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
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.