Lesson 18

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

4:1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 4:2 (although Jesus himself didn't baptize, but his disciples), 4:3 he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. 4:4 He needed to pass through Samaria. 4:5 So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph. 4:6 Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 4:7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." 4:8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

 Today's Lesson

Today's scripture begins another conversation between Jesus and someone that He meets. The author uses these conversations to tell us more of the identity of Jesus and to launch into sermons. This conversation is between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. There are many interesting ideas expressed in this conversation.


The conversation is set up as Jesus departs the Judean countryside and begins the journey back to Galilee. Between Judea and Galilee was the land of the Samaritans. The journey through Samaria was about three days. Many Jews took a longer route that took about twice as long in order to avoid Samaria, but Jesus does not take this route.


The Samaritans were a mixed race of Jews and Gentiles. There was great hostility between the orthodox Jews and the Samaritans. The Jews considered the religion and culture of the Samaritans to be corrupted and unclean. The Samaritans likewise did not like Jews and would often antagonize them for their superior attitude.


The author of this Gospel writes several important things in setting up the meeting between Jesus and this Samaritan woman. First, they meet at a well outside the city of Sychar. The well was believed to have been dug by the patriarch, Jacob. The history of this well will come into the conversation later. But first, one of the most significant things about this conversation might well pass unnoticed.


The conversation begins as Jesus, "being tired from his journey, sat down by the well." Jesus was tired and thirsty. Now, why is this fact important? There has always been a tension between those who would emphasize the deity of Jesus and those who would emphasize the humanity of Jesus. John throughout this Gospel walks the line between these two points of view. In this Gospel, Jesus is shown as fully human. He gets angry when He clears the temple. He is tired and thirsty in this passage. He weeps at the death of Lazarus. And yet, in this Gospel are also the clearest declarations of Jesus' deity.


Before we go on to the rest of this important conversation, let us allow this one idea to complete itself for us. Jesus was on a journey. He grew tired and thirsty. He sent His disciples into a town nearby to get food for the journey. And, He sits beside this well, weary and wanting a drink of water.


It is important that Jesus experienced life just as you and I do. He did not cheat and make it easy for Himself. He was not like a rich kid slumming for a weekend for the atmosphere. Jesus grew tired. He was thirsty. He knew doubt and fear. He sweat and dealt with all the inconveniences of life that you and I deal with every day.


Jesus understands all that we have to live with. The writer of the book of Hebrews argues that He has earned the right to be our High Priest because He has suffered in every way just like you and I. And, not only does He understand our temptations and weaknesses, but He accepts them. Jesus knows us completely and fully and loves us in spite of our weaknesses (or perhaps in come cases because of our weaknesses). The most powerful person in the world knows you and all that you are capable of and accepts you as you are.


Are you willing to accept Him as He is?


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