Summary: Do you ever feel like you have to keep everyone at arms length because you just don’t trust them? Perhaps you feel like who you are is just not acceptable. Jesus comes to such a person in John 4 and engages them in a patient yet revealing dialog that chan
Picture this: Your political beliefs put you in the small minority. The majority party, in fact, shuns you. Socially you are considered not really part of the nation because your ancestors were immigrants. Spiritually your stands made you unpopular, and leave you confused. Morally you have made some bad decisions, the same bad decisions over and over and can’t seem to break out of it. Even your gender makes it very hard to survive, let alone thrive. But survive you must. A person in that position avoids everyone and trusts no one. It would be a very lonely and frustrating and hard life.
Enter into that life someone who should for all of the above reasons have nothing to do with you, and yet they seem to not only care but know you in a way that no one does-no one could, and who seems to have answers to questions so deep you had been afraid to ask them.
That’s where we find today’s study in John 4, as Jesus goes to a place no self respecting Jew would go, to talk to a person no one would talk to, in order to bring life into an existence that felt so dead.
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Jesus is God, yet He cared so much for John that He left, rather than make John move on. No competition of ministries here. Jesus took the lower place. Amazing. Last time we saw John take the lower place-are they competing for who can be humblest? Of course not. Jesus really is the King of Kings, yet the heart of God is one of such humbleness that he makes way for another human to continue ministry unabated. What lessons for us!
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Samaria is located in the northwestern part of Israel. It cut Israel in half and a strict Jew would go east of the Jordan to avoid having to go through Samaria on his way to Galilee. Samaria was settled with mostly non-Jews after the Assyrians deported the Jews of Israel in 724 BC. The Assyrians sent back some priests from the Jeroboam cult after wild animals started attacking the immigrants. They thought they should appease the gods of the land. Those living in Judah treated those in Samaria as non-Jews, though both claimed to worship Yahweh.
Jeroboam had split Israel in two halves after Solomon’s son Rehoboam refused to listen to good counsel. Jeroboam created his own religion because he was afraid that if northern Israel went back to Jerusalem each year they would eventually revert to a united nation. He was not worshipping Yahweh, however, but a calf idol. It was Yahweh worship in name only and it wasn’t true. Even today you can have groups that claim Jesus but are not Christian and if you believe their doctrine it will do you no good when you die. The true gospel is that Jesus, God in the flesh, came to earth and became fully a physical man, died a voluntary death on the cross as a free gift to us and the only way to wash us from sin. He then raised up from the dead as proof and lives forever as man and God.
Needless to say, there was not love lost between these two groups of people. Jesus, however, saw no distinction because all are lost and need a Savior.
Notice also that Jesus was tired. He really was a human. Sometimes as we serve the Lord we get tired too. That’s okay. It’s not bad to attend to our physical needs. Later, Paul will talk about our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, so we should take care of them so as to be able to minister for the Lord (1 Cor 6:19).