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15: Jesus Travels from Judea to Galilee via Samaria

May 14, 2009

Major Text: John 4:5-45

Outline:

  1. Jesus Rests                                    John 4:5-10
  2. Jesus Visits                                   John 4:11-27
  3. The Woman Talks                         John 4:28-31
  4. Jesus Prioritizes                            John 4:32-38
  5. Jesus Accommodates                    John 4:39-45

Context/Discussion/Comments:

This is the well known story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar.  It was unusual for Jews to travel from Judea to Galilee on this route because the Jews had no respect for Samaritans and usually went the longer route via Jericho and up the Jordan.  Samaritans were considered unclean because they had intermarried with the gentile tribes in the area.  They no longer practiced pure Judaism.  They practiced their own religion, a compromise of their Jewish and Gentile heritage.  Sychar was a small village located near the original city of Shechem which was a very important place in the lives of the Patriarchs.

Two items are of interest.  We have recorded for us a very unnatural visit between a Jewish man and a Samaritan woman in a very natural setting.  And we have them discussing a very natural phenomenon, water, compared with a supernatural phenomenon called “Living Water”, the Holy Spirit.

This story is familiar so I won’t repeat the details.  Their discussion covers the differences between well water and living water [running water in streams] to which Jesus refers to as the Holy Spirit.  Running water, or any water, is very unusual in Israel and is a highly valued resource.  People fought over water.  It was hard work and the women usually were assigned the duty.  Jesus reveals her past and astounds her with His insight.  She realizes that He is special and runs to tell her friends to come and meet the one she believes is the Christ.

Jesus’ disciples return and are astounded that Jesus would be talking to a Samaritan woman.  They want Jesus to eat so they can all leave for Galilee.  Jesus is no longer hungry because He sees the hunger for truth around Him.  He is energized by His work and not by food.  He explains that they too will have a specific purpose, that of reaping the labors of His ministry.

Many believed in Jesus and were blessed by the woman’s testimony.  Jesus was encouraged to stay with them longer so He stayed two more days before leaving for Galilee.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Never be unsociable with people of other cultures. Jesus is Savior of all mankind.
  2. The Holy Spirit is the water that eternally quenches the thirst of your soul. We may not admit it but all men seek to know God even if they end up rejecting Him.
  3. A simple clear approach is best when telling others that Jesus is the Messiah. Use real life experiences to show the importance of believing in Jesus.
  4. True worship is done in Spirit and in Truth. True worship happens only with those to whom Jesus has been revealed and accepted.
  5. The Lord’s work always takes priority over one’s physical needs. Spiritual strength will carry one through physical hardships.
  6. People who are willing to listen take priority over those with personal agendas or hard hearts. Use your time wisely.

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