John 4

The Samaritan Woman

Once again, let us remember that Samaritans and Jews mostly despised one another. Sexism was rampant, so a Jewish man talking with a Samaritan woman about religious truth was unheard of. Jesus is different. Though he is actually ‘higher up’ than any person, he talks quite respectfully to this woman. She seem a little suspicious. He makes some big claims about himself, as the source of this strange “living water.” She responds as though this is a jest, “Well then, give me this water, so I can stop coming to this well (and I won’t have to meet strange folk like you?)”

Then Jesus proves himself a prophet, knowing her past, and declares himself the Messiah. She begins to believe him.

When the disciples return with food,  the woman goes back to here town, and starts gathering a crowd.  Jesus speaks cryptically to his disciples about having another source of nutrition: doing the will of the Father is his food. Then he speaks prophetically again, declaring that a spiritual harvest is ready, and the disciples are about to see God gather people to himself from a most unlikely source: Samaria.

Then the crowds arrive fulfilling his prophecy, spurred by the woman to come and meet Jesus for themselves. Some believed because of her testimony, and many more believed  when they met Jesus for themselves.

The Official’s Son

Jesus gives his word to the official, that his son will live, and the man ‘took Jesus at his word’: He believed and started back home. I notice that the disciples tell a few stories about healing in the homes of the rich and powerful, and what stands out is that Jesus doesn’t deny them, or give them special treatment –sometimes he doesn’t even go to their house. It’s a subtle way of showing that your earthly fame and fortune can’t be used to twist God’s arm. The healing did happen, as Jesus promised, and the whole household believed.