John 4:1-3 (NIV) 1 The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2 although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3 When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
On verses 1-3: Notice that Jesus was intentional and careful in his movements.
John 4:4-6 (NIV) 4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
On verses 4-6: On his way from Judea to Galilee, Jesus goes through Samaria. The people living in Samaria, called Samaritans, were a people of mixed Jewish and Gentile blood. The fact that Jesus was tired from the journey speaks to his humanity. Interestingly, it was Jesus’ humanity that led him to this divine encounter in the verses that follow.
What can we learn from this? God can use ordinary situations in our lives like going to a coffee shop like Starbucks (today’s equivalent of a well) or a restaurant and turn them into opportunities to be a blessing.So the next time you’re in Starbucks, a restaurant, a bus, or any ordinary situation, be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit may want to do through you to bless others.
John 4:7-10 (NIV) 7 When 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.) 9 The 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.) 10 Jesus 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.”
On verses 7-10: By talking to this Samaritan woman, Jesus was breaking some social conventions of the time. First, Jews did not associate with Samaritans (v9b). Second, according to many scholars, Jewish men apparently avoided speaking with women in public. Third, according to Bible commentator Gerald Borchert from the New American Commentary, intellectual Jewish rabbis tended to avoid speaking with blue collar “people of the land” about theological issues, seeing them as too simple to appreciate the finer details of their Jewish theology.
Yet Jesus breaks through all these social conventions and treats this woman as a person, an individual. He meets her on her level, asking her for a drink. He also invites her curiosity by mentioning the idea of him offering her “living water” (v10).
What can we learn from this? Jesus was a bridge builder. He found commonality with people who were different from him. Jesus did not allow racism, prejudice, tradition or different social backgrounds keep him from loving people, relating to people and reaching people.Like Jesus, may you love people with courage, wisdom and compassion, and build bridges with them.
John 4:11-14 (NIV) 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are 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?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but 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.”
On verses 11-14: In an ingenious and natural way, Jesus had managed to steer the conversation with this woman toward spiritual matters with his curious statement about living water. Jesus knew that there is a thirst inside the human heart for something that is more than just physical. We all long for something eternal, something that lasts forever to secure us and satisfy us. Jesus claims to have the answer to this problem.
How does Jesus answer our deepest longing exactly? Jesus knows that what we all ultimately need is to be back in eternal and right relationship with God. So Jesus came to make that relationship possible by dying on the cross for our sins, by rising from the grave, and by giving us His Holy Spirit to live in us. By trusting in Jesus Christ and His Word, we receive salvation, forgiveness and God’s Holy Spirit, in whom we find living water that satisfies the deepest longing in our lives.
Lord Jesus, I praise for being the greatest bridge builder of all time, the one who builds bridges with people like no other. I pray I would be a bridge builder like You, loving people who are different from me with courage, wisdom and compassion. You are also the only one who can satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart. Thank You for the living water we find in You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!