Daily Word

Reaching the outcasts | John 4:1-6

1 So then, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that He was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing; rather, His disciples were), 3 He left Judea and went away again to Galilee. 4 And He had to pass through Samaria. 5 So He *came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; 6 and Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, tired from His journey, was just sitting by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

John 4:1-6 (NASB)

Back to Galilee

The Jews (Jewish leaders) became aware that Jesus was gaining more disciples than John and was becoming a threat. Knowing that it was not time for an all-out confrontation with the Jews, Jesus responded to this threat by heading back to Galilee. Remember His ministry started where John was baptizing, at Bethany beyond the Jordan (see the map below). His first miracle was up in Galilee at Cana. Now He was going back.

Had to

The shortest route from Jerusalem to Galilee was straight north, through Samaria. However, since the Jews hated the Samaritans and considered them a half-breed of mixed cultures and religions (more here), they would take the long route so as not to come in contact with them. Our text says, “And He had to pass through Samaria.” According to the Jews, He didn’t have to. So what does it mean? John is probably stating that Jesus had to in order to accomplish His mission to be a light to these outcasts, and this woman (see tomorrow), the outcast of outcasts. 

History of Sychar

The particular city Jesus chose to stop in, Sychar, is pregnant with historical significance to the Jews. Here’s a list of the events that took place here. Among the many, it is the place Jacob dug a well and gave to Joseph.

Jesus the man

It was about noon when they arrived there. Jesus sent the disciples ahead to get food (John 4:8). Did you notice that Jesus was tired? “While our Evangelist [John the writer] insists that it was the divine Word that became flesh in Jesus, he insists at the same time that what the divine word became was flesh.” (Enduringword.com quoting Bruce) Jesus was God and also man.

<- Reflection ->
  • What catches your attention about Jesus in this passage? Leave a comment. Is it His love? His humanness? 
  • The Chosen TV series does a nice job with this interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman – with a little “ad-lib”.
Map of Jesus’ travels. Image from www.conformingtojesus.com/ *

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