John Chapter 4

John Chapter 4

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John 4:1-54 NLTse Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John (2) (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them–his disciples did). (3) So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. (4) He had to go through Samaria on the way. (5) Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (6) Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. (7) Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” (8) He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. (9) The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” (10) Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” (11) “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? (12) And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” (13) Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. (14) But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (15) “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” (16) “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. (17) “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband– (18) for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” (19) “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. (20) So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” (21) Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. (22) You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. (23) But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. (24) For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (25) The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming–the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” (26) Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!” (27) Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” (28) The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, (29) “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” (30) So the people came streaming from the village to see him. (31) Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.” (32) But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” (33) “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. (34) Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. (35) You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. (36) The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! (37) You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. (38) I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” (39) Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” (40) When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, (41) long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. (42) Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” (43) At the end of the two days, Jesus went on to Galilee. (44) He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. (45) Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there. (46) As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. (47) When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die. (48) Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” (49) The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” (50) Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. (51) While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. (52) He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” (53) Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus. (54) This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.

Jesus Didn’t Baptize

John 4:1- 2 NLTse Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John (2) (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them–his disciples did). (3) So he left Judea and returned to Galilee.

The first step here is to compare the introduction to the summation. This chapter begins with John telling us the Pharisees heard Jesus was baptizing people. Why would they care, unless baptism bothered them in some way.

The summation is the end of the story about Jesus healing an official’s son. Jesus did it from a distance. All the man had to do was believe. What does that have to do with baptism? What does baptism do for anyone if they don’t believe?

You’ll notice, Jesus wasn’t baptizing, but His disciples were. Jesus stood at a distance and watched. Jesus emphasized the point when He healed the man’s son from a distance. Most people don’t feel a thing, or not what they expected to feel after being baptized. To feel something, they have to believe like that official did.

Jesus Meets the Woman at the Well

John 4:3- 26 NLTse So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. (4) He had to go through Samaria on the way. (5) Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. (6) Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. (7) Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” (8) He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. (9) The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” (10) Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” (11) “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? (12) And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” (13) Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. (14) But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (15) “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” (16) “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. (17) “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband– (18) for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” (19) “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. (20) So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” (21) Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. (22) You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. (23) But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. (24) For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (25) The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming–the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” (26) Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!”

Now we’ve got another long story to look at and examine. Once again, we have to pay particular attention to each verse and how it is arranged or presented in the story. Now would be a good time to see how the last story led into this chapter.

Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.” (John 3:33-36 NLTse).

We can immediately see how the end of chapter 3 led into chapter 4 by giving us something to think about. John the Baptist showed Jesus’ connection with God and His Spirit. This calls attention to the role of God’s Spirit in baptism as well as the lesson Jesus taught that woman at that well.

The first thing we see is, this story took place in Samaria. Talking to a lot of people and preachers, I’ve found few have an understanding of Samaria. They consider Samaria a Pagan nation used in the New Testament as some sort of lesson. When I ask them what that lesson is, they usually answer with something long the lines of showing how Jesus reached out sinners. They make Samaria into a symbol pointing to sinners. But that is not the right answer. Samaria was the capital of the ten northern tribes known as the nation of Israel. Jerusalem was the capital of the southern nation known as Judah.

Samaria has quite an important and interesting back ground. After Solomon, the nation was split. Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Later Samaria became the capital of Israel. As usual, the capital is often used to represent a nation in the Bible. Samaria didn’t stay with God long. The first king made two golden calves like the one Aaron fashioned in Exodus, shortly after leaving Egypt. It was all down hill from there. Kings were appointed and Samaria saw its share of coops and rebellions. Ahab was one of those kings. Some kings were so evil, their entire families lost their lives. Finally Samaria was over thrown by Assyria, who was financed by Judah. Many of the Israelites in Samaria were exiled to different counties, sold as slaves, and the usual harsh treatment conquering countries took out on their enemies. Which included resettling the nation with people from foreign countries. I’m not sure why countries did that, but it wasn’t unusual.

When Jesus entered Samaria, it was a mixture of Jewish cultures as well as a number of Pagan cultures and religions. After generations, Judah still hated Israel and Samaria in particular. We see much of the same sentiments in the Middle East today. They seem to jump into wars based on the premise they’ve been fought for more generations than people can count.

This is an interesting part of the story, the way John pointed out the disciples left Jesus to look for food. In a way this seems strange. Jews didn’t want anything to do with Samaritans. That included buying food or doing any business with them. Did the disciples leave Samaria and Israel to return to Judah to buy food? Where did they go? Why did they all leave Jesus behind in Samaria?

John also pointed out this event took place at Jacob’s well. That brings to mind a few other stories around wells in the Bible. Abraham dug a number of wells that were claimed by other tribes. Lot separated from Abraham because there wasn’t enough water or grazing land for all their cattle.

When Abraham sent his servant off to find a wife for his son Isaac, the servant come to a well, prayed and that’s how God showed the right woman who become Isaac’s wife. Rebekah knew which of her twin sons was chosen to carry on the birthright, but didn’t understand it. She thought the birthright was determined by her husband. She concocted a plan to trick Isaac into giving his blessing to Jacob. After his older brother Esau hears about it, he threatened to kill Jacob. Jacob had no choice but to leave. He headed for Rebekah’s family and found a well there. It may have been the same well. That’s where Jacob met Rachel. It was love at first site. Jacob went against tradition by removing a stone from the top of the well so Rachel could water her sheep, instead of waiting for the rest of the herds. Jacob worked seven years to marry Rachel, but when he woke up, he found out he married her older sister Leah. Jacob ignored one of their family traditions, but Laban made sure Jacob didn’t bypass another.

Another story that involved a well was when David invaded the city he would later name Jerusalem. He told his soldiers how much he would like to taste some water from the well in or near the city. A few of his bravest men broke through enemy lines and fought their way back with some water from that well for David. David didn’t drink that water but poured it out as an offering to God.

Some stories about wells turned out good. Others had less than expected results. When we look back at how wells have been used in the Bible, those stories show, people placed a sort of mystical credence on wells. To say the least, wells were important. But people placed a higher value on them than simply a source of water. Jesus used that belief to His advantage.

Here is where John pointed out, “Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.” If the woman was surprised Jesus asked for a drink of water, what were the disciples doing looking for food? The woman was surprised, but at the same time, the request drew her attention. This showed how that woman wanted someone to talk to. Putting her loneliness at ease was more important than following traditions of hate and mistrust.

This is one of the first scenes John recorded where the way Jesus dressed wasn’t in contrast to some of the people around him. Except for Nicodemus who didn’t want to draw attention to himself. This time Jesus’ simple dress was an advantage to draw out the woman’s trust.

The woman began the conversation by pointing out their evident differences. Jesus didn’t come to discuss differences, but what they had in common. More importantly, what He had to offer her, no matter who she was or what she’s done in her life. Jesus replied to her, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

What a way to open up a conversation. Jesus got right to the point introducing the living water He wanted to give to her. This peaked her interest and further opened her trust. She replied, “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

Her answer showed how her mind was stuck on physical matters. Jesus got her to drop tradition, which was the first step. Now He had to get her mind on spiritual matters. So Jesus added some details about that spiritual water. “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

Jesus told her the difference between water in that well and the spiritual water He has to offer. Jesus taught how to communicate with people to reach them on a spiritual level, something no one can offer them, but something only Jesus can provide. He did it by meeting the woman where she was. He didn’t give any impression He was better than her. He didn’t point out their differences but overcame them. Jesus had to overcome a lot of traditions to accomplish that. He kept the conversation simple, reminding her, He had something to give her. Jesus didn’t begin by telling her she had to change, or point out what she did wrong, but Jesus repeated the fact, He had something to give her. Finally, Jesus pointed out, His gift pointed to eternal life.

“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” Now Jesus had her attention. She was ready to receive the gift. You’ll notice Jesus used the word thirsty and so did the woman. But at the beginning of the story, John didn’t say anything about Jesus being thirsty. Jesus not only had this living water but was that living water.

Now Jesus turned the theme of the conversation. “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband– for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet.”

We have a ton of information to go over in this short part of the story and a lot of traditions to put aside to understand it. Jesus not only set a president showing how to talk to and understand people, He also gave a lesson showing how important it is to set tradition aside to understand. More tradition is based on differences than people realize. Traditions make people react without thinking. It also holds people back from learning some of the Bible’s most valuable and clear lessons.

Jesus wasn’t trying to straighten out the woman by pointing out her sins like a lot of people teach. Those one or two sentences in this story are not placed there to give religious people a license to

walk around pointing out faults whenever they feel like it. It doesn’t give them the right to hurt and abuse people. But people do that. Then they point to a few isolated texts and say, “Jesus did it.” That is so far from the truth. An attitude like that is guided by nothing short of a lie.

Reading the entire conversation showed Jesus opened a new dialog to keep her interest peaked, and draw a question out of her. There is not doubt, Jesus was led by God’s Spirit every step of the way and with every word. Jesus told her to get her husband. To her it was a simple request. Nothing out of the ordinary. Her reply shows how Jesus gained her trust. Jesus had to accomplish that before progressing. Her answer wasn’t out of the ordinary. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

This is when Jesus turned the tide once again. Look at how the conversation flowed. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband– for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now.” You certainly spoke the truth!” Jesus ended His statement by building up the trust He worked to gain. He complimented her on her truth. Trust and truth go hand in hand. The compliment Jesus gave her was returned by a compliment. “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet.” This also brought out the question Jesus needed to hear. “So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

Jesus had to earn her respect. He followed a simple process. Jesus’ request for water showed He was dependent on her. He offered her something in exchange. He offered her something only Jesus could offer. Jesus put aside traditions. If it didn’t matter to Him, it shouldn’t matter to her. Jesus built on little things they had in common. Jesus build confidence and trust with a simple compliment. The process worked. The woman saw something in Jesus she liked and appreciated.

We can see God’s Spirit at work based on how the woman shared personal information and asked an unusual question. If you’ve ever been led by God’s Spirit to someone, you know how it works. You’re often given a question to ask. The question doesn’t make any sense to you, but when you overcome doubt and ask the question, you see people open up with personal information you never expected to hear. Look back at the conversation between Jesus and that woman. If God told you to ask about a woman’s husband, would you feel comfortable? Notice how it was simple, noninvasive question. But still outside the scheme of a normal conversation. Then Jesus made a statement with information only God could have given Him. Pay attention to this process and learn to recognize when God tries using you to deliver a message to someone. You’ll know it is happening when that person opens up with a reply you never expected.

Jesus’ answer was clear and to the point. “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

This is the information Jesus wanted to give that woman, but look at how He had to build up to it. God not only gave Jesus a message, but a process to follow. That’s where most preachers and religious teachers go wrong. They feel they have a message, but have no idea God works through a specific process. Another thing preachers miss in this story is the fact, Jesus delivered this message and used this process on an individual woman. Too many preachers look for a message to reach masses. The bigger the better. It’s time to get back to basics and a plan that works.

Finally the conversation ends. The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming–the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!” This time it’s the woman who introduced something they had in common. You have to feel the cooperation flow and presence of God’s Spirit when you read this story. Otherwise, you are missing so much. Can you see the smile on Jesus’ face and warmth in His heart when He told her, He was the Messiah? At last, Jesus met someone who believed Him and understood Him. And it had to be a woman in Samaria. Who would have expected that. But that’s another lesson God’s Spirit teaches. There are more lessons. You can go back and review the story to see what I missed.

The Woman Brings Samaritans to Jesus

John 4:27- 30 NLTse Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” (28) The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, (29) “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” (30) So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

It didn’t take long for that woman to take what she learned and turn it into action. She brought an entire city to Jesus. Not just any city, Samaria. This is the last thing anyone would have expected, including Jesus’ disciples.

They didn’t know why Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman. Neither did they approve of it. They went as far as questioning Jesus about it. Now look at the contrasts here and learn from them. First is the disciples and a woman from Samaria. Next was the time they spent with Jesus. The woman had only a few minutes compared to days or weeks the disciples spent with Jesus. What about how they viewed the Messiah? Then the woman showed another contrast when she single handedly brought the entire city of Samaria to Jesus.

The woman was divorced how many times? Or had now many husbands? We don’t know if her husbands divorced her or died. Either way, society even in Samaria would have shunned her. She overcame her fear to run out to tell everyone about Jesus. Perfect love casts out all fear. She found and received something she knew people were looking for and couldn’t wait to share. What was holding back the disciples? Maybe they answered that question by exhibiting their prejudice when they saw Jesus with the woman.

My Food

John 4:31- 34 NLTse Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.” (32) But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” (33) “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. (34) Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.

Looking back a few verses and what we’ve learned from them, we can see the spiritual feast the disciples missed. While they were out looking for physical food, Jesus served up a spiritual meal with water as the main course. The statement, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” Showed what Jesus was doing and how He did it. Jesus didn’t rely on His wits and intellect, He relied on God’s Spirit. Jesus was following basic instructions to get the job done. Jesus also showed how the work will be finished – one person at a time.

The woman may have brought an entire city to Jesus but look what she told them. “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did!” Each one of those people came to Jesus expecting to hear what the woman told them about Him. Each person was expecting to hear a personal message. There may be one message to lead thousands of people to Christ, but answers have to come personally from Jesus. The woman had a few hours of experience to guide people to Jesus. She grew up in Samaria, influenced by who knows what. She didn’t have a theology degree nor a license to preach, but she did everything she could do to bring people to Jesus. It didn’t matter what people thought of her or her life style. She wasn’t on trial. She was just doing her job. Jesus offered her water and she wound up with a spiritual feast.

The Harvest

John 4:35- 38 NLTse You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. (36) The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! (37) You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. (38) I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

You have to be blind (spiritually) to not see the main theme in this section of the event. Jesus is using planting and harvesting as symbols. Notice how Jesus began by pointing out four months. He made sure people understand it takes time. We saw that when we studied about Nicodemus. The same truth applies here.

Jesus told them, “the harvesters are paid good wages.” He is referring to the spiritual feast in front of them. The same food Jesus referred to in the previous verses. Jesus also identified the symbols He used. “The fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life.” Could Jesus be any clearer? There’s no reason to go hunting around to find out what symbols point to. More often than not, symbols are identified in the same chapter.

Symbols always point to something far greater.

Symbols can only be interpreted by God’s Word.

Key words help to point to scripture explaining the meaning of a symbol.

The meaning of a symbol is often explained within the chapter it is recorded.

Symbols must always be interpreted within context.

Jesus also pointed out how this is going to be, has to be, a group effort. The plan never put a single man or worker in charge of all the phases associated with the work of salvation. Did you notice how Jesus pointed out, “ I sent you.” In Jesus’ day, people weren’t sent out by committees, or religious organizations. They were sent out by Jesus. Nothing has changed. Throughout the New Testament, the disciples followed the same order. They never recorded a word to indicate anything has changed. So why has it?

They Believed

John 4:39- 42 NLTse Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” (40) When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, (41) long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. (42) Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”

Strange how John moved from the key word harvest to believed. This event introduced a symbol then the result when the process is followed. This also tells us why they believed.

The woman only told them a simple message. It was the only message Jesus gave her. “He told me everything I ever did!” She didn’t add to it nor subtract from that simple message. She played the role of a prophet. Don’t believe me? Look for yourself. Check out messages prophets delivered in the Old Testament. You’ll find words like, “The LORD said,” followed by, “this is what the LORD says.” Prophets repeated what they were told to say. They didn’t add or subtract from God’s messages. They didn’t offer a personal explanation or interpretation. Prophets followed orders.

That process of planting and harvesting by different people is found all over the Old Testament when you know how to look for it. They followed the same process Jesus outlined here and John recorded. It is a simple process repeated in this chapter so we couldn’t possibly miss it. The woman led people to Jesus, who led them to God and His Spirit.

Jesus only taught the woman for a few minutes and she accomplished more than most Christians. Then Jesus spent only two days in Samaria teaching people from that city. What do you think happened to those Samaritans? Jesus left them in God’s hands. Why wouldn’t Jesus trust His Father to take care of them? Why can’t we find the same faith and belief today? Why can’t we follow the same process today?

Jesus Returned to Galilee

John 4:42- 54 NLTse At the end of the two days, Jesus went on to Galilee. (44) He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. (45) Yet the Galileans welcomed him, for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there. (46) As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine. There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. (47) When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die. (48) Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” (49) The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” (50) Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. (51) While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well. (52) He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied, “Yesterday afternoon at one o’clock his fever suddenly disappeared!” (53) Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, “Your son will live.” And he and his entire household believed in Jesus. (54) This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.

After spending a few days in Samaria, Jesus was sent back to His hometown in Galilee. This time the Galileans honored Him. Why? John tells us, because, “they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there.” They saw Jesus fashion that whip out of ropes outside the temple court and what He did inside. They also heard Jesus defend Himself in front of those religious leaders. People’s views of the Messiah were slowly changing. Remember it took Nicodemus three years to finally understand. The Galileans didn’t understand the plan of salvation yet, but they could see the Messiah was going to do more than free them from bondage to Rome and its taxes. They saw how Jesus was going to free them from the bondage of the religious leaders. God was working with them where they were and bringing them along at their own pace.

Other gospels tell stories about how Jesus preached in His hometown synagogue and how they tried to throw Him off a cliff. At that point in time, it seemed no one in His hometown could accept the little boy they saw grow up to be a man, could be the Messiah. He just didn’t suit their expectations. So they were going to make Jesus pay with His life.

What do you think happened after that? It didn’t slow Jesus down. He continued to follow orders and God’s direction like we’ve seen in this chapter. Word began to spread about Jesus. What happens whenever the hometown boy becomes famous? Think of it. We see this happen all the time. Most people think the boy on the basketball court is wasting his time. The boy on the football field will never amount to much. They look at the boy who sings all they time like something is wrong with him. But the minute he becomes famous, everyone can’t wait to tell people they knew him. They want to make everyone think they were best friends and tell people stories about how they helped that boy to be a success.

Then look at the aspect of the hometown of a famous figure. People from all over flock to see his home, family, and to find out more about him. The same was true with Jesus. As soon as people began listening to Him, talking about Him, and following Him, people flocked to His hometown and the entire village wanted to get in on the act.

John was very careful to add one detail, Jesus’ first miracle. But didn’t saw that was a factor in the Galilean’s change of heart. But someone remembered. One of the government officials in nearby Capernaum came to see Jesus. His son was sick and needed help. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die.

Look how this story unfolded in such a strange way. Jesus didn’t ask the man any questions or try to comfort him. Once again, Jesus did the unexpected. Jesus asked, “Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?” What kind of way is that to greet a grieving father?

It seemed to go right over the man’s head like I’m sure the lesson was missed by most people reading this story. The official pleaded, “Lord, please come now before my little boy dies.” Something more important was on the man’s mind. All he wanted was to see his son healed. In a small way, this man exhibited greed or selfishness. That’s what made him miss the lesson. Jesus and God weren’t only reaching out to that man, his son, and family, they were reaching out to all the Galileans.

We can see God’s main focus in Jesus’ answer. Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” Jesus didn’t move from the spot He was sent to teach. Luke recorded a similar story about a Roman officer who asked Jesus to heal one of his servants. To heal a slave, the Roman officer told Jesus He could do it from a distance. The Roman officer showed he had a greater understanding of Jesus and how He worked with God’s Spirit than anyone in Israel. Jesus complimented him on his understanding. That is one of the lessons Jesus has been teaching throughout this chapter. Now Jesus is displaying that lesson in an example.

Too bad the people in Galilee didn’t see all the proof. They weren’t with the man when he heard how and when his son was healed. God had a reason for that part of the story taking place outside Galilee. The man and his entire household believed in Jesus. This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.

We can’t explain why God arranged this lesson with this particular process. But He did. It was the second miracle they saw in Galilee. The first was when Jesus turned the water into wine. Does this explain why Jesus told His mother it wasn’t the right time? Was it because the people there weren’t ready? Were they ready for the second miracle?

We see this theme repeated throughout the gospels as well as the rest of the Bible. After God delivered Israel from Egypt, it only took about a month for them to forget what God did in Egypt. In the gospels we see story after story of people asking for signs and miracles. The worst groups to make that request was the Pharisees and priests. There’s a message in that.

Today we see the exact same mentality, or can we call it by its true name, deception. Look back when Jesus was tempted by Satan. His first accusation was to question Jesus in such a sly manner, Satan insisted he didn’t know who Jesus was. Satan uses this same tactic in a million different forms. One of the worst combines question who Jesus is and asking for another sign. The most predominant modern version is an unbalanced reliance on future prophecy which amounts to nothing less than requesting another sign. This takes on many forms. One method is to develop a man made interpretation which cannot be proved using only God’s Word. Then they preach it like crazy. Then they sit and wait – saying, “if your really God, prove it by making our interpretation of this prophecy come true.” They not only question Jesus like Satan did, they based their interpretation of scripture using the same method Satan used when he tempted Christ.

Another form of disbelief is seen when people insist they have all the answers and put God into a box. Like those people in Galilee, they only want to answer questions about Jesus they know about. Scripture clearly showed, those people in Galilee didn’t know Jesus and honored Him only when it became profitable for them to do so. Jesus turned over the money tables during the Passover. Don’t you think Satan expanded business into Galilee when Jesus became popular? It happens all the time. People find a way to take advantage of a situation. John pointed out, “that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown.” They didn’t actually honor Jesus, but they still welcomed Him.

Look at how future prophecy is used today. It’s not used to honor God, but to profit a few people who’ve figured out a way to use prophets to made a profit. It happens all the time. Look at prophecy today. It not only divided denominations all over the world, but prophecy led to some of the biggest money making schemes in the churches today. Movies, seminars, events, books, you name it, if it can be exploited for money someone has been done it. Modern day prophets don’t even worry if their interpretations and predictions are correct. They know just enough about the Bible to see how quickly people will forget and still be hungry for something new and different the next day. They feed people spiritual food with no substance. No wonder they have to go back for more and more. Their spiritual food has less calories than the water Jesus asked that woman for. See how all those stories fit together? If they’re not following the simple process Jesus taught here, get away from those people who have been abusing God’s Word.

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