The account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John has been much studied and preached on, yet I was given some clarity recently on how to apply the message to my life. Historically, the Jews, Israelites who had settled in the southern kingdom of Judea of the tribe of Judah and some of the tribe of Benjamin, did not associate with Samaritans who settled in the northern kingdom of Israel, south of Galilee. Both groups brought back different ideas upon return from Babylonian captivity. Jews held that Samaritans practiced idolatry in some forms, which they picked up while in Babylon and by intermarrying with people who were brought in to settle the land of Israel in their place. A significant point in the difference of their worship is the location of the holy place. That is the cultural/religious context in brief.
The account is found in John chapter 4.
Jesus is passing through Samaria with his disciples from Judea (south) to Galilee (north). He stops at Jacob's well near Sychar, where He meets a Samaritan woman. He offers her living water (vs. 7-15); prophesies about her (vs. 16-19); tells her the marks of a true worshipper (vs. 20-24); and tells her that He is the Messiah (vs. 25-26).
**Up to this point, Jesus has made it clear that His salvation is for all who will worship in spirit and truth**
It is not about the place (Mt. Gerizim vs. Jerusalem) and therefore the identity (Samaritan vs. Jew), tied to particular religious traditions, of the worshipper.
vs. 27-30…the woman tells everyone about Jesus and they are coming to Him. The disciples had just gotten back from buying food in the city. (Observing their mindset…they just thought they were passing through Samaria—they thought there is no ministry to be done here among those they don’t associate with).
vs. 31-34…Jesus has food the disciples don’t know about—doing the will of God and accomplishing His work
vs. 35-36…The harvest is here and now—fruit for life eternal. Reapers receiving wages
vs. 37-38…disciples have reaped the fruit of others’ labor, now they are to enter into the same labor (*what is the labor?)
vs. 39-41…Jesus stays for two days and many Samaritans believe “because of His word.” Jesus is “The Word” (John 1) of eternal life. The disciples have received that word, now they should be sharing it with anyone, anywhere at all times…Mark 16:14-20 gives a correlating message--"Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation...they preached the gospel everywhere, while the Lord worked with them."
Followers of Jesus should be sharing with all who will listen—led by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:1-8)..."You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
This is going to require me to:
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Associate Pastor for Centre Union Church in Yeagertown, PA.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!