Monday, April 4, 2016

A nameless woman in Samaria


Since we studied John's gospel last year, this passage will be familiar to us, but I hope we can find some more nuggets here that will be used by the Spirit to make us more like our Savior. Let's dive in, shall we?
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”17 “I have no husband,” she replied.Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”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.”
27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:4-42)

We don't know her name; we don't know how old she was, or what she looked like. But we know that this woman holds a very distinctive place in the life and ministry of Jesus. She is the person who "holds the record" for the longest one-on-one conversation with our Savior. She is also the first one to hear Him admit that He is the Messiah.

The last time that we paused at this passage, we discussed "broken wells" and the places that people search, trying to fill the void in their lives that only God can fill. They may try alcohol or drugs, they may try immoral relationships, they may try piling up wealth and grabbing for power. None of these can satisfy like our Lord can.

As we study the unnamed Samaritan woman, we notice again that she was making her trip at an unusual time of day: most of the women would come to the well to gather the water for their day, in the cool of the morning. I'm sure that it was a time when happy greetings were exchanged, pats on tummies where babies were growing, and even a little town gossip would be whispered. It was those whispers that our heroine wished to avoid.
Yes, she came to the well at noon, at the hottest time of the day. Imagine the heat of summer in a rocky, sandy place. A few trees might shade the town well, but everywhere the heat is making the air shimmer and we can see imaginary oases as we gaze out across the land. In this heat, Jesus has sent His disciples for food, and He is resting beside the well.
He's quite a rule breaker here, isn't He? (Grin) He speaks to the woman as she carefully lowers her earthenware jug from her shoulder to the ledge at the mouth of the well.
Wowser.
Jews "aren't supposed" to talk to Samaritans. In fact, other rabbis would have taken the long way around, to avoid going through Samaria at all. But Jesus had a divine appointment with this lady.
Men "aren't supposed" to talk to women without their husbands being present. But Jesus knew her history as well as her present situation.
Rabbis "aren't supposed" to talk to women who have shady reputations. But Jesus wanted to offer her more than the water she would draw from Jacob's well.

We'll talk more about this next time.....come back and study with us, if you will!

5 comments:

International Directory Blogspot said...
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Marla's Crafts said...

Hi Another interesting lady. Can't wait to learn from her. I never thought of so many women in the Bible and the roles they play.
I have a prayer request. No names but she really needs our prayers. A very close person is mixed up in a abusive relationship. Her father is beside himself and doesn't know what to do. He moved her out of the city after destroying their apartment. They are worried about trying to communicate with her incase it upsets him and he hurts her. This is all new to us by never knowing or being in this situation before. He is going to the police tomorrow to see what they can do. He told the landlord to bring charges against them hoping this is a way to get her back to Moncton. I don't know what to do but pray. My mother is beside herself and she doesn't know the whole story which we are keeping from her as it would kill her. So help with extra prayers. Thanks.

Katie Isabella said...

God hears you my friend Maria.

Jacque this is an outstanding study. I sat here to read it rather than start my workout it spoke so loudly to me.

Jacque said...

Marla, we are joining you in prayer....let us know how things go.

Austin Towers said...

Marla, the Lord hears the prayers of His children. I also shall pray x

Jacque, the woman of Samaria is a fascinating study!