Jesus and the Woman of Samaria
4 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 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.
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 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.) 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.” 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? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 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.” 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.”
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “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. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 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.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
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?” So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him.
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 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. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. 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.”
After the two days he departed for Galilee. (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 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.
Jesus Heals an Official’s Son
So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
John 4 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The Gospel is for all people. No matter what race, title, social position, identity, past sins may be – the redemptive work of Jesus is for all. Sometimes we get preconceived ideas of who can be reached, who can be brought into wholeness and when we take such thoughts, we short change what the Holy Spirit can do in anyone.
After the Northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians, many Jews were taken into captivity. Assyria then sent their own people, foreigners, into the land of Israel to settle, tend to the crops and keep peace. As would be expected, in time an intermarriage of the 2 people groups Assyrians and the remaining Israelites took place. This mixed-race became known as impure in the eyes of the staunch Jews who lived in the southern kingdom. The pure Jews hated them and called them Samaritans. Consequently, the Samaritans set up their own alternate center for worship to parallel the temple in Jerusalem that stood until it was destroyed around 120 BC. Jewish people did everything they could to avoid Samaria as they felt it tainted and dirtied them to even set foot in the land.
Traveling through the area, Jesus sat down at Jacob’s well to rest while the disciples ran into town to get something to eat. In the heat of the day, a Samaritan woman came to draw water and a most remarkable conversation followed. Jesus broke all the social barriers in this conversation. First he spoke to a woman and not just any woman but a Samaritan. She also had a reputation that was of a sinner. No respectable Jewish man would speak to such a person. Sprinkled throughout the conversation we see Jesus did a phenomenal thing. He intrigued the woman and drew her into a much deeper talk. He met her where she was offering truth that sparked a thirst she was completely unaware she had. The focus of Jesus’ ministry was initially for the Jewish people only, but here we see He made that exception. Truly the rest of the Gospel would be spread in time to all people but His focus during His ministry was to the Jews. But this outcast was searching for something she didn’t even know of.
There are many people whom we probably do the same thing to. We hold preconceived ideas of who they are, how open they may be to Truth and yes even think at times there are some unreachable to the liberating Gospel of Jesus. Yet as Jesus points out to His questioning and dubious disciples once they return from town, “Lift up your eyes and look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35) – His point is that there are so many who are ripe for the Gospel. They may not even know it. They may not even be someone we would initially be drawn toward. As with this most unsuspecting and surprising belief the woman eventually had, there are many others who surround us every day who are at the same point or crossroads of faith. Set aside preconceived ideas about people. Rely on the Holy Spirit to direct your path and conversation to even the most surprising individuals. Very possibly any of us may have that Jacob’s well conversation today with someone.
John 4 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Jesus told him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”John 4:48 HCSB
Jesus used signs and wonders as a tool to lead people into faith. Later in His ministry, He began using parables in the same way. With both methods, there were those who believed and those who rejected Him. Sometimes we think that if someone would just experience a miracle of God, they would become a believer. When we look back at the history of the human race, we find this is simply not true. For example, Israel saw the glory of God many times in their history and went right back to sinning. Furthermore, Satan can use signs and wonder to deceive us (2 Th 2:9).
It is also important to consider who Jesus is addressing with His statement. He is back in Cana – Galilean territory. His statement to these Galileans (“you people”) is condemning because He knows their motives. Many of them came only to see the miraculous signs and wonders. If the only way we will believe in God is if He does something miraculous in our life, what does that say about our faith?
It is true, however, that Jesus’ signs and wonders would lead to Salvation for some. This particular story begins with a royal official who had enough faith to seek Jesus in the matter. Most likely, this official was not a Jewish man, and he had walked 40 miles round trip (2 days) from Capernaum to intercede for his son. This alone illustrated tremendous faith.
On the other hand, his struggle to believe is seen in how he addresses Jesus. First, he thought Jesus had to “come down” to Capernaum to heal his son. So, he was limited in His understanding of Jesus’ sovereignty geographically. But the second limitation is the fact that he believed Jesus was powerless if his boy died.
“Sir,” the official said to Him, “come down before my boy dies!”John 4:49 HCSB
This is such a foundational narrative illustrating the power of Jesus and what He would eventually accomplish at the cross. Death, sickness, and sin could not separate Him from fulfilling God’s purpose and plan. With one statement, Jesus not only healed the boy but did so without seeing him or touching him. He healed from 20 miles away and this is what spoke so deeply to this official. He went home to discover that the very hour Jesus had spoken that phrase, his boy was healed.
Jesus takes the little faith we have and overcomes our misguided thoughts. He meets us where we are and silences our doubts. This man was still skeptical of the distant healing when he arrived home. Even when we struggle to grasp His power and purpose, He is working to draw us in deeper. He demonstrates time and time again that He will deliver on what He has promised.