Lessons from John 4 (Part 2)
John 4 tells the story of Jesus’ meeting and conversation with a woman of Samaria at a well. Jesus shows great patience and compassion to this woman as he reveals her need for a gracious Savior-King, and offers himself to her as her all-satisfying treasure (“living water”). Here are some more observations from this passage:
Jesus allows himself to be vulnerable in front of others (6-7). Jesus’ first words to the woman are, “Give me a drink.” He is tired and thirsty from his long journey, and he has no way to draw water for himself from the well. He needs something from this woman, and he doesn’t mind asking for it. He doesn’t mind admitting to her, “I need your help.”
Are we allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to others? Are we too proud to admit to our neighbors, “I need your help with something”? We are often most endeared to those whom we serve in some way. When we ask our neighbors or our friends for help—in other words, when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable around them—we allow relationships to develop and seeds of affection to grow. When we are candid with others about our needs and weaknesses, we become closer with them and earn opportunities to share the gospel with them.
The woman is shocked by Jesus’ acceptance of her (9). The woman is surprised that Jesus has even spoken to her. She says, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” Jesus is not only willing to dignify her by speaking to her, but he is also willing to take a drink from her (even though many Jews considered Samaritans unclean and would not have drunk from their vessels).
Are people ever shocked by our acceptance of them? Do people ever wonder, “Why is he talking to me right now? Why would she invite me into her home and treat me so kindly?” If not, then we are probably only interacting with people who share the same socio-economic status. But Jesus commands his followers to befriend those who are “beneath” them in society’s eyes (Luke 14:12-14. When was the last time someone was shocked by your kindness to them?
The woman does not know the gift of God, so she can’t ask for it (10). The Samaritan woman is shocked that Jesus has asked her for a drink, but Jesus tells her that what is even more shocking is that this woman could stand before the Son of God and fail to ask him for living water. “If you knew the gift of God,” he tells her, “you would have asked.” But she can’t ask for it because she doesn’t know it’s available.
Have we told others about the gift of God? People often think that the offer of the gospel is, “Be good and you can go to heaven.” But that is emphatically not what God is offering. He is instead offering unrighteous people a free pardon from their guilt, and to be treated as if they were perfectly righteous on the basis of Jesus’ perfect life. And none of this has to be earned. How many people do not ask for this gift from God because they don’t know that he is offering it? Are we offering this gift to people, by simply telling them about it?