About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Talks With A Samaritan Woman (ch. 4:1-26)
verse 1 we read that Jesus was becoming more popular than John the
Baptist. Remember, at this
moment of time John and Jesus' ministry was overlapping.
Also remember that multitudes of people had been coming to John
the Baptist to be water baptized, now, Jesus was getting bigger crowds
than John the Baptist.
Pharisees were very concerned about this, and for good reason.
They were always afraid when big crowds would gather.
They were afraid of riots that Jewish zealots would start at
these crowds. In these days
there were many zealots. They
were those who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah.
They would often lead revolts against the local Roman authorities
in attempts to free Israelis from Roman domination.
So, for this reason, The Jewish leaders were forced to send
representatives out to these crowds to see what was happening.
They feared another riot that would bring the wrath of Rome
down on them. At this moment
in history, Jews had a certain measure of autonomy in
in verse 2 that Jesus did not baptize anyone.
It was His disciples that actually did the baptizing.
Now this is the only place in the gospel accounts that states
that Jesus' disciples actually baptized people.
This leads me to ask just what kind of baptism they were
baptism, as we know it today, was not really established at this time.
John the Baptist's baptism was a baptism unto repentance.
It was a baptism that was meant to introduce the soon coming
Messiah. Well now, Jesus the
Messiah was already on the scene so a John the Baptist style baptism
doesn't seem to fit here. We
just have no written record what kind of baptism is referred to here in
3 tells us that when Jesus heard the Pharisees were now looking
investing the crowds that had been forming around Him He left Judea and
headed north, back to
Jews of Judea who hated the Samaritans because they considered
Samaritans half-breeds, would not travel through Samaria. They would cross the
Jordan River, go north on the east side of the river, then cross back on
the west side of the river in Galilee. This way they would avoid
suggest that the Greek sentence
commenting I would like to give some historical perspective on certain
things. First of all,
we need to understand who Samaritans are.
They are part Jew and part non-Jew, both in a biological sense
and a religious sense. In
Old Testament times when
922 BC ten northern tribes split from the two southern tribes.
became two separate and distinct nations.
Thus Shechem became the capitals city of the northern kingdom of Israel.
verse 5 you will read of the town called Sychar.
Sychar was Old Testament Shechem.
This was the capital of Samaria. The Samaritans claimed
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as their forefathers, thus, the reason for
the importance of Sychar,
or, Shechem. Shechem had
great historical significance. As
the text states here, Jacob's Well was here, and that is just one
important significance. The
Samaritans didn't, however, follow Judaism.
There religion was a by product of Judaism.
It was a clear mixture between Judaism and the old Canaanite,
pagan, religion that Israel
was told in the Old Testament to stay clear of.
Deuteronomy 27 Moses told the people that when they finally entered the land
, they were to set up an altar. On
4:6 tells us that Jesus passed through
fact that Jesus was tired and thirsty makes it clear that He was just as
much human as He was divine. That
being said, even in His tiredness He still had time to speak to the lady
we'll soon meet.
7 tells us that there was a Samaritan woman there drawing water from the
well. Some commentators
suggest that there is something wrong with this woman. She had just
traveled a fairly long distance to get water and she travelled alone.
That was uncommon in those days.
This suggests that she had no husband.
asked this woman for a drink of water. At
this point the disciples were not with Jesus for they had gone into the
nearest town to buy some food as stated in verse 6.
woman was amazed that Jesus talked with her on two counts.
One count was that she was a Samaritan, and Jews never talked to
Samaritans. Count two is
that she was a woman. Women
in one sense of the word were second class citizens in that culture. Men
did not normally talk to women in public places. It's
clear that Jesus does not discriminate.
It did not matter to Him that she was a woman or a Samaritan.
She was a person, and that was good enough for Jesus.
a bit more history. In 922
verse 9 the woman asks; "you are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman,
how can you ask me for a drink?"
According to the Law of Moses, which both Jews and Samaritans
accepted, Jews could not drink out of the same cup as a pagan.
For this reason this woman was surprised that Jesus, a Jew, would
ask her for a drink of water.
replies in verse 10 by saying, "If you knew the gift of God and who
it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and He would
have given you living water."
this stage the woman was most likely confused, not understanding what
Jesus was talking about.
see here how a simple question, a simple conversation over a cup of
water, is turned into a spiritual conversation.
Jesus has the ability to convert the ordinary conversation into a
serious one, and He does it very naturally.
This is a good quality for us all to have.
It opens many more doors for opportunity for the gospel message
to be spoken.
said that if this woman realized who she was speaking to she could have
received the gift of God. Jesus
also refers to this gift as living water.
The gift of God is the Holy Spirit.
This living water is the Holy Spirit as seen in John 7:38 and 39.
We note that in verse 11 the womanís confusion can be seen in her response to Jesus. First of all, she addresses Jesus as "sir." That's "kurios" in Greek, the same Greek word that is also translated into our English Bibles as "Lord" or "lord." All three translations are correct and the context tells the translator how to translate the Greek word "kurios."
woman tells Jesus that He has nothing to draw the water with, so how
could He give her any kind of water, let along what He calls living
water. Remember, this well
was about 100 feet deep according to the majority of Bible teachers.
The next question is thus a natural question to ask.
She asks Jesus where He would get this living water from.
Obviously He couldn't get it from the well.
woman then asks Jesus if He was greater than Jacob whose well this once
was. She did not think that
Jesus could have been greater than Jacob. Jesusí
words made no sense to her. She
had great respect for Jacob as did the Jews.
In her mind, no one could be greater than the patriarchs.
verse 13 Jesus says that anyone who drinks this water, that is, the
water in the well, will be thirsty again.
This is a given. Natural
water quenches thirst for a while, but we get thirsty again.
verse 14 Jesus begins to explain that the water that He can give would
be like a spring of water, springing up into everlasting life.
This water is the Holy Spirit.
He is like a spring when we receive Him into our lives and
bodies. As I mentioned
earlier, this spring of water that bubbles up within a person will
become a river that flows out of him as seen in John 7:38.
In other words, this spring of water will become a river as we
see in the book of Acts, beginning at chapter 2.
speaks of this living water in terms that it will lead one into eternal
life. When thinking in terms
that the Holy Spirit is this living water, this verse tells us that
without the Holy Spirit in one's life, he will not enter eternity and
live with Jesus. Simply
mentally accepting the fact of the reality of Jesus will not get you to
says that the water that He gives will cause people to never thirst
again. The Greek verb
construction here is similar to a double negative, meaning, "shall
never ever" thirst again. It's
also a future indicative verb, meaning, it's a certain fact that the one
who drinks the water that Jesus offers will certainly never ever thirst
again. This begs the
question, why do we see so many spiritually thirsty Christians these
days? They obviously are not
drinking the living water of the Holy Spirit.
fact of the matter here is that the woman and Jesus are on two different
wave lengths as is often the case. Jesus
is speaking spiritually and the woman is speaking and thinking in
natural terms. It's the same
problem that Jesus faced with Nicodemus.
It's the same problem we have when we share Jesus with others.
The simple fact is that the natural cannot understand the
spiritual unless the Holy Spirit brings the understanding.
That means the Holy Spirit must accompany our words if we are to
be successful in sharing Jesus with others.
verse 15 you can tell that the woman doesnít understand what Jesus is
talking about. She says that
sheíd like this water so she wouldnít have to keep coming back to
this well. Once again, we
note that the carnal mind does not understand spiritual truth.
verse 16 Jesus abruptly changes the course of the conversation.
He told the woman to go and call her husband and come back to see
Him. Why did Jesus ask this
question? Jesus knew this
womanís marital status. I
think this was a leading question by Jesus that generated a certain
response. Jesus is about to
explain things to this woman but in a way that was very personal to her.
Sooner or later in our conversation with others concerning their
salvation, the conversation must by nature of what salvation is, get
got the answer He was looking for. In verse 17 the woman said that she
had no husband, but Jesus knew better.
verse 17 Jesus responds by telling her that what she says was in one
sense of the word correct. The
woman had no legal husband. I
use the word legal not in our modern since of the word but in the Old
Testament sense of the word, and that is according to the Law of Moses.
verse 18 Jesus told this woman that in fact she has had five husbands
and the man she was presently with was not her husband.
This is clearly a supernatural word of knowledge that really blew
this conversation wide open. It
changed the direction of the conversation from the natural to the
spiritual, even though this woman still didn't get what Jesus was
saying. What Jesus did here
was point out the situation of her life that needed attention.
the five husbands this woman had, we don't know anything beyond the fact
that she has had five husbands. We
don't know if they died or if they divorced her.
If her husbands followed Deuteronomy 24:1 to 4 in a conservative
way, they could have divorced her because she was sexually immoral.
If they applied this law liberally they could have divorced her
for no legitimate reason and she'd simply be on her own.
We just don't know what her situation was that led her to having
five husbands. Some might
suggest some sinful activity on her part but that is pure speculation.
wasnít the man she was living with at present not her real husband?
We donít know the whole story here either.
The common consensus is that she was not legally married
according to the Law of Moses
wish that Jesus had commented more on this situation, or, if He did, I
wish John would have recorded it. This
would probably help clarify things when it comes to how the Bible views
marriage, divorce, and remarriage, a subject that is quite difficult to
draw many concrete conclusions from.
think we're fast coming to a place in western society where Christians
may have to take a serious look at legal marriage and how to respond to
the changes in meaning to that term.
In Canada, and in other western countries, legal marriage includes gay marriages.
So, when a couple is now legally married they are becoming part
of an institution defined by law that is not Biblical.
I know of some ministers that are thinking about not performing
legal marriages any more. They
would perform a church marriage as defined in Biblical terms before,
God, family, and the church. If
the couple wanted the legalities, they could simply go to city hall and
do the legal paper-work.
the case, Jesus told this lady that she had five different husbands;
therefore Jesus must have believed that there were certain grounds for
remarriage, what these grounds are canít be seen in this passage.
the man this woman was presently living with was not her husband,
meaning, she was not married to him as the Law of Moses would have
taught. It appears that she
was simply living with the man. Again,
Jesus doesnít explain exactly what He means so it is hard to draw
verse 19 this woman suddenly gets spiritual with Jesus.
She calls Him "sir" again out of respect because she
now believes Jesus is a prophet of God because He had seen into her life
in a supernatural way. How
many times do people change their tune with us Christians when they
suddenly hear that we are Christians?
woman sounds very modern to me. She
speaks of a place to worship. In
verse 20 she says that her people say it is right to worship God on a
near by mountain, but the real Jews say you should worship at the temple
in Jerusalem. Maybe this lady is being
honest and genuine in what she says.
I canít see the motives of her heart, but people of the world
often refer to secondary issues when presented with spiritual truth.
People today often speak of church buildings, different
denominations, and different forms of worship, when the real issue is
their sin, unbelief, and their need to give their lives to Jesus.
reason why this lady said that her people worship in this nearby
mountain is because after
words "this mountain" refer to Mount Gerizim.
the moment I believe that Jesus had just presented this woman with her
sin of living with a man who was not her husband.
Her response was not with her sin but with a religious difference
in view point. To me, that says a lot concerning her response.
I think the woman was genuine in her response to Jesus.
This can be seen in the verses to come.
She goes home and tells her friends that she has found the
Christ, yet, at the same time what she tells Jesus clearly shows she
doesnít understand what He is saying to her.
verse 21 Jesus responds with a real
mountain nor in
Jerusalem. Note that
words clearly show us that a building, even the temple in Jerusalem, is no longer the house of God. The
New Testament house of God, or temple, are believers, both individually
and collectively, who have handed their lives over to Jesus.
In other words, the New Testament church is God's temple today.
verse 22 Jesus speaks bluntly to this woman.
Some might interpret it as prejudice.
He told her that Samaritans did not really know who or what they
worshipped. This is true. Samaritans were a mixture of Jews and Gentiles as a result of
mixed marriages, and therefore, their religion would reflect this
mixture. Mixture is always a
problem. Over the centuries
Christians have tried to mix true Biblical Christianity with all sorts
of other religious philosophies.
This is wrong. It
waters down the gospel and the church and makes us lose our
form of mixture today is called Chrislam.
It's an attempt to mix or combine Islam with Christianity.
Anyone who knows anything about either religion would know there
is no logic in attempting this mixture.
Muslims and Christians simply don't serve the same God.
told her that the Jews knew who and how to worship.
Remember, these days when Jesus was on earth were still Old
Testament times, even though those days were a transitionary period, and
reason Jesus gives for all of this is because "salvation is from
the Jews," and so it is. Godís salvation stems from the Jews, as
in Paulís analogy of the Jewish tree in Romans 11.
Still, salvation did not stay with the Jews.
Gentiles would be welcomed and could be grafted into the Jewish
tree as Paul also states in Romans 11.
the centuries, due to anti-Semitic tendencies in the church Christians
have lost the Jewish flavour of their faith.
We've gone too far in this respect.
If not for the Jews, the Old Testament, and all that goes along
with it, there'd be no Jesus. There'd
be no Christianity. Christian
heritage is found in Judaism.
verse 23 Jesus predicts a change in worship that would soon take place.
He says that the "time is coming and now has come,"
meaning that the time is pretty well here.
What time was He speaking of?
It was the time when true worshipers would worship the Father in
Spirit and Truth. Once
again, this time came on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was
first given to any true believer.
the dichotomy in verse 23. Jesus
says that the time is coming and now has come.
How can something b e coming but arrive at the same time.
Jesus speaks in this manner a number of times in the gospel
accounts. I suggest that He
might well do the same in the book of Revelation, especially when He
says the time is short. Remember,
Jesus is used to existing in a place where there is no time.
Time is not even relative in Heaven.
It's only relevant in Heaven as one thinks about earth. To Jesus,
even though Acts 2 had not yet come, He knew it would come.
It was almost there. It
would come for sure. So,
it's as good as being here already, according to Jesus.
can only truly worship God in Spirit, with the aid of the Holy Spirit.
Worship without the Holy Spirit is not worship.
Worship in its simplicity means "to kiss God," because
that's what the most common Greek word translated as worship means.
Being intimate with God is what worship is all about. You
can compare this intimacy with intimacy between a husband and wife.
I believe that marital intimacy is a picture, a shadow or type,
of the intimacy we can have with God.
This kissing of God which we call worship is something from the
heart and involves the union of our spirits with His Spirit.
speaks of another aspect to this worship, this kiss of God, and that is
truth. The Greek word for
truth is "aletheis." "Aletheis"
in its simplest meaning means "reality."
So when Jesus speaks of worshipping in truth, He is speaking of
"real" worship, not a fake, or put on worship.
It's not a hypocritical worship as was taking place at the temple
therefore come to God in spirit and in a right understanding of who He
is. When we enter this realm
of the Spirit, with revealed truthful reality, we find a place of pure
intimacy before God. In this
place we cannot hide from Him. As
He is revealed to us, we are seen clearly by Him.
Just as a husband and wife are naked in sexual intimacy, so we
are naked before the Lord in true worship.
He sees us as we really are, yet, in another sense, He sees us
through the lens of the blood of Jesus.
Evangelical churches call Sunday morning meetings at time of worship,
but if the Holy Spirit is not there, and if people aren't living in
truth, I don't think you can call it worship with the understanding that
Jesus presents here.
it comes right down to it, worship should be a way of life, but, I think
the context of this verse suggests corporate worship when the people of
God come together. I say
this because Jesus speaks of worship here in terms of a place, like the
says that this is the kind of worship that His Father really wants, and
has wanted all along. Why?
Because Jesus said God is a spirit.
If God is a spirit, how else could we worship Him?
We must worship Him in spirit, with the help of His Spirit.
This only makes sense.
text tells us for sure that God is a spirit.
He is not human. Jesus,
prior to His incarnation, was spirit as well.
Remember, John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the logos of God,
meaning, He is, was, and will ever be, the mind of God, even in His new
existence, in what we call His glorified human body.
being spirit is important for us to understand.
This is where the word "anthropomorphic" comes into
play. This word expresses
the point that God is spirit, but since humans can't see spirits, God
appears to humanity from time to time in human-like form, as we see
recorded in the Old Testament. He
is also described in human form. For
example, we see the term "right hand of God" in the Bible.
Does God actually have a right hand?
Do spirits have a right hand?
Well, maybe in some kind of spiritual sense of the word God and
spirits do have a right hand, but, we just don't
know. Most Bible teachers
understand the term "right hand of God" to be anthropomorphic
in nature. That is to say,
God describes Himself to us in human terms so we can begin to understand
Him a bit better.
verse 25 we see that this woman doesnít catch on to what Jesus is
saying. She is getting close
but she isn't there yet. She
says that she knows that Messiah will come and explain all these things.
She didnít know that the Messiah had come and was the one
telling her these things.
happens so often in peopleís communication with each other, we donít
respond specifically to what the other person says.
We just aren't very good at times with our skills of
communication. We respond to
what we are thinking about, or what the person said two or three
sentences back. There was an
intellectual disconnect between this woman and Jesus.
verse 26 Jesus told the woman with no uncertainty, "I am He,"
that is, "I am the Messiah."
I can't begin to imagine how the Holy Spirit would have spoken
those words to the heart of this Samaritan woman.
They must have been devastating to her intellect but life giving
to her spirit. Here, Jesus
plainly and clearly says that He is the long awaited for Jewish Messiah,
something that He did not say very often, especially in the early days
of His ministry.