Two looks, both important.

The Gospel of John: John 4.27-42

Read and meditate on John 4.27-30.

These verses offer two perspectives on Jesus. The disciples are busy with the details of daily life, and not thinking much about mission. The woman has forgotten about the details of daily life, because the mission of Christ has captured her heart and imagination. We need both perspectives, of course.

27At this point, His disciples came, and when
they saw Him talking to the woman, then
they marveled; yet none said, “What do you seek?”
Nor did they ask the Lord, “Why do you speak
with her?” 28The woman left her water pot
and went into the city, where she sought
the men and said, 29“Come, see a Man Who told
me all things I have done. I wonder: Could
this be the Christ?” 30Then they went out and came
to see Him for themselves.

- John 4.27-30

1.  John tells us that the disciples, upon returning, observed Jesus talking with the woman, but none of them said anything, either to her or to Him. Why do we need to know this? Does this reveal anything about the minds and hearts of the disciples? Complete this prayer: Lord, make me curious to know as much about You and Your mission as I can, and about the people…

2.  The disciples had gone into the city to purchase some food (v. 8). Now, presumably, they had returned with the food. So what was on their minds? Did they care more about this than about what was going on between Jesus and the woman? Is there a warning here for us? Lord, please don’t let my personal needs or interests cause me to lose sight of…

3.  The disciples had gone to get food, and now they had returned with food, and they’re all about wanting to consume the food – and to get Jesus to eat with them (v. 31). They are so focused on the details that they seem to have lost sight of the mission, at least for the moment. The woman, on the other hand, has forgotten the details of why she came to the well. Something else has captivated her mind. What? Lord, help me to keep always in mind that…

4.  I’m not faulting the disciples here, or the woman. In a sense, Christians need to live within both perspectives – like Jesus was. Explain. Help me, Lord, in the daily details of my life, to…

5.  How would you describe this woman’s witness to the men in her city? Was this a complete presentation of the Good News? What was it? What is suggested by the response of the men? Bring together into one the prayers you composed for questions 1-4.

“I think there was a definite purpose why the Evangelist recorded that the woman left her water jar and went into the city. At the literal level, then, this shows the tremendous eagerness of the Samaritan woman, who forsakes her water jar and is more concerned for how she may benefit the multitude than for her more humble duty related to material things. For she was very benevolently moved and wished to announce the Christ to her fellow citizens by bearing witness to the one who told her ‘all I ever did.’ And she invites them to behold a man whose speech is greater than man, for his appearance to the eye was human. So must we, too, therefore, forgetting things that are more material in nature and leaving them behind, be eager to impart to others the benefit of which we have been partakers. For by recording the woman’s commendation for those capable of reading with understanding, the Evangelist challenges us to this goal.” Origen of Alexandria (fl. 200-254AD)

Christians are a people called to the same mission Jesus had (Jn. 20.21). We cannot allow the details of our daily lives to become separated from our Kingdom-and-glory calling in the Lord (1 Thess. 2.12). How can you be sure to see the mission through the details at all times?

Closing Prayer
Examine me, O LORD, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.
I have not sat with idolatrous mortals,
Nor will I go in with hypocrites.
I have hated the assembly of evildoers,
And will not sit with the wicked.
I will wash my hands in innocence;
So I will go about Your altar, O LORD,
That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.

Psalm 26.2-7

Psalm 26.1-3, 8-12 (Aberystwyth: Jesus, Lover of My Soul)
Vindicate me, Lord on high; I have walked within Your word.
Never wav’ring, though I sigh, I have trusted You, O Lord!
Prove me, Lord, prove even me! Test my heart and try my mind.
Let Your steadfast mercy be in the path for me to find.

Lord, I love Your dwelling place, there where all Your glory shines.
Keep my soul before Your face, lest for sinful ways it pine.
As for me, in righteousness I shall walk on level ground;
Save me, Lord, renew and bless! Let me with Your Church be found!

T. M. Moore

Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, One in Twelve: Introduction to Christian Worldview, can show you how Jesus is central to all aspects of life in the world – and beyond! Our course is free, and you can study at your own pace, watching videos and using the free materials provided.

We are happy to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in our series on the Gospel of John by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV a and b: John, edited by Joel C. Elowsky, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006. Verse translation of John by T. M. Moore.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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