John 4: Moving into The Deep End

“If only you’d known God’s gift,” replied Jesus, “and who it is that’s saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you’d have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
“But sir,” replied the woman, “you haven’t got a bucket!  And the well’s deep!  So how were you thinking of getting living water?” (4:10-11)

Jesus meets a Samaritan woman of questionable character in this chapter and by the end of the chapter he has moved her from the surface of life to a place of much deeper understanding.  She is only thinking of literal water.  Not to fault her.  I would imagine we would have been thinking that too.  But Jesus seizing the opportunity to show her that her greatest need was for something much more fulfilling than the water of this well.  Or the love of a man.  She needs an eternal source of life and enduring love.  What she needs Jesus has.

I am seeing that this is a common technique for John’s Jesus.  He did the same with Nicodemus in chapter 3.  They start talking about birth and all Nicodemus can think of is physical birth.  So when Jesus talks about being “born again” or “born anew” this sounds ridiculous to the Pharisee.  How is that even possible?  But Jesus moves Nicodemus deeper into spiritual truth: babies are born but then they live and die; people who are reborn spiritually will never die.

Jesus will do the same with the crowd in chapter 6.  Early in that chapter Jesus feeds the enormous crowd with only a few fish and a handful of rolls.  Of course this crowd begins to follow Jesus closely.  There is free food wherever Jesus is.  Who wouldn’t follow?  Knowing that the crowd is using him for the food, Jesus pushes them deeper into spiritual truth.  It is not literal bread they need; they need to feast on the “bread” of his own life.  They need to “feast” on him.  They don’t just need that which sustains physical life; they need that which keeps the spirit alive.

John’s Jesus is intensely interested in taking us out into deeper waters.  There is that thing we think we need from Jesus, that thing we think we can give Jesus, that thing we think we understand already.  Jesus is interested in taking us further.

When was a time you realized you needed something much deeper than the surface object you were seeking?

Categories: John | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “John 4: Moving into The Deep End

  1. very academic. I really admire the way you dissect scripture. very balanced

    the pattern of the three Samaritan Woman, Nicodemus, and the feeding of multitude speaks of

    1. Water
    2. Bread
    3. Rebirth

    Water – can represent the Baptism, or the Word, or the Holy Spirit
    Bread – can represent the death of Jesus, the body of Christ, our Daily mana, Grace
    Rebirth – the resurrection of Jesus, new creation

    looking at the samaritan woman, It moves me to think that she might have seen something.
    the woman drew water in mid day, with ex husbands and currently living with another one
    paints a perfect picture where she is not the subject.

    her low profile suddenly turn full 180 degrees upon drinking from the well of Life, given by Jesus.

    could it be, that the woman became an evangelist, going back to the village boldly preaching about Jesus – because she drank from the waters Jesus gave her?

    it is the same thing with us today. we are to drink from the waters Jesus is giving us. we should eat the bread from heaven, which is Jesus. indeed, unless a man be born again, He will never understand the things of the living for he is dead.

    – grace and peace

  2. I saw details today I had never seen before: Pharisees trying to pit John and Jesus against each other; disciples who were willing to go into a Samaritan village to find for; a water jar left behind; “others” who had been working in the Samaritan field to prepare them for Jesus.

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