The Journey to Jerusalem

Jesus decided to travel to Jerusalem when the time drew near for him to return to the Father. He sent messengers on ahead, and they stopped in a Samaritan village on the way to find a place for him to rest. But the villagers didn’t welcome him because he didn’t want to stay there, but to continue on to Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John realized this, they said “Teacher, do you want us to call down the fire of heaven to destroy them, as Elijah once did?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, saying “You don’t know the Spirit that you are a part of. The Son of Man came to save people’s lives, not destroy them.” Then they traveled on to another village.

LK 9:51-56

Jesus and the Samaritan woman

Jesus left Judea and returned to Galilee when he learned that the Pharisees heard he was baptizing and making more disciples than John. Jesus himself did not baptize, only his disciples did. On his way he traveled to a town in Samaria called Sychar, which is near the piece of land that Jacob had bequeathed to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there and around 6 in the evening Jesus sat down near it because he was exhausted from his journey. A Samaritan woman came near to draw water from the well. Jesus asked her to give him a drink. His disciples had traveled ahead into town to buy food.

She replied “Why are you, a Jew, asking me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” Jews normally did not associate with Samaritans.

Jesus answered, “If you understood the gift of God, and who is asking you for a drink, you would be asking him, and he would give you living water.”

“Sir,” she said, “the well is deep and you don’t even have a bucket with you. How and where are you going to get this ‘living water’? You aren’t more powerful than Jacob, our father, are you? He is the one who gave us this well. He, his sons, and their livestock all drank from it.”

Jesus said “Anyone who drinks this water will become thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I offer will never ever become thirsty again! In fact, the water I offer will become like a spring of water, flowing from within that person for eternal life.”

“Sir,” she said, “let me have some of this water so I won’t get thirsty and have to come all this way to draw water here again.”

“Go get your husband and come back here” he told her.

“I am unmarried,” she replied.

“You are correct in saying ‘I am unmarried,’ because you’ve been divorced five times and the man you are with now is not your husband. You have spoken the truth,” Jesus countered.

“Sir, it is obvious to me that you are a prophet,” the woman replied. “The Samaritans worshipped here on this mountain in years past, yet you Jews believe that Jerusalem is where people should worship.”

Jesus said “Believe me, the time is coming when you won’t need to worship the Father here or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you don’t know, while we Jews know what we worship, because salvation comes into the world through us. However, it is now the time when true worshippers will worship God in spirit and truth. God wants this kind of worship from us. Since God is spirit, God should be worshipped in spirit and truth.”

The Samaritan woman said “I know that the time is coming when the Messiah will arrive” (the One who is called Christ). “He will explain everything to us when he comes.”

“I am the One who is speaking to you.” Jesus told her.

His disciples arrived at this point and they were surprised he was talking with a woman. But none of them asked him what he wanted or why he was talking to her.

Then the Samaritan woman got up, left her water jar there, and went back to town. She told the men “Come with me and see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done! Is it possible this is the Messiah?” They left the town and went straight to where Jesus was.

Meanwhile, the disciples kept urging him to eat something. But he said “I have food that you are unaware of.” The disciples began to wonder among themselves, saying “Could someone else have brought him something?”

Jesus told them “My food is to do God’s will and to finish God’s work. Isn’t it common to say ‘There are four more months before the time for the harvest’? Listen clearly – raise your eyes and look at the fields – they are ripe for the harvest! Right now the reaper is being paid and gathering the harvest for eternal life, so those who sow and those who reap can celebrate together. Here the saying is true – ‘One sows the seed and another reaps the harvest.’ I have sent you to harvest what you didn’t work for. Others have worked and you have benefitted from their work.”

Many people from the Samaritan town believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony when she said “He told me everything I’ve ever done.” Because of this, they asked him to stay with them when they came out to see him at the well. Jesus stayed there for two days. Many more people came to believe because of his word. Then they told the woman “We don’t believe just because of your testimony. We have heard him for ourselves and we know that he truly is the Savior of the world.”

JN 4:1-42

Waiting for a hero

Maybe people are waiting for the Messiah for the same reason they are sick all the time. They think somebody else is going to rescue them. They think they don’t have to do anything about their lives. They stay children, stay passive, stay asleep.

They refuse to take care of their health, and then they are surprised when they have a chronic disease. They pray for a miracle. They expect the doctors or God to save them. How is this any different than how we live, waiting for the Messiah to make the world better? In both cases, the power is in our hands. It requires daily work made up of thousands of tiny bits of effort, not a sudden one-time push from an outside source.

Jesus didn’t want us to live like this, dependent, expecting others to rescue us. Jesus tells his disciples (that is us, by the way) that they (we) have the same powers he does. We are able to heal through our faith. We don’t have to wait for the second coming. We don’t have to wait for a Messiah.

God didn’t want the Jewish people to have a king in the first place. He didn’t want them to have a person over them. He didn’t want them to give away their power. They insisted, and God gave them what they asked for. Their history with bad rulers is well documented in the Bible.

The idea of the Messiah is that he is to be the best king. The interesting part is that Jesus came to do away with the idea of kings. He said to not have anyone over you but God. Jesus came to restore the true Ruler, who is God. Jesus came to erase the mistake of letting a person rule. Jesus came to erase all hierarchy.

Even Jesus doesn’t want to be in charge. Jesus isn’t going to come again to save you. Jesus came to tell you that you have all the tools you need, already, to do what needs to be done. Don’t think you are up to the task? He says you are. Just thinking of the possibility of making the world better is the tiny spark that is needed. It is the mustard seed.

Jesus says you don’t need to be saved. Jesus says you aren’t lost.