[John 4:27-54] The Aftermath of a Power Encounter: In John 4 Part 2, the disciples come upon Jesus talking with the woman at the well. They are amazed that He would have anything to do with her. The people of the city come out at her word, and after meeting Jesus themselves, they believe also. They believe; however, they are dismissive of the woman’s testimony because they hold her in ill repute. Others hear of Jesus exploits and come to get a miracle, but Jesus reproves them, calling them unbelieving sign-seekers, nonetheless healing their sick. The aftermath of a miracle is often a mixture of scandal, shock, unbelief, and confusion. If you are ever used by God to reach your family, friends, or community, don’t get scandalized if things don’t work out afterward, as you might hope.
[John 4:27-54] And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. 31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him [ought] to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard [him] ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. 43 Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee. 44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country. 45 Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. 46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told [him], saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that [it was] at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54 This [is] again the second miracle [that] Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.
In part 2 of our study of John 4, Jesus’ disciples returned from an errand and found Jesus speaking with the woman at the well in Samaria. They are absolutely astounded that He is having a conversation with this person who was the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time. While they are shocked, nonetheless, having been with Jesus for some time now, and being accustomed to His different way of doing things, they hold their peace. When is the last time you had a conversation with someone that would scandalize your friends if they found you so doing? You will notice Jesus wasn’t trying to get over on her. He was simply having a conversation with her, as though He expected her to be interested in the things that interested Him. When you are in public or speaking with strangers or unbelievers, you do not have to adopt an affectation of spirituality or religious overtones. You do not have to lower your voice in the restaurant because you may be talking about things that might seem out of place, or better discussed inside church walls or among the initiated. Remember, if you are the only one doing the talking that it isn’t a conversation, its a sales pitch. Too often, those who evangelize seem to be selling the gospel like Amway or some other multilevel marketing scheme, and people know when they are being gamed. Just talk to people. Have a conversation with them. Share a meal. Buy someone a cup of coffee. Jesus crossed the lines and exhibited an interest in this woman in a way that showed her that He thought she was valuable. No one is disposable, and everybody counts.
The woman, seeing the disciples whispering among themselves, leaves her waterspout and goes into the city. Notice what it says. She “THEN” left. After what? After the disciples showed up. Sitting with Jesus, she felt included and accepted. When the disciples joined the scene, she couldn’t get away fast enough. Do sinners feel comfortable around you? Do they feel loved? Or do they move away, because they sense the “us vs. them” paradigm coming off of you like your mouthwash isn’t making it? Jesus wasn’t accepting the woman’s sin. He was, however, looking past her sinful condition and ministering to her. He was dealing with her according to her needs and not according to her problem. He was speaking to her felt need (she came for water), and from that common ground, He enlarged upon and connected with the deeper cry of her heart. You don’t have to be a theologian. You don’t have to be profound. Just have enough compassion for people around you to look them in the eye and show them that you think they are worth getting to know.
The woman goes into the city and starts telling everyone she knows. She is a gossip, she can’t help herself, but this time it isn’t idle chatter. Come see a man; she says, “Is this not the Christ.” What was it about Jesus that so impacted her? For one thing, there was the word of knowledge component of revealing her marital status and relationship background. Notice how Jesus did that so conversationally without any performance value. He didn’t say, “now I’m going to pull a rabbit out of My hat – aren’t you impressed? Sign here!” He didn’t do that. He just maintained an approach of being naturally supernatural. You can do that. Faith works by love. If you will show interest in the person and speak from genuine solicitude toward them, God will enter into the equation and give you the opportunity to share the faith of Jesus with them.
Now the disciples implore Jesus to eat because they know He is famished after a long day on the road. Jesus declines the food they have brought Him even though He originally sent them after it in the first place. He has had meat to eat that they know not of. His meat is to do the will of Him who has sent Him and to finish His work. When you minister at this level, it doesn’t deplete you. If you are doing the work of the kingdom and it leaves you exhausted and diminished, perhaps you need to rethink somethings. Notice as well that the meat of the word to Jesus was in what He did, not in some false idea of deep teaching. One minister taught here, saying, “the meat is in the streets…” It is what you do that will feed your soul, not what you think or read or study at the “Deeper Life Club” weekly gathering!
Jesus then makes a comment about the timing of His conversation with the woman at the well. How many times have you seen a need, or a possible opportunity to share your faith and you thought “well, this isn’t the time or the place to do that…” Jesus understood this in human nature, and He says that the harvest is ready and the laborers are few, take advantage of the opportunities in front of you, and don’t look for reasons to go on your way. There are wages (v. 36) when you gather fruit unto life eternal. There are wages for sowing seed, and there are wages for reaping the harvest. Maybe you won’t get to reap that person into the kingdom, but you will still be rewarded for sowing the seed of your testimony into that person’s life. Even if they receive it on stony ground, or thorny ground, you will get a reward as though you reaped the full corn in the ear and actually brought them so a new birth experience right then and there. Don’t be discouraged. People get discouraged because they think if they fail to “close the deal” and lead the person to the Lord in prayer that they have failed. You haven’t failed. God hasn’t called you to be successful; He has called you to be obedient. Just obey the Lord. Just be a light set on a hillside. Just walk in love and show interest and kindness toward those around you in the context of the claims of Christ. You will be rewarded regardless of whether they hear or whether they forebear. If you are successful in leading someone to Christ, don’t take so much credit for yourself, because v. 28 says you aren’t doing this by yourself, you are entering into other men’s labors. You aren’t the only influence in that person’s life. You can be sure that the Lord has been working in that person’s life for a while, and just positioned you at the right time to reap them into the kingdom.
Because of Jesus’ patience and solicitude toward the woman at the well, many people in the city believed in Jesus, even though they were Samaritans, and He was a Jew. The gospel crosses the color line. Ethnicity, religious background are overcome. They do, however, balk at the testimony of the woman who apparently took credit for the outcome, and the people say they didn’t believe because she told them they believed because they saw for themselves. The woman no doubt may have gotten offended at this, but Jesus doesn’t take responsibility for this. We’ve seen this many times in our lives. We’ve seen lives changed and transformed, and people just went on their way as though nothing happened. Don’t expect them to say thank you. Their spirits may have been born again, but many times their sense of self-referral is intact, and they just aren’t going to have the character or the civility to show appreciation. Don’t get offended. Just keep on seeking the kingdom. You didn’t do it to be thanked or to be seen of men. You are seeking the kingdom, and you will be rewarded for your part in ministering to people’s lives.
Jesus continues traveling on toward Galilee, with the expectation that although He was heralded as the Christ of God among the Samaritans, He would be rejected among His own people. Some of your family members and those close to you will quote this verse when you comment on the fact that you are not received as a man or woman of God among them. Notice that Jesus isn’t saying that this is how it should be, just that this is how it often is. It isn’t a mandate from heaven giving your friends and family permission to reject you, although some will certainly interpret it that way. When Jesus comes again to Cana, there are many who now believe in Him, but why do they believe? Because of the miracles they have heard He did in Jerusalem. They are sign seekers. Make no mistake about it, when they believe because of what they see, they will not believe when you don’t show them something. The Jews seek a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom. Don’t put your hopes in men. People are fickle. They will sing your praises one day and get bored and move on the next. You aren’t called to run a Holy Ghost dog and pony show. Just keep seeking the kingdom. Just keep doing what you see the Father do. Keep your eyes on the path before you. Don’t look back. Don’t look to see how many are following you. You might be disappointed and turn back yourself. Stay faithful to God.
Jesus knows what is in these people. A man comes to Him, asking for His son to be healed. Jesus looks at the man and says, “you will not believe unless you see a sign or a wonder…” Many times people come to us as prophets for a word from God. They hold back information, hoping that we will discern it by word of knowledge. They are sign seekers. Sign seekers will say Hosanna, Hosanna, one moment and “crucify Him, crucify Him” the next. Jesus isn’t unkind. He is just establishing the fact that in spite of the man’s suffering and the need at hand, He sees through it all and is attempting to bring the people to the point of maturity, which they all conveniently ignore because they aren’t disposed to deal with themselves. They aren’t interested in maturity; they are interested in what happens next, what miracle Jesus will do to titillate their sense knowledge faith. We need to grow past this.
Jesus just looks at the man and says, “go your way, your son lives…” The man believes, and the child is healed. The man is met by servants from his house and upon inquiry realizes that the boy was healed at the same hour that Jesus declared it to be so. Notice it says the man THEN believed and all his household. It is certainly good that the man believed, but it would have been better had he believed, not having seen. Many times people get miracles, and we want to know more about them because we think there was some key element they came upon that triggered their miracle. If this man had written a book about his experience, it wouldn’t have helped many people. The boy was healed in spite of his sign seeking attitude. Just because someone gets a miracle doesn’t make them an authority. They can get on the speaking circuit or go on Sid Roth, but we better be listening to God and believing the testimony of His word before someone else’s idea of what must be done to receive from God your deliverance. Men and women have built ministry empires on testimonies and experiences of which their understanding is very flawed. We must go to the word of God and let the testimony of Jesus be our first line reference before anyone else’s idea of authentic spiritual experience.