John 4: Insights, Highlights and Points to Ponder:
- Jesus’ words in John 4 probe our priorities and prompt us to ask:
Am I thirsty? Am I hungry?
For WHAT do we hunger and thirst in our everyday lives?
Yes, we will grow thirsty today. It’s so important to stay hydrated. We also hear in John 4:6-7 Jesus experienced human fatigue and thirst. Likewise, our stomachs will grow hungry today and will growl if they are not fed (often!). We pray in the “Our Father” what Jesus taught us: “…give us this day our daily bread…” and God DOES indeed bless us with “daily bread” and SO much more over and over again every day. God provides and we ARE grateful and thankful. Happy Thanksgiving--EVERY day!
- IMPORTANT Context: Most of John 4 happens in SAMARIA.
Where was Samaria? Who were the Samaritans?
The Lutheran Bible Companion (Volume 2) explains: In 2 Kings 17:29 a Samaritan refers to a person belonging to the 10 tribes, or the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Later Samaritans descended from Israelites left behind after Samaria’s destruction (722 BC) and included foreigners imported by Assyrian kings. They inhabited the area between Judea and Galilee (2Ki 17:24-34). Since all these people intermingled, they were despised by their Jewish neighbors to the south (Ne 4:1-3; Mt 10:5; John 4:9-26; 8:48).
Their observance of Judaism was regarded as corrupted They accepted only the Five Books of Moses as authoritative, worshiped on Mount Gerizim, and rejected Jerusalem as the proper place of worship. (LBC Vol. 2; 2014; CPH.org: pages 959-960).
- John 4 highlights BOTH the HUMAN and DIVINE natures of Jesus. John tells us Jesus as true man is both tired and thirsty. In verses 16-19 Jesus knows everything (Divine omniscience--He is all-knowing) about the heart and life of the Samaritan woman. In John 4:49-54 Jesus heals the sick and dying son of an official from Capernaum. We profess Who Jesus is from The Small Catechism’s explanation of the Second Article from the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary is my Lord.”
- QUESTION: Do you recall or know what the difference is between “Messiah” and “Christ” in Scripture?
ANSWER: They are the SAME name in different languages.
Messiah is Hebrew (Old Testament) and Christ is Greek (New Testament) for “The Anointed One.”
We now read: John 4 (interspersed with commentary and insights)
Jesus and the Woman of Samaria
4 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman from 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.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
NOTE: Samaritans worshiped God on Mount Gerizim. Jews worshiped God in Jerusalem in the Temple on Mount Zion. Jesus stressed that true worship is not based on the location or building we go to…
My Pandemic WORSHIP Comments (aka RANT): This blasted pandemic has shown us that we truly do worship God “in Spirit and in Truth”--NOT only in our beautiful Sanctuary, but also faithfully in a wide variety of other ways and places. In fact, our highest attendance the past SIX+ months has been in our vehicles at Drive-In services; BUT the time is coming when we will have to get our rumps out of our comfy cars and off our nice bun warmers and back in the pews and chairs inside (ha)!
Sure, we can and have had to worship God via YouTube, BUT… IMPORTANT Question! When is the last time YouTube served us Holy Communion?!? (Point made…)
Yes, out of necessity new worship approaches and options have been utilized, but moving forward during 2021 it is very important for us NOT to use the new pandemic realities as a LAME excuse NOT to come to In-Person worship. We need to be both safe AND intentional about coming back IN-PERSON to gather in God’s Triune Name to pray, praise, give thanks, and worship as God’s baptized community of Faith. Our faith in Christ is strengthened by His gifts of Word and Sacrament. Jesus says, “Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20)
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he 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.”
NOTE: Wow! Verse 26 records the first of many “I AM” statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John. Jesus is using the same Divine Name God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3: “I AM Who I AM” to demonstrate His Divinity. This personal Name for God derived from “I AM” is composed of four letters--YHWH--in Hebrew; translated as LORD, and at times pronounced YeHoVaH or ”Jehova”). In verses 25-26 Jesus reveals to the Samaritan woman and affirms that He IS the Anointed One, the Promised One--the Messiah.
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
NOTE: Jesus’ words here in John make us mindful of His Sermon on the Mount and one of His Beatitudes in Matthew 5:6,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Ultimately, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ calls on us to think beyond our earthly appetites and desires. Jesus challenges the Samaritan woman and His Disciples (then and now--aka US!) to see beyond all of the mundane temporary things of life and to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” and the spiritual blessings of God--His “living water” and the spiritual and eternal “bread” of His Word which satisfy forever.
Jesus continues in John 3: 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
NOTE: Jesus stresses that the ultimate harvest which concerns His disciples is a spiritual harvest (compare what Jesus says in Luke 10:2).
39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 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 indeed the Savior of the world.”
QUESTION: How is faith created? How does FAITH in Jesus happen?
ANSWER: Roman 10: 17 tells us: ”So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.
The Lutheran Study Bible(LSB) comments on John 4:1-45 are thought provoking for us (CPH.org, LSB p. 1786):
Jesus graciously reaches out to a Samaritan woman, leads her to recognize Him as Messiah, and through her brings other Samaritans to receive His life-giving blessings. Christians sometimes allow social and cultural barriers to hinder their witness to Christ and His love for all people. Just as Christ forgave the woman her past and present sins, He now freely offers His forgiving love to us and calls us to spread this Good News.
+Prayer+ O Lord, let me experience the joy of sharing Your Word with others, whoever they may be. Amen.
NOTE: Jesus keeps moving! He travels from the region of Samaria to Galilee He returns to Cana, the place of His first sign (aka miracle) at the wedding.
QUESTION: DO YOU THINK all the fine wine was gone by now? (ha)
Jesus Heals an Official's Son
46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
NOTE: The healing of the official’s son is the SECOND sign (aka miracle) of Christ John that records to magnify Jesus is the Messiah (aka Christ)!
Practical APPLICATION of John 4: Who are modern day “Samaritans” we tend to avoid or look down upon in our lives? When we look at people who are vastly different than us, how would we see them differently if we looked at them through the eyes of Jesus?
+ PRAYER: Dear Savior, I am a sinner like the Samaritan women. Yet as You did for her You do for me: In Your mercy and grace You accept me, love me unconditionally, and forgive my sins. Thank You! Help me to see others through Your eyes of love.
In Your Saving Name I pray. Amen.
Pastor Scott Schmieding