Lessons from John 4 (Part 4)

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 exposes the woman’s sin (16-18). Midway through the conversation, Jesus tells the woman to go and get her husband. She tells him that she doesn’t have a husband. Jesus answers and says, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true” (4:17-18). Jesus is quite willing to confront the woman in her sin of adultery. In doing so, he shows her that she has a great need: to be cleansed and forgiven of sin.

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Christians can imitate the Savior here, but they need to do so cautiously. On the one hand, we do not want to appear holier-than-thou, and we need to repent of our own sins first before we urge others to repent of theirs (Matt. 7:3-5). On the other hand, we need to remember that Jesus’ message is not merely, “God loves you,” but it is this: “The kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mk. 1:15) No one can put their faith in Christ unless they have first repented of sin. And if my friend or family member does not even admit that they are a sinner, then the most loving thing I can do is be frank with them and expose their sin!

Jesus is not a distant or uptight guest. He accepts the Samaritans’ invitation to stay with them (40). After Jesus’ initial conversation with the Samaritan woman, she goes back into town and tells the people there about this man who “told me all I ever did.” So the townspeople come to see this man for themselves, and end up asking him to stay with them for a few days. And Jesus accepts their hospitality! I think this is really neat. Jesus, the eternal Son of God who took on flesh and visited his people, is houseguest to a bunch of Samaritans (a group despised by most Jewish people). How cool!

Christians should absolutely imitate the Savior and eagerly accept invitations to receive others’ hospitality. If a neighbor invites us for dinner or coffee, if a co-worker invites us to lunch with him, or if a classmate invites us to study with her, I think our default answer should be “yes”! Who knows what opportunities the Lord might give us to share about our hope in Christ? Who knows what impact our Spirit-filled presence might have upon a person who does not know Christ but sees him working in us?

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