Three Questions of Superiority

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John 4:7-15


1.      Barriers of Hostility

a.       Some are physical: moats, walls, fences

b.      Some are emotional or intellectual: distance or distain

c.       All are ethical, we feel justified in building them

  1. Context: John 3-7 is concerned with the proclamation that Jesus is Lord.
    1. In his Kingdom, he is NOW redefining barriers and borders
    2. Because he removes the hostility
  2. Three words pepper our passage: Woman, Samaria, and Water.
  3. Three questions frame the conversation in our passage.

How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria? (v 9)

  1. Why is the woman so surprised at Jesus’ request for water?
    1. He is a Jew that has set foot in Samaria.
    2. She is a Samaritan (Explain Samaritans)
    3. She is a Woman

                                                              i.      Plato (427-347 BC): “And if a person lived a good life throughout the due course of his time, he would at the end return to his dwelling place in his companion star, to live a life of happiness that agreed with his character. But if he failed in this, he would be born a second time, now as a woman.”[1]

                                                            ii.      Even the disciples reflect surprise when they return (4:27).

  1. Jesus is breaking barriers, doing far more than asking for a drink.
    1. The one who made the water asks her for a drink of it.
    2. The one who created this woman submits himself to her charity.
    3. The Jew, who the woman assumed would rather die of thirst than speak to a Samaritan or step foot in Samaria, now humbles himself to ask for water.
  2. The barriers have been broken as the Apostle Paul will later proclaim (Gal 3:28-9)

Where do you get this living water? (v 11)

  1. Living and running water
    1. Double meanings: running and living
    2. The well would not be needed if there were running water
    3. Woman shows no sign of understanding Jesus’ meaning (like Nicodemus)
  2. It is the wrong question (v 10):
    1. Jesus had not directed her to the gift (living water)
    2. He directed her to the giver (the Messiah of God)

Are you greater than our father Jacob? (v 12)

  1. There is a comparison of gifts
    1. Jacob gave the well that gives the temporal quenching (v 13)

                                                              i.      It is external

                                                            ii.      It is temporal

    1. Messiah gives the gift to which Jacob pointed

                                                              i.      It is internal

                                                            ii.      It is eternal

  1. Jesus makes plain that he is greater by virtue of his gift ! Conclusion: The Gift of God – Living Water
  2. Who’s in control?
    1. She, as we all are, is tempted to live by what is at hand, what is within our reach.
    2. Jesus bids her to live by means of what is not at her disposal, but on that gift of God, which came down from heaven.
  3. What is the Gift of God that Messiah brings? (John 7:37-39)
    1. Perfect Satisfaction (Those who hunger and thirst will be satisfied, Mt 5:6)
    2. When we are full of Christ’s Spirit Barriers are overcome

                                                              i.      Barriers between God and Humanity

                                                            ii.      Barriers within ourselves: free to be honest, repentance and faith

                                                          iii.      Barriers between people and peoples: We love God in loving others


[1] Plato, "Timaeus," in Complete Works, ed. John M. Cooper (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1997), §42b-c.

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