Summary: The text records the effects of Jesus’ witness upon a woman & then through the women upon the Samaritan village. Strangely, it also includes the effect of witnessing upon Jesus. God changes others, the world, & us as we bear witness to Jesus.
JOHN 4: 27-38
THE WOMAN’S WITNESS
With Jesus’ declaration that He is the prophesied Messiah the conversation has reached its summit. The recounting of Jesus and the Samaritan woman might have closed with Jesus’ evangelical witness and testimony as it did with Nicodemus. The record though continues with the effects of Jesus’ witnessing experience, first upon the woman and then through the woman upon the Samaritan village. Strangely, it also includes the effect of witnessing upon Jesus.
God changes others, the world, and us as we bear witness to Jesus (CIT). Yet Jesus would not only have us bear witness, He would have us join Him in leading others to the eternal life which is only found in Him.
I. HIS DISCIPLES’ CONFIDENCE, 27-30.
II. GOD’S SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE, 31-34.
III. WAGES FOR WITNESSING, 35-38.
Verse 27 records the disciples’ return. At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?”
Jesus’ disciples, who had left to get food (4:8), now return and were astonished that He is talking with a woman, much less a Samaritan. They were likely thinking about the prohibitions of tradition and customs that forbade a man to talk casually with a woman. [They may also have been intrigued that Jesus would engage a woman theologically. The rabbis taught that theological education, that is, instruction in the law, was for men alone. To teach women or girls was not only thought a waste of time, but a profaning of sacred things.] Jesus disregards such custom and here is talking to a singularly irreligious woman about matters of utmost spiritual profundity. They respected Jesus too highly to question His actions. The disciples had learned that Jesus had good reasons for His actions, even when they were strange and radical.
The disciples’ return also breaks up Jesus’ conversation as seen in verse 28. So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men,
The woman, excited by Jesus’ statement about Himself and because of the arrival of the disciples, left and went to the village (Sychar). In her excitement of discovery she forgot her water jar, though that was the reason she had originally come to the well. It was more important to her now to share her new faith with others. Her zeal to share her discovery made her leave behind anything that would hinder her. “She abandoned the bringing of water for the bringing of men.” (Morris. )
Two things happen to those who find Christ. Something begins happens in us and something begins to happen through us.
Verse 29 gives the woman’s testimony concerning Jesus. “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?”
At her village her words “a Man who told me everything I ever did,” were bound to stir interest. Perhaps in that village some who heard her had been partners in her past life. Perhaps they wondered, Could this One also know about us also?
Then she focuses their attention with the question of all questions, “Could this be the Christ?” [More literally, her question was, “This couldn’t be the Messiah, could it, or don’t suppose this could be the Christ, do you?” The question expected a tentative negative answer.] She framed the question this way, probability, because she knew the people would not respond favorably to a dogmatic assertion from a woman, especially one of her reputation. Just as Jesus had captured her attention by curiosity, so she raised the people’s curiosity. Her zeal and her invitation spark enough interest that many will decide to investigate the matter for themselves.