Summary: The Savior meets us right where we are.
It may seem a little unnecessary at first...sort of stating the obvious, to call Jesus “Master Evangelist”. The word evangelist means, ‘messenger’, or ‘one sent out’, and He is the one who has sent out every messenger of God; whether man or angels.
Since it is His message that they bring; the message of His redeeming love, then we might say, “Well, of course Jesus is the master of evangelists.”
But He is also the Master Evangelist; knowing the heart and mind of the individual, perfectly reading their needs and perceiving their most secret desires, their most private reasons for personal shame, He perfectly address each one.
When the Pharisees challenged Him in anger, He refused to answer them. When they chided Him in envy, He warned them. When they tried to be clever and trick Him, He confronted them head-on and closed their mouths every time.
When the crowd brought to Him the woman caught in adultry, he sent them scampering away like roaches when the light goes on, then turned and gently restored her self-esteem, assured her, admonished her, and sent her away knowing she was loved with a true love, not the kind that is found only in the bed of adulterous men.
Whenever someone came to Him, sincerely seeking truth, it didn’t matter who they were, or their station in life; they got the answers most helpful to them as individuals.
Nicodemus, the Pharisee, came to Him in cover of darkness, and although he formed his question as though from his entire group of peers, Jesus’ answer spoke directly to Nicodemus himself. “You must be born again”.
In the case of Nicodemus, Jesus chided him for not knowing truths that should be known by an esteemed ruler of the Jews and a student of the Law and the Prophets.
He preached Nicodemus a sermon that theologians have used to fill volumes upon volumes of commentaries, because it is so rich and full of divine knowledge and wisdom.
But today we’re going to see Jesus use a much simpler approach, to a much simpler person. Not a Pharisee, not a student of the scriptures, not even a Jew accepted in Judean society; and worse, not even accepted in her own society because of her own reputation.
The Master Evangelist once more sees through the facades, through the outward appearances, straight to the needs of the heart, and meets them with the precision of a master surgeon.
Let’s start with a brief history lesson.
After King Solomon’s death, Jeroboam split the kingdom, North and South. He introduced calf worship and set up idols on the hills.
In the Southern kingdom, Jezebel brought in Baal worship, and the people bowed down to false gods all over the land.
That is really a ‘Reader’s Digest’ version of what was going on, but the end result is that in 723 BC the Northern kingdom was taken into captivity, and the Southern kingdom sometime later.
The people were carried away to Babylon, but many Assyrians were brought in to establish themselves in the land and more or less hold it for their allies the Babylonians.
There were many Jews in the outlying villages and in the Western part of the land that were not uprooted, because they posed no threat to the Babylonians, and over time, they intermarried with the occupying Assyrians, thus creating a kind of half-breed Jew/Assyrian culture.
After the dispersion, when God brought the Jews back into the land from Babylonian captivity (70 years later), the Jews flooded back to Judea and Jerusalem, but despised these Jews who had inbred with the enemy and were now the Samaritans. They saw them as traitors and defilers of the faith, and thus, there was a great deal of animosity between the two groups.
The Jews refused to allow the Samaritans to worship in the temple, so the Samaritans established their place of worship in Mt Gerizim. The Samaritans also only accepted the first five books of the bible (The books of Moses) as scripture; and rejected the poetical books and the prophets.
So here is the setting. Most Jews traveling either North to Galilee or South to Judea would cross the Jordan and add three days to their journey, rather than pass through Samaria.
But we’re told here that Jesus ‘had to pass through Samaria’. It doesn’t say why He had to, (perhaps only because the Father had told Him during His nightly prayer that He had a divine appointment with a woman by Jacob’s well...we can’t know for sure), but he had to.
As He and His disciples neared Sychar, He was hot and tired, and sat down to rest by Jacob’s well, while the disciples went to find a Kwik Stop for roast beef subs, chips and Mountain Dew.