Jesus and His disciples were once more in the land of Judea,
and John was near Salim, also baptizing many people who came to
him. He had not yet been put in prison, as later he was (John
John's followers got into a discussion with a Jew about the
rites of some of the purification laws. It must have triggered
something in their minds, because they came to John saying,
" Teacher, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you
gave witness, He is not far away, also baptizing, and many are
going to Him. We are confused about where you stand with God and
what ministry is left for you to do. "
John looked at them in patient understanding at the
puzzlement showing on their faces, and explained to them:
" No one can do anything that is truly of God unless it
comes from and is given to him to do from God. You yourselves
heard me say openly to all that I am not the Christ, but that I
was sent by God to make and prepare a way before Him. The one who
has the bride is the bridegroom, and his friend, who stands
besides him to hear him, rejoices greatly to hear him. So it is
that I joy in hearing the voice of the Christ. I am full of joy,
so I want you also to be. The Christ must increase in popularity
and ministry, while I must decrease.
He who comes from above, who once lived in heaven with God,
is above all, much greater than I. For he who is of the earth
and not from heaven, as I am, belongs to the earth, speaks as an
earthling. He who comes from heaven is then above all earthly
persons. He truly bears witness to that which He has both seen
and heard, as He once lived in heaven. Yet few will receive His
testimony. But for those who do, they will have set the seal to
attest to everyone that God is indeed true to His word and
The very special one that God has sent utters the pure words
of that God. For to Him the Spirit is given not my measure, in
bits and pieces, but in its entire fullness. The Father God loves
the Son, and all things are committed into His hands. So he who
believes in the Son will have eternal life; he who does not obey
the Son shall not see eternal life, but will face the wrath and
punishment of God " (John 3:25-36).
JESUS TEACHES THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AT THE WELL
Jesus heard via the grape-vine, that the Pharisee religious
party had heard that Jesus was baptizing and getting more popular
among the people than John. Jesus Himself did not do the literal
baptizing, but He had His disciples doing that for Him, yet
it was all under His authority. All this was going to cause much
problems for Jesus, way sooner than He wanted or wished. So He
decided to leave the area of Judea and go back up north to
Galilee. Now, to go from Judea to Galilee you had to pass through
an area of land called Samaria.
This was only a relatively small area of Palestine, and it
was not the famous land area of the Old Testament called Samaria.
You may want to look at the maps in the back of many Bible to
compare the Samaria of Jesus' day with that of the time of the
kings of Israel and Judah under what we call the Old Testament of
the Bible. There is a huge difference.
For Jesus to go north and get back to Galilee He had to walk
through this small land area called Samaria (John 4:1-4).
Within this little Samaria land was a people known as
Samaritans. They were a very religious people as a whole. The
Jewish Encyclopedia (that most large public Libraries posses) has
a long in-depth article on these people, who are still in
existence today in Palestine, though there is only about 1,000 of
them or less.
Those Samaritans claim descent from Jacob, one of the great
fathers of ancient Israel, and more specifically from Joseph, one
of the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. In the time of
Christ, they had their own Temple, Priesthood and sacrificial
system. They only accepted the books of Moses, the first five
books of the OT, as their Bible. They also looked for a coming
Messiah from God, but some of their basic religious teachings
(such as having their own Temple and priesthood) was so far from
what the Jews in Judea and Jerusalem taught, that the religious
Jews of Judea and the rest of Palestine, hated them with a
passion, and would have nothing to do with them.
When you also understand how most Jewish women were treated
and looked upon by many of the Jewish religious teachers of the
day, as kind of second class citizens, undeserving of much if any
attention when it came to religious matters, then what the
apostle John relates to us about Jesus meeting with and talking
"religion" to this Samaritan woman at a well, is all that more
amazing. What He did was certainly amazing to His disciples, as
they had grow up in a Jewish religious world that was many times
far removed from that which was really of God.
Jesus came to a city of Samaria called Sychar. It was near
the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph many centuries
earlier. There was a water well there called "Jacob's well."
Jesus was getting very tired from walking and sat down to
rest beside this well. It was nearing the hottest part of the
day, about noon. With the sun blazing down from above, the
coolness of the well, with the thought of a nice cold drink, was
very appealing to Jesus.
At the same time up walks a woman from Samaria to collect
water from the well in her container. Jesus' disciples had all
gone to the city to buy food. He had no container to drop down
into the well and retrieve any water.
" I would like you to give me a drink please " said Jesus to
the woman. With utter astonishment the woman replied, " How on
earth is it that you being a Jew, talk and ask me for a drink,
when you know I'm a Samaritan woman? "
John informs his readers that the Jews had no dealings
whatsoever with Samaritans (John 4:5-9).
Jesus now started on what would be a religious conversation
that would lead to great results over the next two days.
" If you knew the very gift of God that sits before you, and
who it actually is that is talking to you and asking you for a
drink of physical water, it would be you who would be asking Him
for the living water that He could give you. "
The woman again looked at Jesus in amazement and said, "
Sir, you speak strangely, for you have no container to draw water
from the well which is very deep, so how could you possibly get
any what you call living water from it? Are you greater than
our father Jacob who gave us the well, and drank from it himself,
as did also his sons and his cattle? "
" Oh, everyone who drinks of this water, " said Jesus, "
shall thirst once more, but whoever drinks of the water that I
shall give them will never thirst. The water that I give will
become like a spring of water welling up and flowing constantly
to eternal life. "
The woman still not getting that Jesus was speaking about
spiritual matters, living spirit, Holy Spirit water remaining and
flowing within the believer, was eager to have some kind of
physical miracle, and so replied, " Sir, please give me this
water, that will make me never thirst again, and never have to
come to this deep well to draw out water. It is hard on my back
and arms to have to do this daily physical chore. "
Jesus knew she was not getting the insight of the true
message He was conveying to her. So He tried another approach.
" Go, call your husband, and come back here " Jesus
requested. " But I have no husband, " replied the woman.
" That is very true, " responded Jesus, " for you have had
five husbands, and the one you are now with is not your husband,
so in saying you have no husband you have answered correctly
" I surely perceive you are a prophet, " said the woman, and
then continued with, " Our fathers worshipped on this mountain;
and you Jews say that the main city to worship God at is
" Well lady, " Jesus replied, " I can tell you this. The
hour is coming when you will not worship the Father either on
this mountain nor in Jerusalem. The hour is coming and even now
is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit
and in truth, for that is the kind of people the Father is
looking for to worship Him. God is spirit not flesh and blood,
and so those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and
Jesus was here referring to the time that was to come when
the armies of Rome under Titus would invade Palestine in 70 A.D.,
destroy Jerusalem and other places and scatter the Jews, so no
organized worship of God in some central location would take
place anywhere in that land. Then also Jesus was making a lesson
that certain physical things in the worship of God really meant
nothing to the Father unless the heart was right with Him.
Outward ceremony even in a place that God could approve of was
useless if the inner heart was not acceptable to Him.
" I know the Messiah is coming, he who is called the Christ.
When he comes, he will be able to tell us all things, as you seem
to be able to do, " the Samaritan woman said confidently, but
with a questioning mind as she looked at this man she had called
" I who speak to you am this Messiah, " Jesus said kindly
but firmly to her.
It was at this point, before she could answer or say
anything about what Jesus had just told her, that the disciples
returned from the city and stood there in shock to see Jesus
talking to a woman in private, and a Samaritan woman at that.
They were shocked but none was willing to question Jesus as to
the reason why. The woman knew what was going through the minds
of these other men and so quickly ran off back to the town,
leaving her water jar behind. She was too excited and amazed by
the whole event to worry about a water pot.
The only thing on her mind was to get back to town so she
could tell as many people as would listen, about a man who told
her all that she had ever done. She asked them if it was
possible that this was the Messiah to come. She told them to go
and see for themselves, and many of them did head out of the city
to see the man she was telling them about (John 4: 10-30).
Meanwhile, as all this was happening in the city, Jesus'
disciples were asking Him to eat of the food they had brought to
Him. " I have food to eat of which you know nothing of, " was
Jesus' reply to them.
" Who has brought Him food while we were gone? " said some
disciples to others.
Jesus then told them exactly what He was meaning. " My
nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and
from finishing the work He sent me to do. Do you think harvesting
will not start until the summer is over, four months from now?
Take a look around you! There are vast fields ripening before
your eyes, and are ready for harvesting at this present time. The
harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is
people brought to eternal life. I'm not talking about fruits from
trees and vines. There is great joy for both the planter and the
harvester. You know what they say, 'One persons plants and
another person harvests.' That saying is very true, for I'm
sending you to harvest where you did not plant; others had
already done that work, and you will gather the harvest. "
For centuries God had sent His servants to teach and preach
His word to the people of Israel. Before Jesus came to do the
work of God, there was John the baptist and his disciples
preparing the hearts of the people for Jesus' disciples to reap
what had already been planted in their hearts. It was a spiritual
harvest of food that Jesus talking about, as the main and most
important food to eat and to get busy harvesting.
THE SPIRITUAL HARVEST IN SAMARIA
The apostle John in his Gospel tells us that many Samaritans
from the city the woman came from, believed her testimony that
the man she had encountered at the well did tell her things in
her life that were very true. Many went out to Jesus and asked
Him to stay in that town with them and expound more things to
them about God and His word. Jesus indeed did do so and stayed
with them for two days.
Because their hearts and minds were receptive to be
instructed and taught the truths of God, many more believed the
words of Jesus.
They privately told the woman who first talked to Jesus at
the water well, this: " It is no longer because of your words
that we believe, for we have heard from Him ourselves, and we
know that this man is indeed the Savior of the world, the
promised Messiah, that God in His word said would one day come to
this earth. "
After the second day of being with the Samaritans Jesus
departed and headed for Galilee. He did not go to His own town or
neighborhood for He had said that a true prophet of God is seldom
accepted and given honor by those who knew him running around,
going to school, and growing up in their community.
When it comes to the true religion of God and someone boldly
teaching and preaching it, this is so very true. Many communities
will praise and honor a local person who gets fame, makes it big
time, in say, the movie industry, or singing or music arts, or
professional sports. But teaching the truths of God, that call
for personal repentance and a change of life to conform to the
will of God, that is a whole new ball game, and most who have
known this person from a child, in the local community, will not
give much honor to them.
Especially was this true of Jesus' community, for Jesus was
also preaching that He was the Messiah, the Son of man, and even
the Son of God. Those who had seen Mary and Joseph bring this
Jesus child home with them from Jerusalem, and had lived around
them for years, just could not accept Him as the Son of God, the
Jesus was able to harvest a spiritual people into the
Kingdom of God from many parts of Palestine, and the area of
Samaria, but not so from His own area and town where He grew up
as a boy and young man.
AN OFFICIAL'S SON IS HEALED
Arriving once more in Cana of Galilee, where He had made the
water into wine at the wedding feast, an official of some sort
from Capernaum came and begged Jesus to come and heal his son,
who was at the point of death (John 4:46-47).
Jesus a little disconcerted because the man wanted Him to
literally go to Capernaum and do a miracle over the sick body of
his son, said to him, " Unless you see some physical signs and
wonders from my hands, you just will not have faith to simply
believe my words. "
The man's mind just did not really hear Jesus' words, but he
said once again to Him, " Sir, come to my city before my child
Jesus answered him by saying, " Go back home, your son will
live. " These words did get through to the official, and he
believed them. So he started on the journey back to his town.
Before he arrived, his servants came out to me him, and told him
that his son was alive and well. He inquired of them as to the
time when his son recovered from near death.
" Well it was at the seventh hour yesterday when the fever
left him, " said his servants. With that information the father
knew that that was the exact hour when Jesus had said to him,
" Your son will live. " The official and all his household
believed that this man called Jesus was from God and very
John tells us that this miracle was the second sign that
Jesus did when He had come from Judea to Galilee (John 4: 48-54).
Written March 2001