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John 4:25-29, NIV
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 who speak to you am he."
27 Just 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?" 28 Then, 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?"
February 4, 2011
First, Jesus asked for a drink of water. Then he offered this woman something he called living water. Now he tells her he is the Messiah! What's she supposed to do?
Simultaneously and on a different track, the disciples arrive at Jacob's well tired, hungry and thirsty. So they do what all good disciples would do. They go to find food for their Teacher. Upon their return, to their amazament and dismay, they find Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman. Not about the heat of the day, but engaged in a deeply moving conversation. What were they supposed to do?
Everything about this scene seems awkward. Everyone is caught off guard, not knowing what to do next or how to respond.
The disciples are silenced. Even Peter, who generally had something to say and spoke even when he didn't know what he was talking about, kept his mouth shut. They were all hungry and just wanted to eat and refresh.
The woman surely felt their rejection and annoyance. In their eyes, she had no right to be speaking to a Jew or any other man in a public place without a husband at her side. But she had been speaking with Jesus long enough to know he didn't share their views. Long enough to think this may be the one promised by the prophets long ago.
Knowing she would return and not caring if these men used it, she left her water pot and went back to town with one clear and startling message. "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"
More journal entries
January 24, 2011
The travel-weary disciples discovered Jesus talking to a deeply astonished woman. The woman, doubting her own capacity for evaluating this man, unsure of her own powers of discernment--went to the townspeople. Who else would there be to ask? The townspeople had labeled her and avoided her as much as she had avoided them. With Jesus' arrival, they all turned over a new leaf and started a new chapter in the happenings of this town.
She spoke with them and asked for their help, their opinion, their affirmation of her intuitions. Come see this guy who knows everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?
Imagine the townspeople when they heard what she said. --Laughter, smiling, "what's she up to?" attitude. Right! The Messiah revealing himself first to the town's outcast! But realizing she was very serious, people went out to see who was asking for water and investigate the strangers gathering at their well. Mid-day, the off hours, might as well go check this out.
October 30, 1982The Messiah is coming. I know, you know--everybody must know! The Messiah is coming. They know he is coming and they know his name--the Christ. He will possess all knowledge because he comes from God. And when he comes he will reveal the truth. With these expectations, no wonder it was difficult to look at this man named Jesus, a carpenter by trade but not practicing his trade, and believe that he was/is the Messiah.
This woman knew the Christ was coming and had great expectation of him. Could it be that God remembered his people and has come to save us? And with my own eyes I have seen him!
The old ideas about a Messiah that would miraculously and literally deliver them from all the evils of life would fade in time and be replaced by the name given to Jesus in Joseph's dream: Immanuel. Immanuel means God is with us, all the time, in every place.
November 1, 1982"You know the Messiah is coming . . . . I am he . . ." Whether you feel it is so, or not, I am the Christ . . . speaking . . . to you . . . now. What a powerful, magnificent, holy experience. How blest this woman was.
Her deliverer didn't call her out of her circumstances, but sent her into her circumstances with the message, "I have found the Christ." How many devout people have longed to hear these words, and experienced nothing instead!
Unique to the Judeo-Christian tradition is the God who speaks to humans, who leads, guides and directs a believer's life. That message is in many of our great hymns and songs of worship.
There is evidence that she believed Jesus and it changed her life. Decent society had shut its doors against her. She went into the town and told these people (who probably looked on her and treated her as a sinner) that the Messiah may be at their well.--What a story! The townspeople came out to see.
While the disciples were urging Jesus to eat, Jesus was watching the townspeople leave their homes and workshops, and start for the well. Again the contrast between the spiritual and the physical. His disciples saw nothing but food; Jesus saw salvation coming to this town.
What would the reaction of the disciples be to what they witnessed when they returned to Jesus with lunch? It was an eye opener for them. They had barely just begun traveling with Jesus and here he was surrounding himself with a bunch of Samaritans.
November 1, 1982The disciples thought they were taking care of his needs, only to find out he was quite content and capable without them! None of the Twelve questioned him or the woman. Everyone had questions, but no one felt comfortable asking them. Questions seemed inappropriate--what kind of situation was this?
It's none of my business but . . . . Curiosity, judgments, suspicions, jealousy, possessiveness--all these things come out in our questions. But no one dared to ask anything.
November 4, 1982She left her water pot, probably forgot all about it. Jesus put this woman in touch with a part of her being that she had forgotten existed.--a hunger and thirst for something more than she had already experienced in life. Talking to Jesus made her ignore the task at hand, leave it behind, and go seek out others to tell them the good news. Being with Jesus makes you forget everything else! How can my meditation time be like that? I should read Ignatius' guidelines--about using your imagination to really be there with Jesus in the Gospel accounts.
November 5, 1982
What impressed this woman was Jesus' ability to know her without ever having known her. She doesn't trust her own judgment, so she asks others if he could be the Christ. You come and see too, and then we can decide whether he is the One or not. She needed group consensus before she could allow herself to believe. Why? She hadn't needed group consensus to have 5 husbands and live in with a 6th man! Why did Jesus bother with her? Why does God bother with any of us? But he does, thanks to his goodness and faithfulness and all the other qualities which make him our Lord.
November 9, 1982Even this sinful woman was able to bring people to Jesus. She brought more people than all the good women in the town put together! Being a sinner is not necessarily a disadvantage in the Bible. This woman in her enthusiasm and excitement for life stumbled upon Jesus who told her everything she ever did. She wasn't bashful, or cautious. She bellowed out to anyone she saw--"Come on out and see this man. He may be the Christ." Not caring what others think or say about her was an advantage Jesus used.
What do I have that Jesus can use to bring people to God? I'm the opposite of this woman--afraid to open my mouth when others won't like what I say.
November 12, 1982The woman of the well, is she still spreading the word all over town? Of course, I'm jealous of the ease with which she invites people to come and see Jesus. No apologies, no excuses or explanations, just "come and see this man who told me everything I ever did."
Suddenly touched by God, she is immediately successful in getting people to see Jesus. Had a 'righteous' person had a similar experience and then gone through town shouting the news, the response would probably not have been as good. It's ironic that someone you generally believe, when they talk about faith, we don't listen carefully. Whereas someone that you don't trust, when they talk about Jesus, we hear and believe them!
It has something to do with our expectations of people and explains why lay witnessing can be more effective than the witness of the professionals. When you get what you expect, it's not news. When you get what you don't expect, that is news and people check it out. So how is a life-long, consistently-devout person supposed to bring people to God. Probably just the way they live--quietly, patiently, faithfully, and persistently. And with some enthusiasm about the current happenings in their Christian experience.