Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Investigating Jesus - Part 26
In John 4, w we come to see somebody who accepted Jesus for who he was. Jesus went via Samaria as it was the shortest route back to Galilee. It was hot. Jesus was thirsty and wanted a drink. His disciples had gone into town to get food. So, he asks a Samaritan woman to fetch Him some water from the well. That he asked a Samaritan would have been bad enough, but to also talk to a woman. What does this tell us about the woman? We don’t know the name of this woman, but by looking at this conversation between Jesus and her, we do discover several things about her.
We can see straight away that she was a Samaritan. There was equal animosity between Jews and Samaritans, as seen in “For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.” (John 4:9) This could equally be translated as “for Jews do not ask any favours of the Samaritans”. The Samaritans were a mixed-race people of both Jewish and Assyrian descent from the time of the division of Israel into two parts and the annexation of the Northern kingdom by Assyria, who had repopulated the area. (2 Kings 17).
She was therefore an outcast, that is why she was fetching water at the hottest part of the day. But not only because she was a Samaritan but also highly likely due to her sexual immorality having had 5 husbands and currently in a 6th relationship (John 4:18). This Samaritan woman also affirms that she was waiting for the Messiah (John 4:25).
This encounter not only tells us about the Samaritan woman, it also reveals more about Jesus Himself.
In showing love for the woman, he transcended cultural barriers. Ordinary Jewish men would never ask a Samaritan woman for a drink. Hence the disciples’ reaction in John 4:27. But Jesus is no ordinary man, his love is for all, whether they be rich, learned, male, female, wanted and unwanted. This act shows that Jesus’ offer of salvation is for all people, and not just the Jews.
The woman misunderstood the living water Jesus offered as she probably thought he meant running water or water from a river. But the living water Jesus offered was spiritual water to cleanse her from sin and give eternal life. Elsewhere in the Old Testament, God is described as “a fountain of living water” (Jeremiah 2:13). When the disciples returned, the woman left her water jar and went back to the town to tell other people about Jesus (John 4:29-30). Many people came to faith in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony (John 4:39-42) and knew Him as the saviour of the world (John 4:42). As Jesus’ ministry continues, we know that he spoke to people regardless of their social status, education, nationality or gender.
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