John 4

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Chapter Summary

  • v1-26 - This is the story of Jesus' famous encounter with the Samaritan woman.

  • Normally, good Jews who were taking the trip Jesus was would walk the long way around Samaria, but Jesus very intentionally cuts through the middle of it.

  • You've likely heard lots of things about the Samaritan woman at the well and how she and Jesus were the only ones there in the heat of the day because the woman was shunned by her community and couldn't come in the cooler hours of the day like the other women did. All this lady wants to do is get her water and get out of there. She certainly doesn't want to talk with Jesus about the ugliest aspects of her life. Very few people really like deep conversation about things that really matter, so we've become masters distractionists to fend off having to talk about anything uncomfortable - especially things of religious import. As you read about the encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well notice all of the efforts she makes to distract Jesus from having any sort of meaningful conversation:

  • v9 - Dismisses Jesus based on well established racial biases

  • v11 - Ignores Jesus' comment about living water because He can't even fetch His own regular water

  • v15 - Misses Jesus' comment about living water leading to eternal life and instead wants living water just so she doesn't have to do the hard work of drawing water each day (in other words, living water would just solve her immediate felt needs)

  • v17 - Her coy response about not having a husband

  • v19-20 - She introduces a hot button controversy to distract Jesus' penetrating questions

  • v25 - She tries one last time to sidetrack the conversation, essentially saying "Well, none of us can really know these answers anyways, so you can have your opinion and I'll have mine.

  • The disciples do a splendid job of unintentionally ruining the conversation as well by their continual insistence that Jesus stop for lunch (v31-33)

After all her efforts to distract the conversation, the Holy Spirit finally opens her eyes and heart and she becomes one of the first Christian evangelists. She runs to tell the very people in town that she had been working so hard to evade.