans believed, not based on miracles, emotions, or signs. It was Jesus’ words. Christians are a speaking people; telling those who will listen that Jesus is the Christ and inviting them to ‘come and see.’ This often begins by simply sharing a “drink of water.”
5. Lastly, John uses many images and metaphors in his gospel: light, bread, living water, vine, amongst others. But why? All of these involve different aspects of life in Christ. John grasps that life with God is beyond a mental ‘belief.’ It is all encompassing, joyful, satisfying, and nourishing. And as seen in this woman, a cleansing and refreshing alternative to the life she knew.