Three Questions of Superiority
1. Barriers of Hostility
a. Some are physical: moats, walls, fences
b. Some are emotional or intellectual: distance or distain
c. All are ethical, we feel justified in building them
- Context: John 3-7 is concerned with the proclamation that Jesus is Lord.
- In his Kingdom, he is NOW redefining barriers and borders
- Because he removes the hostility
- Three words pepper our passage: Woman, Samaria, and Water.
- Three questions frame the conversation in our passage.
How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria? (v 9)
- Why is the woman so surprised at Jesus’ request for water?
- He is a Jew that has set foot in Samaria.
- She is a Samaritan (Explain Samaritans)
- She is a Woman
i. Plato (427-347 BC): “And if a person lived a good life throughout the due course of his time, he would at the end return to his dwelling place in his companion star, to live a life of happiness that agreed with his character. But if he failed in this, he would be born a second time, now as a woman.”
ii. Even the disciples reflect surprise when they return (4:27).
- Jesus is breaking barriers, doing far more than asking for a drink.
- The one who made the water asks her for a drink of it.
- The one who created this woman submits himself to her charity.
- The Jew, who the woman assumed would rather die of thirst than speak to a Samaritan or step foot in Samaria, now humbles himself to ask for water.
- The barriers have been broken as the Apostle Paul will later proclaim (Gal 3:28-9)
Where do you get this living water? (v 11)
- Living and running water
- Double meanings: running and living
- The well would not be needed if there were running water
- Woman shows no sign of understanding Jesus’ meaning (like Nicodemus)
- It is the wrong question (v 10):
- Jesus had not directed her to the gift (living water)
- He directed her to the giver (the Messiah of God)
Are you greater than our father Jacob? (v 12)
- There is a comparison of gifts
- Jacob gave the well that gives the temporal quenching (v 13)
i. It is external
ii. It is temporal
- Messiah gives the gift to which Jacob pointed
i. It is internal
ii. It is eternal
- Jesus makes plain that he is greater by virtue of his gift ! Conclusion: The Gift of God – Living Water
- Who’s in control?
- She, as we all are, is tempted to live by what is at hand, what is within our reach.
- Jesus bids her to live by means of what is not at her disposal, but on that gift of God, which came down from heaven.
- What is the Gift of God that Messiah brings? (John 7:37-39)
- Perfect Satisfaction (Those who hunger and thirst will be satisfied, Mt 5:6)
- When we are full of Christ’s Spirit Barriers are overcome
i. Barriers between God and Humanity
ii. Barriers within ourselves: free to be honest, repentance and faith
iii. Barriers between people and peoples: We love God in loving others
 Plato, "Timaeus," in Complete Works, ed. John M. Cooper (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1997), §42b-c.