John 4:24-54

We saw last week Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well. How Jesus draws her into a conversation, revealing something of himself to her, despite her not understanding it – but then her thinking begins to change – starting from a Jew who spoke to her – to asking if he was greater than the patriarch Jacob – to asking if he a prophet. Jesus brings her to the place of confronting her sin.

Look at v26 – the woman has just mentioned the word Messiah….

What is unusal about Jesus’ response.

He is happy to relate to the title of Messiah. He never does this with the Jews – because of the baggage that comes with it but here is happy to acknowledge who he is – the Messiah.

READ John 4:27-38

The dynamic change a little now. This private, individual conversation is now interrupted by the arrival of he disciples, shocked that their Rabbi was speaking to a woman.

Why don’t the disciples express their feelings publically?

Out of respect for Jesus but also even the disciples seem to acknowledge that to return and say out loud “What the hell are you doing talking to woman.”

Do you see anything significant in the woman leaving Jesus and going back to the town. What does she leave behind?

She leaves the bucket behind. More importantly she leaves HER bucket behind – the bucket she needed to provide her water twice a day – a valuable item. Does she forget it? Well, the word ‘left’ has a sense of deliberateness. It is the same word used to say Jesus left Judah. Did he forget Judah? No, it was deliberate. Maybe the woman finally was going to allow Jesus to get that drink. She leaves it behind so he could get the water to quench his thirst.

What has the woman now become? How would you describe her actions?

She has become an evangelist. I find it interesting that this woman if ill repute comes into the village – tells them that there is guy that seems to maybe be the Messiah, but knew all about me, come and see!! AND THEY GO!!

What does the disciples attempt to feed jesus show about where they are spiritually?

In the same place – to some extent – as the Samaritan woman. They too are focusing on the physical.

How would you express v34 – what is Jesus saying here?

To do the work of God NOURISHES him – it energizes him – it takes away the weariness of the days walk. It was what he was meant to do. Are we nourished in this way.

What is the point of Jesus’ analogy about the harvest is coming? When is it coming?

RIGHT NOW – look the crowd is coming from the village!! The grain harvest maybe four months away but the soul harvest is here.

That’s why he had to go through Samaria.

And what the disciples did not sow – they did not speak with the Samaritan woman – they will reap though in Ministering to the village.

Sometimes the sower never sees the harvest. Other times the sower and the reaper rejoice together. And Christians are called to be doing BOTH jobs – we are to be sowing and we are to be reaping the harvest of what others have sown.

READ v39-45

What drew the villagers to go and see Jesus?

Don’t you find it interesting that the village LISTEN to (1) a woman – who had no testimonial value in that culture and (2) who is supposedly ostracized by her people because of her immorality.

Maybe it is because this woman who has been so separate from everyone – who may not have associated with the main village for a very long time – who never spoke or never got water with the other women, comes running into the village shouting “Come and see, come and see a man who told me all about myself…Could this be the messiah.”

How does this villages response to Jesus compare to other responses to Jesus? – See Luke 9:51-56

This small, insignificant, rejected people have welcomed Jesus and want him to teach them – while other Samaritan villages and those in Israel reject him.

Do you see a pattern of evangelism here?

The woman meets with Jesus and then calls others to Come and See – personal contact with Christ is necessary for conversion. Also, the woman does not beg, or cajole, or argue her case – she simply says – come and meet him and see for yourselves.

What is the significance of their statement in v42 that Jesus is the savior of the world?

These Samaritans see Jesus for the whole world – not just for them or for the jews. Remember John 1:11, he came to his own yet his own did not receive him but the Samaritans in this village did.

Do you see an apparent contradiction in v44 & 45?

To be welcomed is different to receiving honor. Why would Jesus go to a place where he knew he would not be honored? Possibly because he knew that being in Galilee would not bring him such honor as to anger the pharisees and thus cause a premature crisis.

The people in Galilee welcomed him as a miracle worker – but no more – they do not honor him as the person is really is (6:41).

READ 46-54

Capernaum was a town on the Northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region, and was some 16 miles from Cana.

How much faith does the Royal Official Have? Remember the Centurion?

The official obviously believes Jesus can heal his son – but he does not believe that Jesus can do it at a distance – nor that he can do it if his son should die. The official limits what he think jesus can do.

To whom is Jesus addressing? Why does Jesus respond the way he does?

Jesus is responding not just to the official but to the Gailieans. They are more interested in Jesus as a miracle worker – but he is challenging them to think of him differently – about his true identity.

What does Jesus in v50 demand of the man?

Just think about what Jesus does here. The man is desperate for his son. Jesus says to him – “Leave here, go home WITHOUT ME, because he will be well.” For the man to leave without the person whom he was sure could heal his son must have taken courage and faith.

What time does the official discover that his son was made well?

Now, this is another minor difficulty. To some extent is does not matter what time it is here – but there are differing view. The NIV and TNIV say 1pm. The Holman Christian Standard version says 7am while the footnote in the NASB says 7pm.

Commentators differ – majority say 1pm. The man left Jesus and stopped off for the night and continued the next morning. The issue others have with 1pm is that the journey from Cana to Capernaum – while over very hilly country, could be done in 6-8 hours. Surely a worried father could have gotten home that evening. However, those commentators picking 7pm would argue that the man did not begin his journey because of the onset of evening and so set off early the next day and meet his servants.

As I said – it really is not as significant but it does need pointing out.

Why does John tell us that this is the second sign Jesus performed?

For John, he is building the case of his prologue. John tells of eight miracles in his gospel and each one says something very significant about Jesus. The first sign – the water into wine – showed Jesus’ power of the physical universe and declared what he would do in the future. Here, Jesus shows his power over life and death – and that he could heal at a distance such was his powerful word.

( Turning water into wine (2:1-11); healing the royal officials son (4:46-54), healing the paralysed man (5:1-15); feeding the five thousand (6:1-14); walking on water (6:15-21); healing the blind man (9:1-41); Raising Lazarus from the dead (11:1-44); providing the catch of fish (21:6-11).)


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