Scripture: John 4:5-42
Key Verse: I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor. (v. 38)
Observation: In this passage, Jesus engages a Samaritan woman in an extended theological discussion. This is noteworthy for at least a couple of reasons. First of all, as John notes parenthetically Jews and Samaritans did not share anything in common. The woman is aware of the division that is supposed to exist between her and Jesus but is willing to continue with the conversation. Secondly, the engagement ends with the Samaritan woman going back to her village and sharing her experience in such a way that others are motivated to come and hear from this Jewish man as well. Moreover, after hearing a portion of what Jesus has to say, the Samaritans invite him to stay longer. Eventually, the Samaritans turn to the woman and exclaim, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.” (v. 42)
Analysis: It has been suggested that the Samaritan woman was willing to engage in conversation with Jesus because she was an outcast in her village. This is supported by the fact that she comes to the well at noon instead of earlier in the morning with the other women of the village. If this is the case, then Jesus uses this opportunity to restore this woman’s status in her village. She is no longer the woman to be avoided but becomes the woman that introduced us to the Savior of the world. Moreover, Jesus addresses and eliminates the perceived division between Jews and Samaritans. Scripture is not explicit but I imagine the disciples are there with Jesus as he shares the Word of salvation with the Samaritan people. The Samaritan woman is the one who has sown so that the disciples might reap. Sent by Jesus to her village, she lays the foundation for a two-day revival filled with restoration power. The woman is restored to her village and there are at least the beginnings of restoration in the relationship between the Jewish disciples and the people of this Samaritan village through Jesus Christ. How might we hear Jesus saying to us to break down the walls of division we have built up and maintained? How might we be reconciled to people with whom we share nothing in common? We all need to hear Jesus for ourselves and know that he is the Savior of the world, the entire world!
Prayer: Loving God, forgive us for our insistence that your love is simply for us and people who look, act, and believe just like us. Free us from our hatred and division so that we might reap the benefit of laying down conflict and strife. Help us to hear you more clearly so that we might truly live and love as you intended. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.