Notes from SBTS Chapel
Today’s passage takes place as Jesus and his disciples are on their way to Galilee from Judea and instead of going through a typical round-about way, they go straight through and stop by a Samaritan town, specifically to rest at an ancient well of Jacob. It is here that Jesus meets a Samaritan woman who has come to draw water but they end up in a conversation about worship as well as the woman’s own complicated sexual history. There is a broader narrative from this text that helps us understand why the disciples were so shocked to find Jesus speaking with this woman.
The significance of this conversation
Jesus was talking to a woman. Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman. Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman who had a scandalous past. Rabbis did not teach women. Good Jews did not associate with Samaritans, let alone with someone with such a disgraceful past. While his disciples were worried about what people will say or think about Jesus, Jesus has no concern for his “brand.” He is not concerned about people’s opinions. When others run away, Jesus draws near. Jesus is a friend to sinners. Understand how significant it is for a sexually immoral Samaritan woman is the one who is chosen to bring the messianic announcement to her town.
The Samaritan woman’s witness
What compelled her to leave her water jug at the well and go into the town to tell people she met the Messiah? She invites the townspeople by telling them to come see a man who told me everything she ever did. Could this be the Messiah? It may be terrifying for someone to know everything we have ever done. But when you know the Gospel of forgiveness and mercy of Jesus Christ, there is freedom from accusation.
Her witness was personal and her witness was urgent. We must witness not only with the abstract, objective, theological, propositional realities of the Gospel but also how this Gospel has transformed our lives. And by God’s grace, people listened to her and came.
Open your eyes
While the Samaritan woman was away, the disciples urged Jesus to eat something. Jesus responds by saying that he has food to eat that they know nothing about. It was the food to do the will of God. The reason Jesus stopped by the well and spoke with the Samaritan woman was not simply to create a scandal or make a statement. It was to do the will of God. He shares a story about how the fields are ripe for harvest to explain further. The well was on the outskirts of town. There must have been many fields around them. But what did they see as they looked up? They would have seen the Samaritan townspeople who were coming to hear from Jesus himself. The good news of the Gospel is for all peoples.
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.John 1:11-13
Pray. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send workers into the harvest field. Speak. Press outside our lives to pursue those who do not know Jesus. All theological orthodoxy and eloquence of preaching is all meaningless if we lose our view of the harvest. Go. We serve a missionary God and our task is a missionary task. We are at our best and most faithful when we are a missionary people. Lift up your eyes. Open your eyes. The fields are ripe for harvest.