Saturday, October 5, 2013

John 4 - Samaritan Woman & The Faith of a Nobleman

His love never fails.
The love and calling of Jesus crosses every cultural, economic, ethnic, & social barrier. 

 Jesus  left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria. John 4:3-4

Jesus left Judea because the Pharisees heard that Jesus's disciples were baptizing more than John the Baptist's disciples. It was not time for Jesus to confront the Pharisees so He and His disciples headed north back towards His hometown region of Galilee. Most Jews of that day did NOT pass through Samaria when traveling through those parts even though it was the shorter route. This was because there was a deep hatred between Jews and Samaritans that rooted back hundreds of years.  

A little background on Jews/Samaritans: Samaria was once the capitol of the Northern Kingdom. In 722 BC the Assyrians conquered the area and lead many of the Jews into captivity. "The king of Assyria transported groups of people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim and resettled them in the towns of Samaria, replacing the people of Israel. They took possession of Samaria and lived in its towns." 2 Kings 17:24

 Jews not taken captive, stayed and intermarried with the Samaritans  Samaritans were now thought to be "half breeds" and no longer pure Jews. In addition, the Samaritans changed their place of worship and did not follow the same religious rituals. As a result, a deep hatred and sense of betrayal developed in the Jews towards the Samaritans. Jesus was fully aware of this deep hatred and called out one of the religious experts on it by telling the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). In this conversation between Jesus and the Jewish religious expert, we see that the Jewish religious man knows the answer to the greatest commandment, which is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself." But when he goes on to ask Jesus, "Who is my neighbor " the man's heart condition is revealed.  Jesus answers the religious mans question with the parable of the good Samaritan.  In the parable the Samaritan turns out to be the hero of the story! Jesus closes the parable by asking which of the characters was the loving neighbor and unable to say the word Samaritan  the Jewish religious expert merely answered, "The one who showed him mercy". Jesus replied, "Yes, now go and do the same." (Luke 10:37). 

We see the mercy and love of Jesus in Samaria when He crosses cultural & ethnic barriers in talking to a Samaritan woman.

John 4:6 "...Jesus was tired from the long walk, and sat wearily beside the well about noontime." 
We see here that Jesus had physical human limitations. He was physically tired and weary. Jesus was 100% human yet 100% God!  He sat and rested while waiting for His noontime appointment  Some biblical scholars write that most women went in groups twice a day to gather water. But this woman came alone at noon which is most likely because of her negative reputation. We find out that she had 5 divorces and the man she was currently with was not even her husband. It would be easy for others to cast her away and look down on her. We don't know the exact circumstances of her life -  this woman could have been a promiscuous lady leaving all her husbands or she could have been the one rejected time and time again. We do not know. What we can know is that this woman had not had an easy life. She had to of been weary and spiritually thirsty! She was also looking and waiting for the Messiah to come! 
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4:25-26

Some things the Messiah did already explain to her in their conversation at the well:
  • Jesus is the source of eternal life. The living water He gives cleanses and completely satisfies! "but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” vs. 14
  • Important concerning the controversy of the place of worship between Jews and Samaritans- Jesus states that it is not the place of worship that matters but the heart of worship. "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”John 4:23-24
  • True worshippers worship in spirit and truth. Genuine worship comes from pure hearts. We worship in truth when we worship believing on Jesus -  "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 
When Jesus shared his identity with the Samaritan woman He said, Yahweh is here which means "I AM" is here! The woman left her drinking bucket and ran into town and told EVERYONE!

When is the last time you had an encounter with the Great I AM?!
When is the last time you were so passionate and excited about His gift that you went around telling everyone? 

 Jesus told the woman, "If you knew the gift God has for you and who you are talking to, you would ask me and I would give you living water." (vs.10)  Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the gift we've been given! Sometimes we need to "be still and KNOW" (Psalm 46). Sometimes we need to keep asking in faith for  __________!

Keep on asking, and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

From this one woman's encounter with the living God in Samaria we see a revival take place! This is an example of what can happen when one believer has a genuine life transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit! One person on fire for God can spread His love and truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to the ends of the earth!

In Samaria, and through out the gospels we see that Jesus was about one thing - the will of God to the glory of God! Though He was tired and weary, He took the time to talk with this woman.  Doing God's work brings food & nourishment to the soul.  When the disciples came back with food for Jesus, He tells them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work." Jesus continues to say, "...but I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest." vs35b  Some "sow" the word by proclaiming the truth and some "reap" the harvest by leading people to a saving faith in Jesus the Christ through the power of God. The fields are ripe. Today is the day of salvation!  Are you working in the fields of your home? Community? World?!

After 2 days in Samaria, Jesus and His disciples traveled on north to Cana in Galilee. 
The numbers represent the sequence of Jesus's travels in the first year of  His ministry
Jesus back in Galilee & the faith of a Government official:
The people of Galilee had seen miracles Jesus performed at the passover in Jerusalm. Jesus was popular, however, His popularity was mainly based on what He could do for the people physically and not based on their genuine love for God. Jesus said that a prophet "has no honor in His own country" (vs44) His own lacked belief in Him. Not many miracles would be down there; however we do see the second sign in Cana with the faith of a government official.
Some insights we can learn from the Faith of the Nobleman:
  • He sought Jesus- he walked some 20 miles from Capernaum when he heard Jesus was back
  • He asked Jesus to heal his son who was very sick
  • Jesus told the man to go home and that He had healed him. The man believed and obeyed, he turned and walked back home
  • When the he arrived home, he realized that at the hour Jesus told him to go home was the same hour his son was healed. His faith grew!
  • He and his whole household believed!!
 FAITH grows as we use it!  
How is your Faith growing? 
How are you sharpening others? 

"...Believe on the LORD JESUS and be saved" 
Acts 16:31 " If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

In JOHN 3 and 4 we see the truth & love of Jesus crossing boundaries and reaching two totally different people. 
1) Nicodemus - a moral and righteous Jew who was born in the right family line and followed all the rules. Apart from Jesus and with out a spiritual awakening he was spiritually dead. We cannot earn God's grace, it is a free gift of God.
2) The Samaritan woman - her past was full of sin and failure. Nothing that she had done in her past kept God from pursuing her with His love and truth. "No matter how badly we have failed, we can always get up and begin again. Our God is the God of new beginings." Warren Wiersbe

Overall, His Love is unchanging and unfailing. 
There is nothing that we can do to make Him love us more and there is nothing we can do to make Him love us less. 


How can you walk forward in love today?

How Marvelous, how boundless is His Love...