Who Jesus Is: The Fourth Gospel (John 4:27-54)

I left you with a cliffhanger from the first half of John 4 about the unnamed Samaritan woman. We eavesdropped as a conversation progressed between an unrighteous woman and a sinless Savior. At first, He was just a “Jew” to her (the Jews and Samaritans had a mutual disgust for one another); then, she called Him “Sir”—a more polite and respectful way to address someone. As He began to speak with her about her sin, she referred to him as a “prophet.” Finally, she said to Him, “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming…” Jesus then rocked her world by declaring, “I am He.”

That’s where we concluded—with the Living Water revealing Himself to a broken, rejected, and burdened woman who was drinking the world’s polluted water. We all know this unnamed woman because she is you. I like to think she was unnamed because her name was meant to be Tiffany. Or—in your case—her name was meant to be your name. I’m thankful that the Living Water revealed Himself to a broken, rejected, and burden woman (me) who was drinking the world’s polluted water. I pray you feel the same.

Now, the disciples enter the scene again (who had left to go buy food):

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”

28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

-          It makes me smile that the disciples knew it was strange for a Jew to speak with a Samaritan, yet they didn’t say anything. That tells us that they are learning how Jesus has His own approach and He knows what needs to happen, so they don’t question Him or try to counsel Him. We could learn a thing or two from that, right? Remember the miracle at the wedding in Cana and how Mary made a statement, but didn’t try to counsel Jesus about how to “solve” the problem?

-          I love verse 28 – “Then, leaving her water jar…” She talked to her Savior about the Living Water—and she accepted that Truth. Then, she left her worldly water jar with Jesus as she ran to tell others. That is a conversion story if I ever heard one! Let’s give up the junk of this world by laying it at the feet of Jesus and then run to share our faith with others.

31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

-          Here again, we have Jesus making a statement (“I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”). The statement is taken in the wrong sense (“Could someone have bought him food?”). Jesus remakes the statement in an even more vivid way and prompts the disciples to “see” (with their spiritual eyes) how the fields are ripe for harvest—meaning, the Samaritan people!

Lord, give us Your eyes to see. Help our spiritual eyes to see the harvest and be moved with compassion to share our testimony with others, just like the unnamed Samaritan woman.

39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.

42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

-          It’s humbling to me that a “bad” Samaritan who has little to no respect in a town can be used as an instrument to lead others to Jesus. That is what makes God’s work so phenomenally backwards. Those people urged Him to stay with them and then many more became believers. It’s important for new believers to learn of Jesus firsthand through the study of the Word. That’s why Divinely Interrupted teaches women the Bible in a unique way: book-by-book, chapter-by-chapter, and verse-by-verse. We must not have a “secondhand” salvation. We each need to experience who Jesus is firsthand, and the best way to encounter Him is by studying His Living Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us—just like with the unnamed woman and the Samaritans who believed.

-          Did you catch what verse 42 said? Go back up and read it (I’ll wait while you scroll). William Barclay says it like this, “I know what Jesus is like and I know what Jesus can do. All that I can ask you to do is to try him yourself and see what happens.” That’s exactly what happened in this small town of Sychar—someone experienced Jesus and ran to beg others to try Him for themselves. That’s all we need to do, folks—to experience Him ourselves and tell others.

43 After the two days he left for Galilee. 44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.

46 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death.

48 “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.”

49 The royal official said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”

50 “Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.”

The man took Jesus at his word and departed. 51 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living.52 When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “Yesterday, at one in the afternoon, the fever left him.”

53 Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and his whole household believed.

54 This was the second sign Jesus performed after coming from Judea to Galilee.

-          He stayed in Samaria for two days, and then left for Galilee. Apparently—according to verse 44—Jesus detected that hostility was on the rise due to the religious leaders. But, as we were told in John 2:4, “My [Jesus’] hour has not yet come.” Jesus had come into this world for a definite purpose and task. He also knew that His ministry in Jerusalem had been insincere and shallow because it tells us in John 2:23-25:

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

-          So, we don’t know why He returned to Cana, but we do know Jesus always has His best ready for us. Jesus was met in Cana by a nobleman from Capernaum—some twenty miles away. When a man is doing miracles, word gets around fast. And, when a parent is losing his or her child, there’s no road too long to travel for their healing.

-          Jesus wasn’t chiding the father when He said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will never believe.” He was making a statement about the spiritual conditions of the people in the region. There were two assumptions this nobleman made in terms of Jesus:

1.       Jesus must be physically present to heal.

2.       If the boy had died, it was too late.

-          This father exhibited faith, even though he made some wrong assumptions. Despite his “mistakes,” Jesus showed compassion. Isn’t it reassuring to know that the grace of our Savior fills in the “holes” where our faith is still weak? He can work with a mustard-seed-sized faith (Matthew 17:20). The man mustarded up all the faith he had and sought Jesus (we saw this same action when Nicodemus approached Jesus in the night), and Jesus was faithful.

-          “Go, your son will live.” The words any parent would tearfully rejoice to hear. What’s amazing is that even though the father came with wrong assumptions, once Jesus spoke, he believed. It says in verse 50, “The man took Jesus at his word and departed.”

-          Do you need to take Jesus at His word about something in your life? Let that question ruminate in your heart. That person who abused you—that’s not Jesus. That season that you were neglected—it wasn’t Him. The time you left Him and walked with the world—He never left your side. Today, you need to take Jesus at His word about who He is and not associate Him with another human being who damaged you. Sin is disgustingly terrible and has caused mankind to do hideous acts to one another. But, that was not Jesus. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). This means that sin will occur, but Jesus has conquered and has a new life He wants you to experience.

-          Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, and who have been called according to His purpose.” That means the repugnant sins of mankind are no struggle for Jesus. While He may permit the sin to happen, He is still able to work for the good of you. Let that steep. Maybe today is your day to release the past and “go your way” towards belief instead of blame. Be free and take Him at His word. And, just like that little boy, you will live. Amen.