Summary: Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman in John 4, who has a John 3 experience. Are we telling those around us about our Messiah, despite cultural boundaries or personal prejudices?
Main Text: John 4:7-26, also 27-29, 39-42
I. The Real Encounter (4:7-26)
-----A. The Samaritan Woman's Impressions of Jesus
----------1. First Impression: I don't really understand who You are… (11)
----------2. You are a Prophet! (19)
----------3. You are the Messiah! (26ff.)
---------------a. Meaning of Messiah
---------------b. Parallel: 'Christ'/Christos
-----B. Who Jesus Revealed Himself to be
----------1. Non-discriminating (4:7, 4:40-41) - willing to save anyone
----------2. Source of living water (4:13-14) - gives spiritual life
----------3. Prophet (16-18) - knows that which is hidden
----------4. Messiah (26) - the chosen one of God who came to save His people
II. The Aftermath (4:27-29, 4:39-42)
-----A. She Told Others (4:27-29)
----------1. Importance of telling everyone, regardless of cultural dictation
----------2. Her encounter was fruitful
-----B. People had a Transformative Experience with Jesus (4:39-42)
----------1. Importance of a real experience with Jesus
----------2. Our need to bring others to this transformation!
Going back to John 3, we see Nicodemus, one of the chief priests, come to Jesus by night. Jesus stresses the need to be 'born again', not of natural means, but by spiritual regeneration through faith in Him. We see a confused religious elite, yet in John 4, we see part of the process of a real encounter with Jesus as He is, and we see the lowly Samaritans serve as a foil, putting their faith in Jesus immediately.
The Samaritans were a people looked down upon by the Jewish culture. Back then, if you were a Samaritan who tried to associate with a Jew, it would be like wearing UNC face paint, clothes, and gear to a Duke game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Though many looked on these Samaritans as secondary citizens, Jesus had a different view.
Samaritans believed in the Torah and nothing else (the Law, not the Prophets). They also claimed to have a better and older copy of the Torah than the Jews. In return, and also as a result of their history of Ba'al worship, they were not allowed to participate in Temple worship in Jerusalem. Some even believed that you would be unclean if you went through Samaria (Russell, Samaritans).
In today's message, we see Jesus going to the Samaritan people, revealing Himself as Messiah, and being made known to the people that were of low status to the majority people. We will look at the real encounter with Jesus that the people had, as well as the evangelistic aftermath that followed.
Our text is the bulk of John 4, but I want to focus on the encounter and the aftermath, so we will start with verse 7. I've entitled this message, 'Let's Tell the World about Our Messiah' as a tribute to the evangelistic work that Jesus fostered and the people obediently continued after they met Him.
But before we start in this text, let us first pray.
Beginning of John 4 --
4:1-6 - Geographic explanation/background
1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
Jesus had a really keen sense to the appropriate place and timing of His ministry. He knew how people would react, and He knew where to be. He went to Galilee, and on the way, he had to go through Samaria.
Reasons for the trip:
1. To avoid the Pharisees and chief priests, who were jealous of the attention Jesus was getting. They were concentrated in Judea and could have ended Jesus' ministry before it was time for it to end, so Jesus took a trip to avoid this occurrence.
"His popularity, manifesting itself in the number of his baptisms, was exciting that envy and opposition which caused the rulers of Judea eventually to take the life of Jesus (Matthew 27:18)" (Fourfold Gospel, John 4:1-2)
2. John was put in Jail, which was likely another reason for the journey. He was taken out of Galilee, and the people could have been fertile soil for some meaningful ministry.
3. Perhaps Jesus also had a sense that He was supposed to go there as an objective part of His ministry. As He says later in John 4, His food is to do the Father's Will.
Jesus went to Sychar (Su-kar), a city in Samaria
Near the plot of land Jacob gave to Joseph about 1900 years prior