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John11 – the woman in the midday sun (2)

And, upon this, his disciples came and were astonished that he was speaking with a woman. However, no one said, What do you seek?” or “Why are you speaking with her?” So the woman left her water jar and came away into the town and states to the men, “Draw near! See a man who said to me everything whatsoever I did! Perhaps this is the Christ?” They came out from the town and were coming towards him. 
In John’s first-century eye-witness biography of Jesus, he is in Samaria and, in conversation with a Samaritan woman, has disclosed to her (an outcast) that he is indeed the long-awaited Messiah, promised repeatedly over many centuries to the Jews. And disclosed his knowledge of all her sinfulness.

Jesus had been - and was still - exhausted, hungry and thirsty.

In the meanwhile, the disciples were asking him, stating, “Rabbi, eat!” In fact he said to them, “I myself have food to eat that you yourselves have not discerned.” Then the disciples were stating towards one another, “Has anyone brought him to eat?” Jesus stated to them, “My own nourishment is in order that I may do the desire of the one who sent me and perfect his work.”

Jesus explained to his bewildered disciples that, for him, the purpose behind eating was only to enable him to "do the will" of his Father above and to “perfect his work”. Delaying his eating, he explains more… 

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (c. AD 30)
“You yourselves do not state that, ‘It is still four months and the harvest comes.’ Look! I state to you, take up your eyes and perceive the spaces, that they are white towards harvest already. The one harvesting lays hold of rewards and gathers fruit for eternal life, in order that the sowing one and the harvesting one may rejoice together. Because in this the word is true that, ‘It is another sowing and another harvesting.’ I myself sent you out to harvest that for which you yourseves have not laboured; others laboured, and you yourselves have come in, into their labour.” 

There is a great deal of interest in Jesus’ explanation. Clearly: the “harvest” is transcendentally vital to him; the “harvest” is “fruit for eternal life” (people being enabled to live eternally); his disciples are to “rejoice” in doing that harvesting (along with the “sowing one”). 

After this verbal explanation, the tangible explanation takes place…. 

In fact from that town many of the Samaritans believed into him through the word of the woman testifying that, “He said to me everything that I did.” So, when the Samaritans came towards him, they were asking him to stay with them. And he stayed there two days. And many more believed through his word. And they were stating to the woman that, “No longer through your own speech do we believe, because we ourselves have heard, and we discern that this is truly the saviour of the world.”  

What a surprise! Did you notice that what triggered faith in Jesus on the part of her fellow town dwellers was the fact that the Samaritan woman had “testified” that Jesus had “said to” her all the bad things (the “whatsoever”) that she had “done”! Yes, the trigger was the fact that, in the midst of her badness and her outcast-ness as a Samaritan, the Messiah, the Christ, had spoken to her. And offered to her the gift of “living water” – of a “well of water in her springing up into eternal life.”

From that beginning, many Samaritans (many outcasts) “came to him” and discerned “that this one is truly the saviour of the world”. Not the saviour of the Jews only. This dear woman, with all her chequered past, despite all her chequered past, in fact because of all her chequered past, had become a joyful harvester.

‘The greatest fault is to be conscious of none.’ (Thomas Carlyle, historian, 1795-1881)
In fact with the two days he came out from there into Galilee, because Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honour in his own country. So, when he came into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having discerned everything whatsoever he did in Jerusalem in the festival because they themselves also came into the festival. 

So, Jesus left this harvest of dear despised (by some) people in the despised region of Samaria and went into Galilee – another despised region. He didn’t go to his “fatherland” (Greek “patris”). In his “fatherland” “in Jerusalem” - at the recent “feast”  (see ‘John7 – the real temple’ in this series) - he had shown in no uncertain terms what he thought of the religion there: false and corrupt and, in AD 30, about to be replaced.

Sinner Syvret

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