Summary: There are various degrees in the walk of faith. We must continue in obedience to the Word of the Lord.
There Is More to Faith Than Meets the Eye
The 1992 Summer Olympics featured two tremendously poignant moments. American sprinter Gail Devers, the clear leader in the 100-meter hurdles, tripped over the last barrier. She agonizingly pulled herself to her knees and crawled the last five meters, finishing fifth--but finishing.
Even more heart-rending was the 400-meter semifinal in which British runner Derek Redmond tore a hamstring and fell to the track. He struggled to his feet and began to hobble, determined to complete the race. His father ran from the stands to help him off the track, but the athlete refused to quit. He leaned on his father, and the two limped to the finish line together, to deafening applause.
SOURCE: John E. Anderson, "What Makes Olympic Champions?", Reader’s Digest, February 1994, p. 120. From Paul Fritz on Sermon Central @ https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon-illustrations/11149/endurance-by-paul-fritz?ref=TextIllustrationSerps
One of the lessons of Jesus' two-day excursion in Samaria on His way to Galilee is the progressive nature of faith. Faith is not a one-time event. It is a journey.
The Samaritan woman was a witness to the entire city and they believed her word. It was genuine faith, and it was perfect as it was, but faith is not static there is always more because the object of our faith is infinite.
After spending two days with Jesus they no longer believed in Jesus merely because of the testimony of the Samaritan woman. They believed based on their personal relationship with Jesus. The Samaritan woman was a witness, like John the Baptist and the author of John. She told them about her encounter with Jesus and it was sufficient to a degree. As we read John, we are reading an eye-witness account, but the intention of the author is not that we merely believe in a historical Jesus. He wants us to have a personal encounter with Jesus.
The Samaritans accept Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of the world.
Once Jesus has accomplished His goal, He finishes His journey to Galilee. The Samaritans as believers are a part of the collective bride.
Next, we hear words from Jesus that may indicate a few things.
For Jesus, Himself testified, that a prophet has no honor in His own country (v. 44).
Either this statement indicates why Jesus' visit only lasted two days: because familiarity breeds contempt. Or, it may indicate that in John's Gospel the author sees Jesus as a Judean because of His birth in Bethlehem. Either way, when Jesus arrives in Galilee the people receive Him gladly. They are some of the same people who witnessed Jesus' signs at Jerusalem earlier in the book when He cleansed the temple.
Jesus finally arrived at Cana of Galilee and this closes a unit of John. What began at Cana with the miracle of turning water into wine comes full circle as Jesus performs a second sign.
This second sign is an indicator of the nature of faith growing similar to the story of the Samaritan woman and her village. It begins with the faith of one and grows into the faith of many.
The word translated "nobleman" is literally "royal." It is used of people at the top of the hierarchy of the society of the first-century Mediterranean world. A "royal" could be the slave of a person of means, a soldier, etc. This nobleman is similar to the centurion in the synoptic Gospels. However, he comes to Jesus himself.
This is an act of faith. There are moments when our faith is motivated by and fear or a need.
He recognized the authority of Jesus. We are not told in John that Jesus has healed anyone up to this point, yet this man comes to Jesus because surely if Jesus can turn water into wine he can heal his sick son, who is at the point of death. Desperation has a way of motivating us to try anything. Sometimes the beginning of our faith is out of necessity. Jesus does not despise this. Jesus does not despise your doubt or fear if you will bring it to Him. Just as He turns water into wine, He can turn fear into faith, if you will do whatever He tells you to do.
The parallels between the two miracles are numerous.
The nobleman looks to Jesus to do something.
Depending on how we read Jesus' words they almost seem like a rebuff as He told Mary that the deficiency of wine had nothing to do with them.
Except you see signs and wonders, you will not believe (v 48).
This is a statement of fact. It sounds very similar to Thomas' words:
The other disciples, therefore, said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe (.