John 3 and John 4
Often times when we read scripture, we usually try to read the verses in context, which is a good thing. If we read through a whole book, like the book of John, we split it up by chapters. This is how we have even set up this reading plan. This is not a bad thing, as it usually keeps us true to reading scriptures in context. When reading these two chapters, John 3 and John 4 however, it really changed my view of how I read scripture. It is important to read scripture in context, but sometimes when we look at it through the scope of chapters, our scope is too narrow.
One method to study the bible is through Inductive Bible Study (IBS… not referring to irritable bowel syndrome). IBS makes observations on a passage of scripture and then draws conclusions based on those observations.
The format of the book of John is amazing. It is so well thought out. You can read John 3 and John 4 separately, and you can get a lot out of it. John 2-4 are in a section that we can call, miraculous signs and controversies. When we read John 3 and 4 together however, we get a really cool perspective, that if you aren’t careful you can easily miss.
John 3 starts out with a guy named Nicodemus. We find out that he is a Pharisee, a Jewish leader and teacher. Jesus talks to him and keeps saying how important it is for someone to be born again in the spirit. The story ends with Nicodemus being confused. We only get a few more insights about him in John 7 and John 19.
John 4 Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman at a well. It is mid-day so we know she shouldn’t be there. She should of gotten water early in the morning when all of the other women would of gotten it.
So right off the bat we know that something is up.
Jesus, a Jewish man, comes and talks to this Samaritan woman. Jesus here is breaking cultural, ethnic, geographical, religious, and gender boundaries. This would have been unheard of. Jews in fact when walking the same way, would avoid Samaria altogether and increase their trip by many miles and days to avoid having to go through Samaria.
But wow I love what it says there in John 4:4
“Now he had to go through Samaria.”
He had to. Not that He wanted to, or thought He should, but He had to. This appointment with this woman was divine. It had to happen.
Jesus goes to talk about living water. They talk about this living water and the woman says in verse 15, “Sir give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
So obviously, Jesus should give her the living water righttttt?
***ENTER SASSY JESUS***
Verse 16: “He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have said is quite true.”
19. This killllllssss me.
“Sir,” the woman said, “ I can see that you are a prophet.” hahahahaha
Jesus is so interesting here. “What you have said is quite true.”
He is gentle but also invasive, but will nto give the living water until he addresses the sin in the woman;s life. Wow how true in my own life that Jesus will not and is not willing to let me be comfortable in my sin. That is truly love.
verse 28 is really the highlight here. We wonder if the woman gets it?
“Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “come and see a man who told me everything I ever did.”
39 “many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.”
She left the water jar, because she understood. She received the living water. She would not longer thirst spiritually. She left the water jar for physical water, because she was now the water jar herself spiritually. Which reminds me of 2 Corinthians 4:7-9.
So we have these two very different stories, but I would love to show you how different they are:
|Nicodemus : John 3||Samaritan Woman : John 4:1-42|
|Has a name||Is unnamed|
|Jew||Samaritan||Hated each other, racially and religiously|
|Jerusalem||Sychar, in Samaria|
|Pharisee, elected official, insider||Outsider (even ostracized by other women)|
|Leader||Fringe of society|
|High status||Low status|
|Comes to Jesus at night||Jesus comes to her during brightest part of day|
|Nicodemus leaves confused||Samaritan woman leaves liberated/saved|
A little too weird to be a coincidence huh?
We see that John 3 and John 4 are actually a Hebrew couplet. Psalms are filled with this. Hebrew couplets are two lines of poetry that are independent, yet connected.
John 3:16 is two couplets:
1. For this is the way God loved the world:
He gave his one and only Son,
- so that everyone who believes in him will not perish
but have eternal life
an example of everyone?
John 3: Nicodemus
John 4: woman at the well
We are all somewhere between Nicodemus and the woman at the well. It is so cool that Jesus makes himself available to everyone!!!
I hope you got to see how awesome scripture can be. It’s not some boring thing, but so active alive, and even the format is crazy. I hope this challenges as you continue to read the book of John. A question to consider is, “How do I read to find boundaries of the segment?”