Read John 4:1-54

1The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?"  8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

9The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

10Jesus answered her, "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."

11"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"

13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

15The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

16He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

17"I have no husband," she replied.

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

19"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."

21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

25The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."

27Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"

28Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29"Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"  30They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."

32But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."

33Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?"

34"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."

39Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." 40So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41And because of his words many more became believers.

42They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

43After the two days he left for Galilee. 44(Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.

46Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48"Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."

49The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies."

50Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live."

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. 52When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour."

53Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, "Your son will live." So he and all his household believed.

54This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from Judea to Galilee. (NIV)

In the fourth chapter of John, we are told of two different encounters with Christ with the results being the people believed in Jesus.  One was one the words of Jesus and the other on a sign done by Jesus.

Jesus had been baptizing and we read that the Pharisees were hearing that Jesus’ success was exceeding John the Baptist.  Not wanting a confrontation at this time, Jesus moves away.  He crosses into the Samaritan land which would be unusual for a Jew to do when traveling.  Most Jews walked around this land even though it may the journey longer.  There was great tension between the Samaritans and the Jews.  This goes back to the fall of the northern kingdom to the Assyrians years before the southern kingdom fell to Babylon.  The southern Kingdom which included Jerusalem, looked down on the northern kingdom from that point on.  We see this in verse 9.

We also know immediately that something is amiss with this woman.  John tells us it is the sixth hour which is noon.  This is not the normal time for the women to gather at the well.  Gathering the water was a great time of social interaction by the women.  As only one could draw water at a time, the women would spend time talking among themselves.  But this woman has been excluded from the gathering.  We find out later why, she is living with a man who is not her husband.

And John introduces us in this interaction with the Samaritan woman for the first time that Jesus is the source of our sustenance in life.  He is the living water and there is food that sustains one the disciples know nothing about yet. Jesus summarizes this difference in physical food and water to what he is talking about in verse 24 where Jesus says, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”  We need spiritual water and food to live for God and worship God.

As her discussion ends, we read that she returns to tell the people of her village what she has encountered.  John makes a point of telling us she left her water jar.  It was probably full and would have slowed her down in returning to tell her story.  That always begs the question, what is impeding us from sharing our story, our encounter of Christ with others?

We also see that even though she is shunned by the women, she does not hesitate to share the good news she has heard.  She becomes an evangelist to her own people, to people who have more than not, shunned her and put her down.  But she still shares.  Do we share with those who do not like us?  It can be difficult, but it is very important to the Gospel message.  It is for all.

When the people come, they hear and they too believe.  And her simple request as she shares is not to totally convince, but to come and see.  This is a theme throughout Jesus’ ministry, to ask people to come and see.  We need to not be afraid to invite people to come and see Christ by inviting him to an encounter.  Too many churches are afraid to invite people different from them to come to their church, but we must.

And then there is the official.  Jesus stayed a few days with the Samaritans, then traveled to Galilee and then ended up in Cana again.  An official has heard about Jesus and comes to him.  By the words, we know that this official is probably not a Jew, but a Roman official.  His son is near death.  Jesus’ words at first seem harsh to the man.  But we miss the grammer in our English.  The you is plural, not singular.  This was probably spoken to the crowd around the man who are looking for a sign  It is a rebuke to them and not the man.

The man has put his whole trust in Christ at this moment as he has no where else to turn.  I have often wondered that Jesus allows suffering to continue in this world because we come to him more in times of trouble than times of great joy.  It we only come to him when bad things are happening, why should he remove bad things happening.  But we are stubborn people.

Do you feel Christ’s presence in both times of trial and sufferings as well as in time of joy?  Have you experienced  or seen a sign that God is doing something miraculous.?

Think about what it means that Christ is our source for our spirit.  Also, think about how you share your story with others.  Are you satisfied or is there opportunities you have missed.

Blessings and Peace

Pastor Harry