We continue to read the story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman -- a story that could easily be titled "The Stranger."
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25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him.
- Returning to her village, the woman instantly becomes an evangelist for Jesus (v.28ff).
- This is in stark contrast to the spiritual dullness of the disciples (v.27,31ff).
- They are oblivious to what has just happened.
- Their lack of concern for the woman is evident.
- Like her (a little earlier), they are on "channel 2" (27).
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?”
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
- Jesus' food is to do the will of the Father and to finish his work (v.34).
- See also 17:4; 19:28,30.
- His followers should share in this work (vv.35-37).
- In the case of the Samaritans, others had done the "hard work."
- O.T. prophets had prepared the ground.
- The woman herself was representative of God-fearing Samaritans who were ripe, ready to respond to the message.
39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “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.”
- Through his sharing with her, the Samaritan woman´s perspective changes as she comes to appreciate who Jesus is:
- A thirsty Jewish man (v.9).
- A prophet (v.19).
- The Jewish Messiah (v.26,29).
- Savior of the World (v.42).
- One conversation led to change in Jesus' plans. He stays for two days in the Samaritan village, bringing many to faith (vv.39-42).
- Their response could hardly have been more positive. Unlike "his own" (1:11), the Samaritans received Christ, accepting him and his message.
- Many people we ignore, pass by, or "write off" may also be seeking. They may be far more open to the gospel than we imagine!
- Savior of World. Since Jesus is savior of the entire planet, let's strive to become familiar with other cultures. Don't imagine that "good Hindus" (for example) will be okay without hearing the gospel message. The whole world is in darkness and needs the savior (1 John 5:19).
- Let's try to rise above our local situation -- to take a global perspective. Read the news at least once a week. Find a pen pal or Christian soul mate in another country. Travel abroad. Read books on history and culture. Reach out to people from all parts of the world (but don’t forget your own!).
- Appreciate that Jesus isn’t the Messiah for the Jews only; he is the Christ for us, for other nations, and for the whole world.
- Further study: