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Conversation and conversion

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John 4:6-10 “Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.  A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

In 722 B.C. Assyria conquered Israel and took a majority of Israel into captivity.  Assyria then moved Gentile colonists from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, and Hamath and from Sepharvaim into the land of Israel.  Of course, these “colonists” brought with them their idols. Not only did those remaining in Israel begin to worship these false gods, intermarriage took place.  In 600 B.C. the southern kingdom of Judah fell to Babylon.   These Israelites were also taken into captivity, but seventy years later, a remnant of 43,000 were allowed to return to Israel and to rebuild Jerusalem.  The people who during the time of Jesus, lived in the former northern kingdom, the Samaritans, opposed the return of Jews to Israel, and attempted to undermine the attempt to restore the nation.  The full blooded Jews, who worshipped God, detested the mixed marriages and false worship of their northern cousins.  Those Samaritans who had embraced Judaism built a temple on the mountain where Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac, and this also caused hostility between Israel and Samaria.  And because of the bitterness from both sides, over the next five hundred years or so, this bitterness hardened into a great hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans.    

As Jesus traveled from Judea to Galilee, He had to pass through Samaria.  Because Jesus was a poor man, He traveled everywhere on foot.  Weary from His journey, having no chair, He sat on the ground by the Jacob’s well near the city of Sychar.  As Jesus rested by the Jacob’s well, His disciples gone into the city to purchase food; a woman of Samaria came to draw water from the well and Jesus asked her for a drink.  This woman was surprised first, that Jesus, a Jew, would speak to her without anger, and second, that Jesus, a Jew, would ask her for something.  She asks Jesus, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask drink of me, a woman of Samaria?”  She lived under the animosity that the Jews had towards the Samaritans, and knew that normally, the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans.  

Because His disciples had gone into the city of Sychar to purchase food for the group, this shows us that Jews did have dealings with the Samaritans…for convenience sake.  It is true that the Jews will be under no obligation to the Samaritans, the Jews will not borrow anything from them, will not drink from the same cup or even the same well as the Samaritans, they will not sit down to meals with the Samaritans nor eat out of the same plate as them, the Jews will have no religious connection or profitable dealings with them, such was their hatred. But, they might go into a Samaritan city to buy food, such as the disciples did, or they might send their wheat to a Samaritan miller to be ground.  So the woman might wonder what Jesus was up to.  Jesus answered the woman, saying, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of Him, and He would have given you living water“.  The wonderful gift of God is not water, but Jesus Himself.  Our Father gave His only begotten Son, a sacrifice for sin for all.  Had this Samaritan woman known, she would have asked Him for “living water”, the water of life, salvation and eternal life through Jesus, but the woman thought He was speaking of running water?  By this expression, “living water”, common to the inhabitants of the area, meant fresh spring water, in opposition to dead, stagnant water.  It is evident to me that Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit, as John 7:38-39 tells us, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

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