Jesus Departs Judea, Talks to a Samaritan Woman

Jesus Departs Judea: Matthew 4:12, Mark 1:14a, Luke 3:19-20, 4:14a, John 4:1-4

Jesus and the Samaritan Women: John 4:5-26

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One Reply to “Jesus Departs Judea, Talks to a Samaritan Woman”

  1. John the Baptist put in prison

    • Matthew 4:12a and 14:3. When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison…Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Heroditas
    • Mark 1:14a and 6:17. After John was put in prison…For Herod himself had given order to have John arrested…because of Heroditas
    • Luke 3:19-20. But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Heroditas, his brother’s wife…

    There is much evidence concerning John’s imprisonment and later execution. For this morning, we’re simply noting that the Gospel writers see this as a significant event for the timeline of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Not just because he was put in prison, which we might have predicted would happen eventually since he was one with a rebellious spirit (zealots have a way of finding trouble), but also because of his offense toward Herod for calling him out. John the Baptist wasn’t afraid to tell the world that Herod married his brother’s wife and will ultimately pay for this bold assertion with his life (later we will read about the role of Heroditas in John’s beheading). John the Baptist performed his role admirably, he did not seek fame or notoriety, his mission was clear: point people to Christ, prepare the way. Lord help us all to be so humble and so dedicated to whatever calling we have! We’ll hear from him a little more as we read through the Synoptic Gospels.

    Jesus Departs Judea

    • Matthew 4:12b. …he withdrew to Galilee
    • Mark 1:14b. …Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God
    • Luke 4:14a. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit
    • John 4:3. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee

    There’s an excellent map in the back of the NIV Study Bible that provides some perspective for the distance traveled back in those days: map. I find it’s helpful to have this view at times because it’s difficult to appreciate simple phrases like, “to Galilee.”

    Jesus Talks with a Samaritan Women

    With the map in mind, we read “Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar” (John 4:4-5), some 25 miles from Jerusalem (depending on where in Judea Jesus was when this was referenced). To get to Galilee, the shortest route was to go through the forsaken land of the Samaritans, the people who worshipped just about everything–just in case. Samaria, although of poor reputation by Jesus’ time, was once the land of Manasseh, one of the twelve tribes (yes, the entire area is part of the Promised Land). In 1 Chronicles 5 we read that the center of the Promised Land gave into worshipping the gods of the land and were swept away into exile, gone, no longer heard about. This is the land that Jesus walks through.

    I’ve heard this story many times, the woman comes out at midday when no one else is around (it’s hot) to draw water. She’s rejected by her neighbors who know of her reputation and want to distance themselves from her. Jesus speaks to her. That alone is significant. She gets it and asks Jesus, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9). Jesus’ answer begins a conversation, a spiritual awakening for this woman and ultimately for the town. Her snarky response is perhaps John’s style of writing (recall the conversation with Nicodemus), “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water” (4:15). Jesus doesn’t dismiss her, he has a plan and now gets to the point, the core theology that we should read over and over again:

    Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. John 4:23

    Lord, I want to be a true worshiper, one who say without reservation that it is you I serve with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. Teach me to worship in this way and like the woman her, to go and tell others what I have found true. “I, the one speaking to you–I am he” (4:26).

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