with Alan Bailey
Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.
The main part of John chapter four deals with the meeting of Jesus with a Samaritan woman. This interesting conversation centers around what it means to have a truly satisfying life that never ends. As the woman marvels at Jesus' knowledge of her private life, she is confronted by the realization that He is the promised Messiah. The disciples had been in the nearby village of Sychar buying food while this conversation took place. As they return to the well, we take up the story again.
Verse 27 Just then His disciples returned and were surprised to find Him talking with a woman. But no-one asked "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"
It would be surprising to the disciples to see these two in conversation. It was not done for a Jew to speak to a woman in public (except for a wife) and certainly not a Samaritan whom the Jews tended to avoid. But the disciples knew better than to interfere. Jesus did unusual things and was very much in control of His circumstances.
Verses 28-30 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way toward Him.
The woman left the jar showing that she intended to come back. We can see that she is quite enthused and eager to tell people about Jesus. Probably she had a reputation in the town and this was something very different in her behavior. In any case, people were moved to do as she said and come and see for themselves.
Verses 31-33 Meanwhile His disciples urged Him, "Rabbi, eat something." But He said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about." Then His disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought Him food."
The disciples are being down to earth, catching up on their food intake, but Jesus was thinking about something more spiritual. He was still dealing with the woman and knew that shortly people from the village would be with Him. His men wondered if someone else had supplied Him with food.
Verses 34-36 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish the work. Do you not say 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together."
Jesus is using the reaping of a harvest as a picture of what God's great work on earth is at this time. The fields are the people all around; reaping them is winning them to Christ that they may be saved. The cereal harvest may be four months away but the harvest for the souls of men must go on now. It is time to work. This has greater importance than having a meal.
Verses 37 & 38 "Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefit of their labour."
The disciples are called to work in the harvest field. Jesus tells them that they are not the only ones in the process. Others must have sown the seed for there to be a harvest. No doubt Jesus referred to the long line of those sent by God in the past, people like the prophets, John the Baptist, and of course the seed sown by the Lord Himself.
Verses 39-42 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman's testimony. "He told me everything I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to Him, they urged Him to stay with them, and He stayed two days. And because of His words, many more became believers. They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."
The words of the woman must have been very impressive in the ears of her audience. They must have seen sincerity and a glimmer of new life in this person that most, if not all of them, knew. So now they heard for themselves, first hand, and they were moved even further. There was a hunger for the truth apparently and Jesus supplied it. Their words are most significant. What you said drew us to Him and now after hearing Him we are convinced that He is the Savior of the world... Only in one other place in the New Testament do we read the title "The Savior of the World" (1 John 4:14).
Verses 43-45 After the two days He left for Galilee. (Now Jesus Himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) When He arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed Him. They had seen all that He had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, for they also had been there.
Jesus and the disciples were on their way north when they stopped at Sychar. Because a prophet is not given honor in His own town, Jesus didn't go to Nazareth. It had been seen before that His own people wanted to keep Him at their level. But those who lived around the Sea of Galilee knew that He was different. Seeing what He did at the Passover had impressed them. In chapter two of this book of John we can read about it. The memorable thing was His heavy-handed clearing out of the temple.
Verses 46-48 Once more He visited Cana in Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to Him and begged Him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."
The small town of Cana was the place where the wedding had taken place, the place of Jesus' first miracle. The official took his opportunity to speak to Jesus about his sick son. The reply Jesus gave may seem surprising. It is consistent with the demand Jesus made of people to exercise faith when a miracle is required. He is saying that they just want to be onlookers, not participants. Believing trust in Jesus because of who He is, is what is required.
Verses 49 & 50 The royal official said, "Sir, come down before my child dies." Jesus replied, "You may go. Your son will live." The man took Jesus at His word and departed.
The response was one indicating faith on the part of the official. He had every confidence in the Lord's ability to heal. So much was this so that when Jesus suggested he leave, the man went immediately. His initial desire to have Jesus come to his house was replaced with the belief He could heal from a distance.
Verses 51-53 While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he enquired as to the time when his son had gotten better they said to him, "The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour." Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus said to him, your son will live." So he and all his household believed.
The father of the boy had clear evidence that Jesus had healed him. It was not a coincidence because the timing was exact. No doubt it was with great thankfulness and rejoicing the family believed in Jesus. As the father walked home, he had confidence all was well. And it was so.
Verse 54 This was the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed, having come from to Galilee.
As was mentioned, the first miracle was the turning of water into wine. This healing was the second.
As we make our way through this Gospel, we need to keep in mind John's reason for writing. He says in chapter 20:31 These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
There is so much evidence in the Gospel of John to convince us about who Jesus is. We will see more as we proceed. Also, we will understand more what it all means to us today.•
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