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John 4:36–54  revolve 2010

Samaritan Suburbia Have you ever lost a dream? I’ve never believed in fortunetellers or psychics or whatever. I believe in here and now—what I can see and touch and taste and smell. I have a humiliating past, too. Lies, mistakes, and failures—and my future doesn’t look any better. It does things to your head when your dreams die a little more every day. I lost my hope years ago along with most of my best relationships. Sometimes I just feel so alone. But today when I went to the well at noon, this man was sitting there, resting. He was young, stocky, and olive-skinned. His palms looked rough, not slick like a merchant’s. A tradesman. And Jewish. I’m good at sizing people up, and I know one thing for sure—his people do NOT mix with my people, not to mention that men never acknowledge women publicly unless they are married or family. That starts rumors. And around here, rumors can cost you your life. I played it safe and acted like I didn’t notice him. And then He just point-blank asked me for a drink of water. Wasn’t he scared my Samaritan germs would dirty up his drinking glass? I wanted to know why He was talking to me. He said, “If you only knew the free gift of God and who it is that’s asking you for water, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” Confusing, unorthodox, and weird. Then he says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty. The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life.” I am pretty sure “living water” doesn’t actually exist, but it’s a long, hot, and exhausting trip to the well every day, and we have to have water for drinking and laundry. An endless supply would simplify my life. I said, “Give me this water so I will never be thirsty again and won’t have to come back here to get more water.” “Go get your husband and come back,” he said. My stomach sank. I’m ashamed of that part of my life. It’s just another reason for a religious man to think I’m worthless. I decided not to elaborate, and said, “I have no husband.” That wasn’t technically a lie. And then He said, “You’re right to say you have no husband. Really you’ve had five husbands, and the man you live with now is not your husband. You told the truth.” Well. Apparently I’m not the only one who is good at sizing people up. I studied His face, the strong, Semitic features, the way he didn’t break his gaze on me. I know everybody in this village. This man wasn’t a local, and He wasn’t new. Jewish people don’t live here. There was no way for Him to know my secrets. I thought of the men from the scrolls, the ones who spoke with God personally. They knew things, like when people would die and who was going to win what war. I’ve always wanted to talk to someone Jewish, especially a prophet, because I have questions. “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.” I said. “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that Jerusalem is the place where people must worship.” He explained some things, but after a minute, I cut in with how much I wanted the Messiah to come, because I know He will help me better than anyone. “I am the Messiah you’ve been looking for,” he said. “I’m talking to you right now.” This was one of the best days of my life. It’s the kind of thing you want so bad that your prayers hurt because you hope that hard. I ran back to the village and for once, didn’t try to go unnoticed. My Savior has a name—Jesus of Nazareth. My whole village and I returned to meet Him—and now it’s your turn.

now. 36Already, the one who harvests is being paid and is gathering crops for eternal life. So the one who plants and the one who harvests celebrate at the same time. 37Here the saying is true, ‘One person plants, and another harvests.’ 38I sent you to harvest a crop that you did not work on. Others did the work, and you get to finish up their work.”n 39 Many of the Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus because of what the woman said: “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 When the Samaritans came to Jesus, they begged him to stay with them, so he stayed there two more days. 41And many more believed because of the things he said. 42 They said to the woman, “First we believed in Jesus because of what you said, but now we believe because we heard him ourselves. We know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Jesus Heals an Officer’s Son 43 Two days later, Jesus left and went to Galilee. 44(Jesus had said before that a prophet is not respected in his own country.) 45When Jesus arrived in Galilee, the people there welcomed him. They had seen all the things he did at the Passover Feast in Jerusalem, because they had been there, too. 46 Jesus went again to visit Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. One of the king’s important officers lived in the city of Capernaum, and his son was sick. 47When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to Jesus and begged him to come to Capernaum and heal his son, because his son was almost dead. 48Jesus said to him, “You people must see signs and miracles before you will believe in me.” 49 The officer said, “Sir, come before my child dies.” 50 Jesus answered, “Go. Your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus told him and went home. 51On the way the man’s servants came and met him and told him, “Your son is alive.” 52 The man asked, “What time did my son begin to get well?” They answered, “Yesterday at one o’clock the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that one o’clock was the exact time that Jesus had said, “Your son will live.” So the man and all the people who lived in his house believed in Jesus. 54 That was the second miracle Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.

4:38 I . . . their work. As a farmer sends workers to harvest grain, Jesus sends his followers out to bring people to God. 

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Revolve 2010  

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