In Chapter 4, we read about the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. Jesus talks about “Living water” and “True worship”. The Samaritan woman becomes an Evangelist and the people in her town of Sychar believes in Jesus.
Controversy: In chapter 3 we read that there was a dispute regarding baptism. The controversy over baptism continues in Chapter 4. Our Lord decided to leave Judea
Geography of Palestine: During our Lord’s time, Palestine had three main territories, Judea to south, Galilee to north and Samaria in the middle. Cana and Nazareth are in Galilee in the Northern Israel. Jerusalem is in Judea, in southern Israel. People of Galilee were mostly Gentiles during the time of Jesus. Jews traveling north used to avoid Samaria and take the long route along the side of Jordan River in the East.
Samaritans: After the rule of Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel broke into two. Northern Kingdom of Israel with ten tribes and the southern kingdom of Judah. Samaria was the capital of the northern kingdom and Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom. Northern kingdom was considered sinful and drifting away from God. In 722 BC the Assyrian King conquered the northen kingdom and the people were deported. The king brought in people from 5 places:Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim. The people who were left in the northern kingdom, intermarried and started worshiping the pagan gods.
After the return from the Babylonian Exile, the Jews in the south started to rebuild Jerusalem temple. The Samaritans offered to help but they did not accept the help. The Samaritans blocked the rebuilding of Jerusalem Temple. Samaritans built their own temple on Mount Gerizim. The accepted only the Pentateuch with some modifications as their Bible.
The Samaritans considered themselves to be the true keepers of tradition.
Rivalry: Both group claimed to be the original Israel. Samaritans made a temple on mount Gerizim and worshiped there, while Jews worshiped in Jerusalem.
Lord: It is in this chapter that John the Evangelist calls Jesus “Lord” (John 4:1) for the first time.
Thirst: Every human being, deep within him/herself has a thirst that only God can satisfy. It’s the thirst for God. St. Augustine said “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
True Worship: Jesus tells her the the future worship will not be in Jerusalem or on mount Gerizim. It will be a communion with the Father,with the help of the Holy Spirit that Jesus gives us a gift.
Messiah: Jesus reveals to the woman that He is the Messiah (John 4:26). This is the only time that Jesus explicitly says that He is Messiah, in John’s Gospel.
I am: Jesus uses “I am” for the first time in this Chapter, to reveal himself. When Moses asked God what His name was, He answered “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:4). We see Jesus using “I am” repeatedly (9 times) in his Gospel. Jesus is not only a prophet or Messiah but one in essence with the “I am” revealed to Moses.
- Posted in: Word of God