What Do You Seek?
Our passage today picks up in the middle of an amazing story from a new perspective. The disciples had left Jesus only to return with him talking to a Samaritan (you should gasp now), not only that, but Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman (…now gasp louder and maybe faint).
The Apostle John says a couple things in verse 27 that are really interesting. First, he says that the disciples “marveled” (ESV) or “were amazed” (NASB); this wins understatement of the year! Second, notice the two questions and the fact that John is telling us that nobody said this. John is supplying an editorial comment here on the situation, the purpose of which is possibly to contrast the disciples misunderstanding with God’s plan and program in verse 23. Verse 23 says, “the Father is seeking such people to worship him,” while the same root word is used in John’s unasked question, “What do you seek?”
What’s the point? Through Christ all people are now able to worship in Spirit and Truth; or as Galatians 3:28 puts it, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” John highlights the disciple’s ignorance—that Jesus must want something from this unnamed woman, because they cannot fathom her place in God’s plan.
Can this be the Christ?
What is an appropriate reaction to meeting Jesus, drop everything and run away (28)? Not exactly. The switched flipped and the cartoon light came on inside her head—she got it, and she had to tell everybody. That’s an appropriate reaction.
One thing to notice in her question is the tact she uses. She was a person of little clout in that society. If she ran and started telling people that the Messiah had come, or otherwise tried to command people to respond, she would have been ignored and ridiculed. Instead, she asked a question to beg their curiosity. She tells them to “Come, see the man who told me all that I ever did,” and it’s likely that these people had heard some rumors about what that was. Then she asked the crucial question, “Can this man be the Christ?” (29)
This woman asked a penetrating question that people couldn’t ignore. She understood her place and lack of authority, but it didn’t hinder her ability to lead people to Christ. May we compel people with such tact and guile into the presence of Jesus.
Has anyone brought him something to eat?
I love that God loves food. What a great teaching tool because it’s packed with meaning—not only survival, but sustenance; not only sustenance, but satisfaction. The disciples want Jesus to eat for survival and sustenance (31), but he flips it around to say that his satisfaction is in doing the will of the Father (34). And also, that there is a lot of work to do (34–38). Jesus’ illustration of the ripening harvest sank in as the Samaritan people flowed into his presence. Instantly, the disciples were able to reap what the nameless Samaritan woman sowed.
In the comments tell us:
- How has God used you to either sow or reap?
- What are some penetrating questions that you use to help non-believers consider Christ?
- In light of rising racial tension in American, how do you think this story illustrates a proper Christian response?
By: Tyler Short