John 4:1-26 (ESVST)
Jesus and the Woman of Samaria
1 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.
In our last message, John had just explained to his disciples why he must decrease and why Jesus must increase. This was when John’s disciples were concerned that Jesus was baptizing and more people were going to him. John went on further to give testimony that Jesus was indeed the son of God that was sent by God and his words is from God and his words are true and those who believe in him will have eternal life.
Now. Here at he beginning of chapter 4, we see Jesus still at Judea but now leaving for Galilee. John says that the reason why Jesus was leaving was that he had heard that the Pharisees had heard that he was making and baptizing more disciples than John the Baptist. Although Jesus was not baptizing himself but his disciples were, it is clear that this was a good enough reason for Jesus to want to leave Judea and go back to Galilee. Why was this such a compelling reason for Jesus? Let’s look at it.
You remember back in Chapter 1, the Pharisees approached John the Baptist as he was baptizing and started questioning him about why he was baptizing if he was not Christ, Elijah or a Prophet. They wanted to know where he gets the authority to baptize. In the Old Testament. Jews had certain rituals that involved cleansing with water and one of these was the purification rite mentioned in
John 2:6 (ESVST)
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
John however told them that he does not have any authority and he is just a mere voice of the one coming whose shoe straps he is not worthy to untie and he told them that the one who sent him, told him to baptize.
I believe that Jesus did not want a confrontation at this stage with the Pharisees and that is the reason why he decided to leave Judea for Galilee.
4 And he had to pass through Samaria.
Jesus had to pass through Samaria to get to Galilee. Why does the bible use the “had” if there were so many other routes that Jesus could have taken. Several roads led from Judea to Galilee:one near the seacoast; another through the region of Perea; and one through the heart of Samaria. Even with the strong dislike between Jews and Samaritans, the Jewish historian Josephus relates that the custom of Judeans at the time of the great festivals was to travel through the country of the Samaritans because it was the shorter route. There is a reason why Jews and Samaritans disliked each other and will come to that just now. So, Jesus had all these routes, why then did he have to go through Samaria, was it because it was the shortest route or could there have been another reason. I believe that although the road was the shortest, Jesus knew that he was going to meet the Samaritan woman and was going to do the will of he who have send him. So, if Jesus was to the will of God, he had to pass through Samaria. As you see in this verse that we will discuss later
John 4:34 (ESVST)
Jesus said to them, “ My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
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.
These verses refer back to Gen. 48:22 where Jacob bequeathed a section of land to Joseph that he had purchased from the “sons of Hamor”. When the Jews returned from Egypt, they buried Joseph’s bones in that land at Shechem. This area became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants. The precise location of “Jacob’s well” has been set by a firm tradition among Jews, Samaritans, Muslims, and Christians and lies today in the shadow of the crypt of an unfinished Orthodox church. The term used here for “well” denotes a running spring, while in John 4:11–12 John used another term for “well” that means “cistern” or “dug- out well” indicating that the well was both dug out and fed by an underground spring. This spring is still active today.
Sychar, this town is probably identified with the modern village of Askar on the shoulder of Mount Ebal, opposite Mount Gerizim. A continuous line of tradition identifies Jacob’s well as lying about a half mile south of Askar.
Now that we know about Sychar and Jacob’s well, we see Jesus arriving at this well tired from his journey. He sat besides the well. Some of you may ask, how can Jesus be tired, can God get tired, well I don’t know but what I believe is that since Jesus was in a human form, the body was tired. John says it was about the sixth hour. Depending on wether you are using Roman or Jewish time. This could have meant 6pm or 12pm respectively. I believe that it could have been 12pm, hot and the reason why Jesus was sitting next to the well because he wanted water to quench his thirst and heat.
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.)
Why did Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans? Let’s look at.
When the nation of Israel split politically after Solomon’s rule, King Omri named the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel “Samaria” (1 Kings 16:24). The name eventually referred to the entire district and sometimes to the entire northern kingdom, which had been taken captive (capital, Samaria) by Assyria in 722 b. c. (2 Kings 17:1–6). While Assyria led most of the populace of the 10 northern tribes away (into the region which today is northern Iraq), it left a sizable population of Jews in the northern Samaritan region and transported many non- Jews into Samaria. These groups intermingled to form a mixed race through intermarriage. Eventually tension developed between the Jews who returned from captivity and the Samaritans. The Samaritans withdrew from the worship of Yahweh at Jerusalem and established their worship at Mount Gerizim in Samaria (John 4:20–22). Samaritans regarded only the Pentateuch as authoritative. As a result of this history, Jews repudiated Samaritans and considered them heretical. Intense ethnic and cultural tensions raged historically between the two groups so that both avoided contact as much as possible. So, it makes sense why this women would react like this when Jesus asked water from her. Another thing, for a Jewish man to speak to a woman in public—let alone to ask from her, especially being a Samaritan, a drink—was a definite breach of rigid social custom of Jews as well as a marked departure from the social animosity that existed between the two groups. Further, a “rabbi” and religious leader did not hold conversations with women of ill repute, meaning those women that are regarded as indecesent.
So, this would have taken the Samaritan woman by surprise and caught her attention and interest in what Jesus had to say. First lesson of Evangelism: Draw the person’s interest and attention to what you have to say.
In the next message, we will see how Jesus evangelises the woman from sin to repentance.
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.”