Thursday, 6 September 2012

John 4: The Testimony of the Broken Woman

In John 4 we see Jesus travelling through the country of Samaria. The discussion between Jesus and the woman he meets there is an interesting one for a lot of reasons.
  • Think of some countries, ethnicities or groups that are known for their dislike of each other.
  • Who are then people that are looked down on in our society?
  • What is your story? Do you believe in Jesus? How did that come to be?
John 4:4 says that Jesus had to go through Samaria to Galilee. We often read it like someone saying, "I had to go on the M25 to get into London." There was no way that Jesus could have got to Galilee without setting foot there. This was not the case, and most Jews would avoid it. They would cross the Jordan River and go a longer route just so they didn't have to bump into any Samaritans. The Jews believed that Samaritans made them ceremonially dirty, just like eating pork would. They really hated each other. So it says that he had to do it, it wasn't because that's what GoogleMaps told him to do. There must have  been another reason. 

Jesus meets a woman, on her own, drawing water out of a well. This woman, it turns out, is on her own because she is an adulteress. She hasn't got much going for her. The Jews would already hate her because she is a Samaritan, then the Samaritans don't seem to be too keen on her because she has too many husbands. Yet, Jesus asks her for a drink. This is surprising because first, she's a lady. First century jewish men don't really speak to woman (see verse 27); Rabbis didn't even talk to their wives in public. Second, he's about to take a drink from a Samaritan, which will make him unclean. Yet he has a very interesting exchange with her. He tells her how she has sinned, and unfazed she asks him various questions. In verse 25 and 26 things take a very interesting turn. Although, Jesus gives very strong hints about who he is, and we're helpfully told in John 1, in the whole of the book of John, Jesus only says he is the Messiah twice. That's it; only twice does he admit who he is. One is at his trial, the other time is now.

Of all the people to admit you're the Messiah to, you'd have thought Jesus would have chosen someone else. Perhaps he should have told Nicodemus in chapter 3. He was an important chap. But instead he chose to tell a woman, from Samaria, who was shunned by her neighbours. She had nothing going for her, until she was told that Jesus was the Christ and she believed.

This woman then went to tell the rest of her village who Jesus was. Because of the testimony of a broken, unwanted woman many believed. If you're feeling broken, unwanted or unimportant your testimony is still amazing. Tell it and many people may believe.

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