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The Great Evangelist

Scripture - John 4:1-42

Read 4:1-6. Since last Sunday (Nicodemus)

  • Jesus’ popularity has apparently spread

  • Jesus decides he needs to return to Galilee

  • Jesus had to travel through Samaria

  • Why? (geography or vocation?)

We have details of where we are

  • Jacob’s well

  • Sychar

  • In Samaria

  • And Jesus is tired

Read 4:7-15. Jesus’ question seems innocent enough – to us

  • The woman knows 2 societal conventions have been violated:

  • Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans

  • Jewish men didn’t converse with unknown women

  • She is so surprised that Jesus doesn’t get his drink!

  • Jesus answers: If you knew… you would have asked

Nicodemus thought Jesus was a teacher from God

  • The woman thinks Jesus is just a thirsty Jewish man

  • Jesus’ question moves the conversation to living water

Hydor zon is another double meaning phrase

  • It can be fresh, running water

  • This is the woman’s interpretation

  • It can mean water brimming with life

  • Since it is a gift of God, is this Jesus’ meaning?

The woman remains focused on the moment

  • You have no bucket; where do you get that living water?

  • Her focus is drinking water

  • Now she is offended; Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob?

  • She “knows” who Jesus is; she knows her ancestral lineage too

Jesus poses another question: Will you choose the old water, which is abundant but doesn’t quench thirst, or new water, which becomes a spring of living water?

  • Like the Spirit of God, which blows wherever it chooses, God’s streams of gushing water never run dry

  • Jesus makes an extraordinary offer, but the woman must choose

Her answer: Sir, give me this water.

  • Does she understand the promise or not?

  • We’re not sure; she says she doesn’t want to have to draw anymore

  • She seems stuck on drinking water, so Jesus turns the conversation

Read 4:16-19. Jesus again breaks social laws by asking a personal question

  • We must be careful interpreting the answer; Jesus makes no moral judgement

  • Instead, Jesus twice tells her she has spoken truthfully

  • John’s focus is not the woman, but Jesus

I have no husband is a surprising truth

  • Jesus’ ability to see & know is even more surprising

  • The woman replies, I see that you are a prophet.

  • So she moves the conversation to religious matters

Read 4:20-26. The reminder about Jews & Samaritans is front & center.

  • Jesus repeats the Jewish side of the argument, but only to transcend it

  • The hour is coming… & is now here.

  • If the woman knew who Jesus was, she would know that Gerizim & Jerusalem have lost their status as holy places.

  • God is Spirit, those who worship must worship in spirit & truth.

  • God’s presence is no longer limited to sanctuaries or traditions

Jesus’ very presence changes a word of anticipation – the hour is coming – to a word of fulfillment - & is now here.

  • I know that Messiah is coming. He will proclaim things.

  • Jesus speaks of the coming hour; she speaks of the coming One.

  • Jesus then “tears the veil”

  • I am, the one speaking to you.

  • Jesus uses the same language as Exodus 3:14: I am who I am.

  • With terrible timing, the disciples return from town.

Read 4:27-30. Did the woman understand? Did she get it?

  • John first focuses on the disciples confusion

  • Then we hear her witness:

  • Come & see

  • Jesus told me everything I have ever done

  • Can he be the Messiah?

  • And the town heads out to see Jesus

Skipping 4:31-38. It is another conversation based on misunderstandings.

  • This time about physical food & drink vs. vocational food & drink

  • Jesus doesn’t need lunch when he can do God’s work

Read 4:39-42. Many Samaritans believed because of the woman’s testimony.

  • They ask & Jesus stays 2 days in Sychar

  • Then many more believed because of his word.

  • Jewish/Samaritan relations become immaterial

  • This is truly the Savior of the world.

After hearing Jesus for themselves, they realize Jesus is not the Messiah they were expecting.

  • Traditional expectations pale in comparison to Jesus

  • Jesus offers new life possibilities to all

  • The time has come when worship is not limited to a mountain or Jerusalem

  • Jesus is the Savior of the world.

  • Jesus offers us living water – that gushes up within us to eternal life

Let us pray. O God, you quench our eternal thirst. You love us as your most precious creation & water is our most precious resource. May we be good stewards of both the water of the well & of your living water. Amen.

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