Last week behind the words we found these facts.
- there was a history between the Jews and the Samaritans
- Whether to worship God in the Temple in Jerusalem or on Mt Gerizim
- We are there for the beginning of a new stage in Jesus’ ministry
- It was the sixth hour of the day, rather late for her to come for water she would need for house hold chores
- the reason of going through Galilee to get to Jerusalem
- The possibility of a theological point
- The woman had no idea who she was talking to.
This week we will read of the conversation between Jesus and the woman, the arrival of the disciples and her departure then Jesus’s conversation with the disciples and finally the reaction of the town people.
When we get to verses 5-6 there is a detailed description of the location of this conversation between Jesus and this woman. The location of the well and whose well it is provides a reference to the importance of patriarchal traditions. These traditions will have an influence on their conversation. (Patriarchal -having a system that relates to a society or government controlled by men.)
Reading carefully we note that Jesus arrives at the well in the heat of the day (about the sixth hour NIV) He is tired from his journey and is in need of water. There are some things here we can glean that add a richness to this story and as always history adds in part of our understanding scripture. There will be thirteen exchanges between the two of them. There are two sections to these exchanges, each one introduced by a request or command from Jesus. The first being vv. 7-15 “give me a drink” the second occurring in vv. 16-26 “go call your husband”. As we continue to read this remarkable story the walls continue to figuratively fall. The social conventions of the day forbid a Jewish man to initiate a conversation with an unknown woman. It was also not proper to engage in a public conversation with a woman. Jews did not invite contact with Samaritans. There was no social intercourse between them. We also see that as in other conversations there were times Jesus refused to answer the question directly, he lets her answer the question for herself…”if you knew”. She hears only the words living water. The concept of such a thing was not within her reasoning…again, she does not know who she is talking to. She is thinking, this man who cannot acquire water for himself now offers me running water. As readers of this story we must realize the reasoning of her thoughts. We know about the living water but she only knows and understands the literal meaning. We do not want to confuse but the woman sees no visible means available to Jesus to draw the water and she challenges Jesus by simply asking “you are not greater than Jacob, are you?” You have nothing to use to draw the water from the well and only a miracle similar to the one traditionally to Jacob at Haran could produce the water he needed. Jesus responds by asserting to her that Jacob’s gift may have been miraculous and abundant but it would not quench her thirst permanently. In these two verses vv. 13-14 Jesus says that his water will become a spring in her gushing up to eternal life. Her response indicates that she has once again missed the point entirely….
Consider these verses….
27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him.
Verses 39-42 are a fitting end to the story of the woman at the well, pay close attention to verses 41 – 42.
39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
It is hard to know when to back away from the keyboard there is so much here that a surface read misses.
-Jesus challenges and breaks down boundaries.. the boundaries between chosen people and rejected people, male and female
–Jesus offers the Samaritan woman the gift of God v.10 and revealed His identity to her vv.25-26
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
-read carefully because this hate of other people and nations is ever present today. Across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe
-She is the first person to whom he boldly makes known His identity. Here in this verse 26 is the Revelation we wrote of earlier.
-the despised Samaritans get to spend two days with the “Savior of the world.
There is more but for now may we all have that Samaritan experience. May we be the one to whom the good news comes in unexpected places and at unexpected times.
Life is Good