Summary: Jesus goes on a special mission to the Samaritan adulterous woman.
3.8.2020 John 4:5-26 - Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
Come and Taste what the Water of Life Can Do!
Today’s Gospel lesson takes us on a small and individual mission of Jesus in Samaria. He was heading from Judea back to Galilee, to try and get away from the Pharisees for a while. But instead of going around Samaria, which most Jews tended to do, Jesus went through it. Verse 4 says that Jesus “had to go” there. John doesn’t say why the necessity, but I would venture to say that His desire to save this adulterous woman drove him to be at Jacob’s well at this certain time. He planned this meeting. They may have hustled to get there, and it tired him out.
It makes you think about how organized Jesus was in planning out His ministry, and how much control He really had over it all. Think of the way He had them obtain the donkey at Jesus’ triumphal entry. Jesus knew where they needed to go and who they needed to talk with. He knew what they would find and where they would find it. When they needed money to pay taxes, Jesus told them to go fishing and open the mouth of the first fish they caught - it would have a coin inside its mouth. Life seems like “time” and “chance,” but God always has a plan through it all. He works through all of the chaos, and wants everyone to be saved. He wanted this woman to be saved. He wants you to be saved too. You are a part of His mission.
It’s an amazing thing that Jesus made a special journey for this woman. She wouldn’t seem to be the best of prospects to go out of your way for. It was like she wanted to get in an argument, especially about religion, and she had her own ideas about what was right. She wanted to argue with Jesus about where they worshiped and who had the most authentic sites to worship on. She didn’t really care for the Jews, because she thought they were a bunch of snobs (and she was partly right on that one). She also had lived a very adulterous lifestyle, having been married and divorced multiple times and then living with a man who was not her husband either, so she was living in an adulterous relationship. Looking at this woman most people might think, “How could anyone get through to her? Who would want to?” Well, Jesus did.
This shows us God’s zeal and God’s love, His wisdom and His grace. There are always people that want to argue religion. They want to attack Christianity too, because of all of the hypocrisy out there, and maybe because of their own guilt or ignorance. They have a chip on their shoulders and they aren’t very pleasant to talk with. But that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want them. Shouldn’t we too? We shouldn’t necessarily just write them off because they are angry or contentious.
Jesus shocked her just by initiating a conversation with her. It wasn’t normal for Jews to speak to Samaritans, and men didn’t usually address women in their culture. But Jesus didn’t care about that. He wanted to save this woman. He just needed to find the right place to talk with her. This was the place. She was alone. They were both in need of water. He would try to use HIS need to fill HER need. What’s the worst thing that could happen? She would still be on the way to hell if Jesus said nothing and tried nothing.
If you can just get people to sit down and talk for awhile, sometimes you can get in these meaningful conversations with them. It starts with a smile, a “hi”, or an honest question. Ask them something. Have a coffee. Grab a bite to eat. Go out for a drink. Take some time to talk with people. If they’ve given up on church or religion, find out why. It doesn’t hurt to get in a conversation and find out where they’re at. You never know who God set you up to talk with ahead of time. I’m preaching this to myself as well. I don’t stop to talk with them as often as I could or should.
Jesus and the Samaritan woman were at Jacob’s well, one that was hundreds of years old. The Samaritans had some great historic sites in northern Israel. They had the original sites where the temple was before it moved to Jerusalem. They also had the two mountains where God pronounced blessings and curses after the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land. Who was to say that they couldn’t worship God in northern Israel, even though they didn’t have the Temple?