After getting lunch in the nearby town, Jesus’ disciples return to find him talking to, oh no, a WOMAN! And a SAMARITAN! And possibly one of QUESTIONABLE MORALITY. (You know, it just doesn’t get any worse than this.) It’s hard to overemphasize how WRONG Jesus would be perceived to be for having spoken to her. Their culture would judge him with profound disapproval.
It’s important to notice, however, that Jesus doesn’t slam her for her lifestyle. Despite what he knows about her sin and bad choices, he holds his tongue. Speaking the truth in love, and confronting sin in this world doesn’t always mean hostile engagement. Discernment and timing characterize him.
She has left the scene, but not in shame or intimidation. Her excitement level is so high she even leaves her water jar behind. She does what Philip had done in chapter 1: seek out her friends, and bring them to Jesus. Whatever the woman’s reputation in the village, her testimony must have been so out of character that people were receptive to her message. Instead of an outcast who is condemned to haul water and pleasure men, she is a witness to the greatest news for mankind: God Himself is on the planet in the form of Jesus.
The people streamed out of town to meet him. (I sure hope the disciples behaved themselves while they were in town getting lunch, and that they represented their association with Jesus well. Now they’ll be talking to those same people about their Lord and Messiah.) While the people are heading in their direction, the disciples urge Jesus to eat while he has the chance. Jesus takes the opportunity to make a point: all that matters is God’s will and God’s kingdom. The desire for God is so strong it occupies his every thought, every word, and his context wherever he is and whatever he is doing. God is his overpowering desire. His body would survive without the meal, but no one’s soul can survive without the witness.
Jesus saw the crowds coming, and prepared his disciples for a great and adventurous day: it’s going to be like picking ripe fruit off the tree, or walking into a field crying out to be harvested. No holding back: Speak the Word, and people will believe.
I have mentioned before that John is presenting his case about who Jesus is.
John the Baptist, a Jewish prophet, said Jesus is God.
Andrew, a disciple of John’s, said Jesus is the Messiah.
Nathanael, a devoted Jewish man, said Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel.
Jesus’ disciples are convinced He is worth their faith.
Nicodemus, an educated man, and a religious leader in the Jewish community, became a follower of Jesus.
Now, an uneducated woman, and a Samaritan, becomes convinced Jesus is the Messiah.
Are you catching the flow? Whether you are Jewish or not, man or woman, educated or not, religious or not—all of these people are able to see that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, the King of Israel: God Himself in the flesh. John, the writer, is making his case. The point isn’t so much what THEY thought of him, but what do YOU think of him?