John 4:1-12

John 4:1-12 has Jesus understanding just how far He was outside the comfort zone of the religious leaders of the day.  “Jesus realized that the Pharisees were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing)”.  The Pharisees were putting together details because they had a big problem with Jesus’ rise to prominence and popularity.  He was starting to infringe on their turf, so they were building their case to be able to have a confrontation with Jesus before things got out of hand and out of their control.


They took it pretty seriously keeping score of how many people were baptized by Jesus, and also by John the Baptist.  “They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people”.  They were unable to control what was happening, so they did the next best thing and tried to undermine it.  The tactic was to try and make the two camps competitive and ultimately start a conflict.  They missed the fact that Jesus had actually delegated the work of baptizing to His disciples.  But none the less, it was before the time of Jesus big ministry so he chooses to move on.  “So Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee”.


The road to get from Jerusalem to Galilee was shortest through Samaria.  There was a choice by most Jews to avoid that road as there was a deep distrust and dislike by the Jews for the Samaritans.  But Jesus decided that was the way He should go.  “To get there, he had to pass through Samaria. He came into Sychar, a Samaritan village that bordered the field Jacob had given his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was still there. Jesus, worn out by the trip, sat down at the well. It was noon”.  Jesus knew He had a divine appointment ahead of Him.


Jesus was sitting by the well about midday, and a Samaritan woman comes to the well.  He asks her for a drink.  That may seem like a normal thing to do, but it was off the norm in several ways.  “A woman, a Samaritan, came to draw water. Jesus said, “Would you give me a drink of water?” His disciples had gone to the village to buy food for lunch. The Samaritan woman, taken aback, asked, “How come you, a Jew, are asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” (Jews in those days wouldn’t be caught dead talking to Samaritans.)”  Jews didn’t speak to Samaritans at all as they were considered ‘half-breeds’ in their faith.  By tradition, a rabbi would not speak with a woman in public, not even with his own wife. It was also very unusual for a Jewish person of that time to ask a favor or accept a drink from a Samaritan’s cup. Jesus’ request genuinely surprised the woman.  But Jesus puts all this aside to begin a life changing conversation with this woman at the well!

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