John 4: 31-42 – The World of the Text (part two)

rootedchristThis week we are going deeper into John 4: 31-42.  Each week thus far has had a “theme,” and this week’s to “look around.”  We’ve looked ahead (Revelation), we’ve looked back (Deuteronomy), and now we are to look around at our current context. What do we see? What are we to do?  Yesterday we looked at the world behind the text; what is the context of what is happening in John.  You can read that here and you can read yesterday’s deeper look at John 4 here.  Today we’ll look at the world of the text of this passage – what is happening in front of our eyes.

In John’s Gospel, sight is a big deal, it is one of Jesus’ primary acts of healing. But the act of healing for Jesus isn’t just physical, it is spiritual.  So many in the text can see, but can’t really “see” and likewise there are many who are blind who can “see” much better with physical sight.  Today we see Jesus talking about sight with the disciples. First, they ask Him if He has food to eat and He calls them to something bigger.  And they are like, what?  He points to all the needs around them, this Samaritan village is in need of the Good News of Jesus, but they can’t see, because they aren’t able to see or don’t want to see.  He sent them to labor into a field that they weren’t expecting to. And because of that, they didn’t see the needs that were right in front of them. They may have physically had the sight to see, but they weren’t able to actually see the needs in front of them.

Contrast that with the Samaritans who were able to “see” a Savior that they were not expecting. The woman at the well saw (and heard) in Jesus who He really was, she believed, and she saw.  Now her village comes and they hear the Good News and they come to believe because they have heard and experienced it for themselves.

So, we have two groups in front of us today. One who should have seen the need around them (the field that was ready for harvest) but they did not and one, who based upon all previous knowledge and experience, should not have seen a Savior in Jesus. But they did.  They saw what God was doing. They saw, heard, and experienced that power of God. One group looked around and did not see. One group looked around and saw clearly.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about what this could mean for us.

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