Sunday, March 8, 2009

Savior of the World – Jesus and the Woman at the Well


[Ephesians 2: 1 You were once dead because of your failures and sins. 2 You followed - peripateo (per-ee-pat-eh'-o) perpetuate or occupy - the ways - aion (ahee-ohn') eternal course -of this present world- kosmos - and its spiritual ruler. This ruler continues to work- energeo energize - in people - huios (hwee-os') children - who refuse to obey - apeitheia (ap-i'-thi-ah) unbelief - God. 3 All of us once lived among these people, and followed the desires -thelema (thel'-ay-mah) pleasure, will - of our corrupt nature. We did what our corrupt desires and thoughts- dianoia (dee-an'-oy-ah) imagination - wanted us to do. So, because of our nature, we deserved God's anger just like everyone else. 4 But God is rich in mercy because of his great love for us. 5 We were dead because of our failures, but he made us alive together with Christ. (It is God's kindness that saved you.) - sozo (sode'-zo) heal, be made whole

Children don't have to do anything to be disobedient, just ignore their parents instructions. Sin is a failure to follow God. If we are not following God, we perpetuate the eternal course of this world and of Satan, who energizes the children of apathy and unbelief to fulfill whatever pleasures they can imagine. But God, through his mercy and grace, because of love, makes us whole. Only then are we capable of reflecting his glory, loving Him and others, doing good works. Many times the greatest sin of Christians is simply idleness.

As we follow the life of Jesus notice that everywhere he goes he is continually: teaching, showing compassion, and seeking people to redeem. ]

John 4

1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria.
5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

[ Most Jews would avoid Samaria, or at least pass through without stopping. Due some shared history Jews and Samaritans did not associate with each other. But on this day Jesus stopped at mid-day to rest from his journey.]


7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

[ Right away we have two odd things. First of all this woman has gone to draw water at noon, when most women would do this early in the morning in the cool of the day, but this woman has chosen to draw in the heat of the day when she is likely to do it alone. Second we have a Jew speaking to a Samaritan woman as Jesus asks her for a drink.]



9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
[ To understand the barrier between the woman and Jesus you have to look at the "History of Samaria"

  • Founded by Omri king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel
  • Overthrown by the King of Assyria, Shalmaneser who died in the siege
  • Repopulated by Babylonians and Persians primarily from Cuthah
  • New inhabitants Plagued by Lions because they did not fear God
  • Asked for priests to teach them to worship the God of the Land
  • They were taught to worship God using only the 5 Books of Moses
  • Opposed Ezra and Nehmiah in rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem
  • Rejected by the Jews returning from the Babylonian captivity
  • Built their own temple to worship the God of Abraham on Mt. Gerizim
  • Gave in to the Seleucids and rededicated their temple to Zeus
  • Temple on Mt. Gerizim destroyed by John Hyrcanus after the death of Antiochus VII
  • The Hebrew word Cutheans and the Greek word Samaritans refer to the same people

So to the Jews, Samaritans were pretenders, fair weather kin who reject the temple of Jerusalem as the seat of worship, and were therefore worthy to be shunned and disliked. Yet here in Samaria at mid-day Jesus asks this woman for a drink and his approach is unwelcome. But in a great lesson on witnessing Jesus redirects her to the God, and what he can do for her. ]


11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?"
[ She does not understand what living water is, and she is still thinking about physical water. So here spiritual readiness is still to low for an effective witness.]


13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."
15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw."
[ She still does not understand but is more than willing to be free from the chore of daily drawing water and carrying it back home. So she asks Jesus to give her living water.]


16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here."
17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband."
Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly."
[ Jesus wants her to understand that the cause of her spiritual thirst was sin. So he reveals her marital history which apparently includes several divorces and a current relationship with a man who is not her husband.]


19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
[ Now Jesus has her attention but just when you think she might be ready to talk about eternal life, she changes the subject to that old dispute about which temple location is the proper place to worship. An effective witness must be aware of diversions or trivial questions that draw people away from God. Jesus gives her a quick answer then draws her back to redemption. The real answer is you must worship God in spirit and in truth. ]


25 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things."
26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."

[ She had knowledge that God's promised Messiah would come one day, but she did not know he was standing talking with her. So he tells her "I am he" or literally "you are speaking with eimi (i-mee')" the Greek word for the "I am" the self-existent eternal God. This has the same meaning as the Hebrew word hayah (haw-yaw) used in Exodus 3 when God has chosen Moses to lead his people tells Moses "you tell them the I am, has sent you" Jesus identified himself clearly as the Messiah and the eternal God.]   

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why are You talking with her?"
28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 "Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

[ The arrival if the disciples breaks up the conversation that Jesus was having, and the woman leaves. But instead of going about her business she drops the water pot, and goes into the heart of the city. Once there she says "Everyone come and see. This man I just met knew everything about me. I think I just met the Messiah.". ]

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.
42 Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ,[a] the Savior of the world."

[ Jesus stayed 2 more days teaching in Samaria because of the interest generated by the witness of the woman at the well. Her living water overflowed to the salvation of many others.]

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