1Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard that he was winning and baptizing more followers than John was. 2But Jesus' disciples were really the ones doing the baptizing, and not Jesus himself.
3Jesus left Judea and started for Galilee again. 4This time he had to go through Samaria, 5 and on his way he came to the town of Sychar. It was near the field that Jacob had long ago given to his son Joseph. 6-8The well that Jacob had dug was still there, and Jesus sat down beside it because he was tired from traveling. It was noon, and after Jesus' disciples had gone into town to buy some food, a Samaritan woman came to draw water from the well.
Jesus asked her, “Would you please give me a drink of water?”
9 “You are a Jew,” she replied, “and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink of water when Jews and Samaritans won't have anything to do with each other?”
10Jesus answered, “You don't know what God wants to give you, and you don't know who is asking you for a drink. If you did, you would ask me for the water that gives life.”
11“Sir,” the woman said, “you don't even have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where are you going to get this life-giving water? 12Our ancestor Jacob dug this well for us, and his family and animals got water from it. Are you greater than Jacob?”
13Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. 14But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give will become in that person a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”
15The woman replied, “Sir, please give me a drink of that water! Then I won't get thirsty and have to come to this well again.”
16Jesus told her, “Go and bring your husband.”
17-18The woman answered, “I don't have a husband.”
“That's right,” Jesus replied, “you're telling the truth. You don't have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn't your husband.”
19The woman said, “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. 20My ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews say Jerusalem is the only place to worship.”
21Jesus said to her:
Believe me, the time is coming when you won't worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans don't really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. 23But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. 24God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.
25The woman said, “I know that the Messiah will come. He is the one we call Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26“I am that one,” Jesus told her, “and I am speaking to you now.”
Two topics are often off-limits when meeting new people: politics and religion. People have their own opinion, and true exchanges of ideas are quite rare. After all, religions only divide people, right?
In today’s text, a Samaritan woman comes by herself to draw water at the well, much later than other women. There, by herself, she meets Jesus, alone. . . A sustained conversation follows, on religious matters at that! At some point, she brings up the issue of the time when the Messiah would come and settle religious differences between Jews and Samaritans. As an answer, Jesus openly declares: “I am that one . . . and I am speaking to you now” (v 26).
“I am the Messiah,” an open declaration, unique in all four gospels. Only once elsewhere did Jesus say he was the Messiah: when asked – under oath – whether he was indeed the “king of the Jews” (Matthew 27:11, Luke 22:67) or “the Messiah, the Son of the glorious God” (Mark 14:61).
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is hailed as Messiah. Peter preaches to the Jews: “God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, even though you put him to death on a cross” (Acts 2:36). Paul teaches in the synagogue in Thessalonica, using Hebrew Scriptures, that Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 17.2-3). John writes: “If we believe that Jesus is truly Christ, we are God’s children” (1 John 5:1). Jude writes about “our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 25). (The Greek word “Christ” means Messiah.)
This Jewish Messiah is for all nations. Isaiah prophesied: “One of David’s descendants will be the signal for the people of all nations to come together” (Isaiah 11:10, quoted in Romans 15:12). Old Simeon praised God for Jesus, light for all nations, and glory for Israel.
Religions divide; Messiah Jesus unites Jews, Samaritans, and nations.
True and only God, You will one day bring together everything under the lordship of Jesus. Forgive my prejudices, and grant me a deeper love for your Messiah who bought people from every tribe, language, nation, and race. In the name of him worthy to be praised. Amen.