Focus Text: John 4.25-26
Who were these Samaritans? To the average Jew, they were but dogs! To the religious hierarchy, they were worse than Gentiles and not worthy of help even in the most difficult and dangerous straits. However, not all Samaritans were bad; as is true with all cultures and races, some were honest, loving, compassionate human beings. After all, who hasn’t heard of the “Good Samaritan” and his neighborly attitude toward a rank stranger? Jesus told this parable to demonstrate a moral fact and here it is: Any person who is in genuine need is worthy of help, period! The Jews were wrong in picking and choosing those who were worthy based on race or social standings; their self-righteous discrimination was just plain wrong!
But what of this Samaritan woman to whom Jesus was speaking? What was He trying to achieve through His unorthodox discussion with a woman from such a place? If we haven’t figured out the answer to these questions by now, the veil is about to be lifted. “The woman said to Him [Jesus], ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’” (John 4.25-26). One can read the rest of the Gospel accounts and he/she will not find another passage like this one; in it, Jesus clearly and unmistakably declared Himself to be Messiah. The Old Testament prophets had told of His coming; hundreds and thousands within the Hebrew nation had awaited His coming. But to whom does He unmistakably announce Himself? To none else but a woman; to a Samaritan woman; to a Samaritan woman with a checkered past! Did Jesus see her as worthy of hearing about Him and having an opportunity to believe the truth and be saved by it? Certainly He did! He went out of His way, broke several customs, and spent His own valuable time just to convince her that He was Messiah!
Much of what we have written previously comes to a focal point in these verses. God wants sinners to know Him. He wants sinners to understand Him (to the extent that any human being can). God desires fellowship with the human race even as He had fellowship with them immediately after the creation. The whole of the Old Testament was written to bring humanity to this point, the advent of the Messiah! Now at long last Divine planning even from eternity is brought to fruition in the person of a carpenter’s son who thinks so highly of every human being that He goes out of His way to talk with a Samaritan woman and reveal Himself to her for none other purpose except to give her opportunity to be saved!
In truth, there is none righteous, no not one; none is deserving of salvation, not even the purest of the pure. Had man been able to become righteous apart from the coming of Messiah, there would have been no need for Him; however, man was not able to pass that test; he failed miserably, one and all! With Messiah’s venture into Samaria, whether it was recognized at the time or not, He forever broke the barriers of race and culture which had formerly stood between many who called themselves righteous and other sinners on the far side of the tracks. God help us to realize that our job as believers is to sow the seed; it is His to give the increase! That how God treats sinners!
1. What was the point of the parable of the Good Samaritan? Why pick a Samaritan to illustrate this point?
2. What did the Samaritan woman know about Messiah? What did she think He would do?
3. What is the meaning of Messiah? How long had His coming been anticipated? Planned?
4. If God loves Samaritans enough to give His Son for them, how ought I to treat them? Now take out the word Samaritans (above) and insert any sinner or group of sinners in the universe. Does it change the truthfulness of the statement? Does it change how I ought to treat them?
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