John 4: Love in unlikely places

December 11th, 2006

Many people in the world still live in conditions of desperate poverty. Life in the slums today is similar in many respects to the life faced by the Samaritan woman in today’s reading. She had to walk a long distance each day to get water. She had difficulty finding a good man, having already worked her way through six partners. She probably faced significant health risks. She was far from being a perfect person. But she was the person whom Jesus chose and to whom Jesus offered living water, such that someone who drinks it will never be thirsty again.

John’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 4

4:1 When the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 4:2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but his disciples did), 4:3 he left Judea, and went to Galilee. 4:4 He needed to pass through Samaria. 4:5 So he came to a Samaritan town called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 4:6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus was tired from his journey and sat down beside the well. It was about midday. 4:7 A Samaritan woman came to fetch water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 4:8 His disciples had gone off to the town to buy food.

4:9 The Samaritan woman asked, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 4:10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

4:11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. So where did you get that living water? 4:12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as did his children and his cattle?” 4:13 Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 4:14 but whoever drinks the water that I give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give people will become in them wells of water springing up to eternal life.”

4:15 The woman said, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, and don’t have to come all the way here to fetch water.” 4:16 Jesus said, “Go, call your husband, and come back here.” 4:17 The woman answered, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband,’ 4:18 because you have had five husbands, and your current man is not your husband. You spoke the truth.”

4:19 The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. 4:20 Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews say that Jerusalem is the place where people should worship.” 4:21 Jesus said, “Believe me, a time is coming when you won’t worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 4:22 You worship what you don’t know. We worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews. 4:23 But a time is coming, and has already arrived, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, because the Father looks for people like that to be his worshippers. 4:24 God is spirit, and people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

4:25 The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming,” (the one who is called Christ). “When he comes he will explain everything.” 4:26 Jesus said, “That’s me, the person speaking to you.” 4:27 Just then his disciples arrived. They were surprised that he was speaking with a woman, but no one asked, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 4:28 So the woman left her water jar, and went off to the town, telling the people, 4:29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I’ve done. Can this be the Christ?”

4:30 They came out of the town, walking towards him. 4:31 In the meantime, the disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat.” 4:32 But he said, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about.” 4:33 The disciples asked each other, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 4:34 Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me, and to accomplish his work. 4:35 Don’t you say, ‘There are four months left before the harvest?’ I tell you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields. They are white for harvest already. 4:36 Someone who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that the person who sows and the person who reaps can rejoice together. 4:37 The saying is true, ‘One sows, and another reaps.’ 4:38 I sent you to reap what you haven’t worked for. Others have worked, and you have benefitted from their work.”

4:39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I’ve done.” 4:40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them. He stayed there two days. 4:41 Many more believed because of what he said. 4:42 They told the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you told us. Now we have heard for ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.”

4:43 After the two days he left and went to Galilee. 4:44 Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honour in his own country. 4:45 So when he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast, because they had also gone to the feast. 4:46 Jesus arrived again in Cana in Galilee, where he had changed the water into wine. A royal official had a son who was sick in Capernaum, 4:47 and when he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee he went to him and asked him to come and heal his son, because he was at the point of death. 4:48 Jesus said, “You people just won’t believe unless you see signs and miracles.”

4:49 The official said to him, “Sir, please come before my child dies.” 4:50 Jesus said, “Go. Your son lives.” The man believed what Jesus said to him, and he left. 4:51 As he was going, his servants met him to tell him, “Your child is alive!” 4:52 So he asked them what time he had begun to get better. They said, “The fever left him yesterday at around 1pm.” 4:53 The father knew that it was at exactly the same time that Jesus had said, “Your son lives.” He believed, and so did his whole household. 4:54 This was the second miraculous sign done by Jesus after moving from Judea to Galilee.

Entry Filed under: Hope

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » Bri&hellip  |  April 11th, 2009 at 8:03 am

    […] Jesus arrived at the well in Sychar, as reported in John chapter 4, he was thirsty, but he had no bucket and the well was deep. Sychar was inhabited by the dreaded […]

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