Bible Reading: John 4:27-45
The disciples were confused. There were two things that puzzled the disciples, Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well, and why He, who had not eaten, was not hungry. We will consider the latter tomorrow, but it is not surprising at their confusion over the conversation with the woman. Jews and Samaritans did not talk with each other and so Jesus had broken with all political convention. Although the disciples marvelled that Jesus spoke with the woman they did not feel that they could ask why He had done this.
Even after Pentecost and the infilling of the Spirit, it was still a struggle for Peter to take the Good News to non-Jews [Acts 10:28-35]. He was still struggling with this twenty years after the death of Jesus, when the critical issue of whether Gentiles should obey the law of Moses in order to be saved was discussed at the Council of Jerusalem [Acts 15:1-29; Galatians 2:11-14].
“There is something of a ‘Pharisee’ in each one of us. We may unwittingly mistake upholding tradition, structure, and legal requirements for obeying God. Make sure the gospel brings freedom and life, not rules and ceremonies, to those you are trying to reach” [Life Application Bible Margin – Acts 15:1].
The woman was excited. Her encounter with Jesus had been life changing. In His last recorded words to her Jesus revealed that He is the promised Messiah. When she left the well and went back into the city she was bubbling with joy, and people listened to her testimony. She said, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
The Samaritans believed. Not only did some of the Samaritans believe because of the woman’s testimony but also others came to hear Jesus personally, and invited Him to stay in Samaria. Although the primary purpose of Jesus was to minister to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” Jesus chose to remain for two days in Samaria. In those two days many more Samaritans believed because they heard Jesus for themselves. Their testimony was, “we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world” [v.42]. This would mean an open door for Philip the evangelist who, following the Day of Pentecost, would visit Samaria and see God move so powerfully [Acts 8:4-8].
The Galileans accepted Jesus. Jesus was returning to Galilee were He had found great acceptance. The Galileans were more open to Him than His own people in Judea, and they had not forgotten how He had turned water into wine and performed other miracles on His previous visit to Galilee [v.45].
Why was it so hard for Peter to let go of his traditional Jewish attitude to non-Jews? In what way can traditionalism be a hindrance to the gospel?
Why did Jesus say, “A prophet has no honour in His own country” [v.44]?
How can you maintain vibrancy and freshness in your Christian life so that like the woman of Samaria you attract others to believe and come to Jesus?