Focus Text: John 4.39-42
When the disciples returned from the city where they had gone to buy food, they were shocked to find Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman, yet no one dared ask Him for what purpose He had engaged her (see John 4.27). Shortly after the disciples returned, the woman went back into her home town and publicly declared her conviction that she had encountered a man who just could be Messiah. Due to the strength of her testimony, a number of Samaritans came out to meet Him and yet others apparently believed on Him merely on the strength of her word.
However, Jesus was not through with the Samaritans; there was work yet to be done and He was not about to leave that work unaccomplished. The former prophets had spent the vast majority of their time among the Hebrews and the disciples of Jesus had been instructed not to carry His message into the villages of the Samaritans (see Matthew 10.5). This was not due to any bias on the part of Jesus; nor was it because the Samaritans were unworthy of hearing the message of salvation. Jesus had a larger mission to perform through the apostles and disciples and it involved going to fields that were already prepared (i.e. the Jews) and ready for harvest. Work yet had to be done in Samaria and Jesus had begun that work through, of all people, a Samaritan woman.
“And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, ‘He told me all that I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. Then they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.’” (John 4.39-42). The work which Jesus did through the woman was but the first sowing of seed in a fertile field; where others dared not tread, Jesus only but souls needing a Savior and He filled that need. Note carefully His response to the invitation of the Samaritans for Him to stay a while with them; John records that He remained for two days, doubtless continuing to teach and admonish while there.
It is significant that Jesus did not place a premium on one soul above another; they were/are of equal value! The soul of a woman is of equal value to that of a man. The soul of a Samaritan is of the same worth as the soul of a Jew. The soul of a person with a checkered past is just as important as the soul of one who has lived a relatively righteous life. We can extend these thoughts to include each and every person who lives, who shall live in the future, and who has lived in the past. Our Savior places equal value on the souls of men and women without regard for the hue of their skin, their national heritage, or their lineage; to our Lord these earthly distinctions mean absolutely nothing!
As believers we must strive to treat sinners the way God treats them; we must recognize that our duty in carrying the gospel to others CANNOT be fulfilled while showing favor to any group or class. To be godly we must show no partiality in spreading the gospel. So be it, and Amen!
1. What question did the disciples want to ask Jesus but did not?
2. What message did the woman take to the city? What reaction did she get?
3. How long did Jesus stay in the woman’s city? How unusual was that?
4. Whom did the Samaritan’s confess Jesus to be? They also declared Him to be Savior of something. What was it? How hard was that confession to make for a Samaritan?
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