Scripture: John 4:28-29, 39-42
Did you ever think in reading this text that Jesus may not have actually gotten a drink? While He may have done so, which wouldn’t be surprising, in the context of their conversation, we never do see it mentioning Him taking a drink while the woman was there. Regardless, the woman in her excitement left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, ”Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
In looking over the text, it’s clear that if there were any more conversation had, it was not recorded; given the beginning and end of their meeting as it is portrayed, this probably was the full conversation. Why bring that up? The woman said that Jesus told her all things that she ever did. Within her excitement, this is most likely an over exaggeration that is tied to her sense of identification in what He brought up—especially with relationships with men. Knowing this about her would have been enough to conclude knowing all things about her. The same could be said for people like Nathanael and Thomas; they needed to hear very little to draw a powerful conclusion about Jesus’ identity.
The woman’s question, “Could this be the Christ?” is really less of a question and more of an invitation. She was already convinced, but wanted to draw others into this moment. Remember, this passage becomes essentially two-sided in this portion of the passage: the hungry disciples and the spiritually hungry Samaritans. God may be at work and any one of us might miss it if we are only concerned with our interests to the neglect of our social environment. What takes place in Samaria is what will take place continuously throughout the Gospel of John: belief. The book has its share of doubters, but it is also written in a way that brings forth the believing response to the work and words of Christ on the part of many people. Belief, once again, is not simply acknowledging who Jesus is, but it is also banking our hopes in Him by placing our lives into God’s hands on the basis of His promises. Belief is a theme, if not the primary theme, of the Gospel of John.
There are two waves of belief in verses 39-42. The first wave is in vv. 39-40 on the basis of the woman’s testimony, and the second wave is in vv. 41-42 on the basis of Jesus’ words. Jesus would say to Thomas in John 20:28, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Both the woman’s testimony and Jesus’ testimony to the people are founded upon words. The first people believed on account of a miracle in that Christ could not have known these things about the woman unless He was the Son of God. The second people believed when they heard Him speak directly. What He told them is not recorded, but they definitely perceived in His words that He was the Messiah.
By the end of the recorded passage of Jesus, his disciples, and the Samaritans at Sychar, the last group of people was basically echoing the sentiment of all those who believed in Jesus in His time there: “we know.” They are saying that they are convinced of who He is; they recognize Him; they have a personal knowledge of Him because of their interaction with Him. Christianity at large will often still have two groups: one that knows about Jesus and another that knows Jesus. Obviously no one has had an experience in seeing Jesus work or speak in person, but through the Scriptures, some walk away with head knowledge of Christ and some, as the Holy Spirit works, walk away with a heart knowledge of Him, too. It’s impossible to have salvation without a personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we build upon that relationship with the word of God, it actually can contribute to the strength of the relationship and ourselves. If we build informational knowledge without a relationship, all we will ever be is biblically informed unbelievers.
Jesus stayed with the people of Sychar for two days. Do you think He answered a few questions or taught them truth? Perhaps dispelled some false teachings? He probably did many things while He was with them, but all we could do is speculate. A host of possibilities exist, and we’ll never know here, but we will learn of those multiple activities in heaven and that will fill in a lot of biblical gaps. Clarifying a lot of Scripture from Jesus Himself is one of the many things to look forward to in Heaven. One thing is for certain, the people of Sychar who believed were never the same again after Jesus came to town.
Prayer from Pastor Sam:
Father, grow our minds to think more deeply on the truths of Your word. Grow our hearts to trust You more, to love others, and to be more committed to You as time passes. Move our nation to seek You and to humble ourselves before You. Lord, give us courage and help us to act in those places You’d have us to. Move the people into Your word. Be with those sharing Your word around the globe today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.