by: FCC Staff
Jesus in His ministry made this truth a tangible reality. We read in John chapter four that Jesus traveled outside the traditional homeland of the Hebrew people and among the Samaritans. People who shared some of the Israelite's spiritual beliefs, but not entirely, and were not ethnically part of their nation. Here, Jesus met a woman at a well and had a conversation with her.
Jesus and this woman are seemingly talking about getting a drink of water. But there is much, much more to this conversation than meets the eye. One, Jews and Samaritans held each other in much disdain. While certainly much closer to the Hebrew people than other foreign gentile people groups, the Samaritans were still seen as separate and apart. Their emulation of Hebrew culture and faith was seen more as appropriation than integration. While other gentiles worshiped their false, pagan gods, the Samaritans had the audacity to worship Yahweh.
Not in ways that conformed to the strict code of rules the Pharisees had established, nor the progressive blending of Greek and Hebrew beliefs the Sadducees were known for. No, they had their own sacrifices, their own ordinances, their own priests, outside of the established order of Israel. This made them highly offensive to conservative, traditional Jews. Some wouldn't even walk through their lands to get where they were going. They would walk many days journey around Samaritan lands, to not be made "unclean" by association.
They met at a well, and Jesus asked for a drink of water. This was unheard of, a Jewish man asking a Samaritan woman for a drink. She points out where they were Jacob's well. "Our father," she says, making the claim they had a common ancestor. Also, Jacob had met the love of his life Rachel at a well. So too had Moses met the love of his life at a well. Was this then was Jesus' motivation, this woman wondered, at him asking her for water, at this well of Jacob's no less?
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 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.” 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.”
Jesus is speaking of wisdom, of eternal life. Was this evident to the woman herself? Jesus tells her to go and get her husband, as was proper, and they could continue to talk. The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true."
Jesus shows her how deep his well of wisdom is. This isn't lost on the woman, and she quickly shifts the conversation to spiritual matters, that were of much dispute among the Jews and Samaritans. Jesus holds fast to the truth of scripture, and seemingly they will not agree on these matters and the age-long dispute between Jew and Samaritan will continue.
“I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” She gives Jesus a courteous out. We aren't going to agree on these matters, but one day someone will come who will settle this discussion once and for all, the Messiah.
Jesus doesn't mince words or hold back, "Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
This wasn't typical of Jesus to just out and out state that He is the Messiah. But having displayed wisdom, courtesy, and a genuine desire to address spiritual truth Jesus makes that truth plain for her. She leaves to tell others that someone who could in fact be the Messiah was among them.
The disciples return to Jesus, and they too are worried about physical concerns of food, not the radical spiritual revolution that was occurring right in front of them. Jesus had declared he was the Messiah. Not in glory and fanfare in the Temple in Jerusalem, to a woman, a Samaritan, who didn't have the best track record living a moral life.
Jesus taught them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 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. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
Look around you, there is a great spiritual harvest happening, and I want you all to be a part of it! Many Samaritans put their faith in Jesus, both from the testimony of the woman from the well (Christ's wisdom flowing through her) and Jesus' own words to them. And Jesus didn't just teach them. He stayed with them for two days. Staying in their homes, eating their food, fellowshipping with them as they accepted his truth and basked in the streams of living water he offered freely to them.
So today, as we consider our proverb and the example of how it is lived out in Christ, we too should check our hearts to see if we are concerned with the physical over the spiritual. Or if we are letting our own gender, cultural, or religious biases blind us to the opportunities to let Jesus' wisdom flow from us.
There are many, many things that can divide us in this life. And one thing that can unite all of humanity: The Wisdom of God made manifest in Christ. Let us be found ready and eager to participate in the harvest that God has prepared among all people, to eagerly share the love of God and the Good News of the Gospel with all we meet.
God desires that "all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) Not just the ones who look, sound, believe or act like us. Are we, His people willing to let God's will be done and His Wisdom flow through us? Let us be willing vessels of God's peace, love, and mercy to all today.
Prayer for Today:
Father, let your wisdom flow through me, as a blessing to me and to others. Jesus, show me how to break down the walls of fear and prejudice that can prevent me from showing your love to all. By your Holy Spirit show me how to see the harvest all around me, in every person I meet today. Amen