John Four: A Divine Appointment

Most of us know that the Jews did not think of the Samaritans in a very high regard.  Israel, during the ministry of Jesus, was divided into provinces.  The southern province was Judea, where you would find Jerusalem, Bethany, Jericho, and Behlehem.  There are many events in the life of Christ that take place in Judea.

The northern province was Galilee.  This was the home of Jesus.  Nazareth was in the province of Galilee along with Bethsaida and Capernum.  Much of Jesus’ ministry was done here in this small area around the Sea of Galilee.  As a matter of fact, many of his disciples were from this same region.

Separating these two pieces of geography was an area known as Samaria.  The Samaritans were Jews who had lost the identity.  They had married pagans and had merged their faith with the religions of idolatry.  They were a mixed race with a mixed religion and the Jews had little to do with them.

When traveling from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north, you had three roads to choose from.  One when west and merged with the Kings Highway along the Mediterranean Sea.  The second headed east out of Jerusalem, caught the Jordan river and headed north to the Sea of Galilee.  Both roads allowed the traveler to bypass the province of Samaria completely.

The third road headed due north out of Jerusalem and took you through the heart of Samaria.  You would pass near the town of Sychar and the well of Jacob.  The mountains that cradled their temple for worship.  This path was often avoided by orthodox Jews.

In John 4 we are told that “He left Judea and went away again into Galilee.  And He had to pass through Samaria.”  He “had to pass through?”  Had to?  There were two other routes he could have taken.  Why did he have to pass through?

The Greek word is “dei” and it has the meaning of necessity as established by the counsel and decree of God.  It is a necessity as to what is required to attain some end.  This word implies that the action is essential and part of the direct plan or decree of God.  It could not NOT happen.

The Greek has a word, “chre,” that means “ought or should.”  It is not connected to the purpose of plan of God and is more of a strong encouragement.

The fact that Jesus found himself going to Samaria because he “dei” (HAD TO), indicates that this was a divine appointment.  A meeting arranged by God for this time.  Jesus HAD to go this way.  It was a divine appointment.

I think we have these moments in our day.  Moments that God has ordained as a divine appointment and “dei” meeting.  And, for whatever reason, we turn it into a “chre” meeting and go another way.  Jesus could have went west or east and ended up in Galilee where John 4 concludes and it would not have effected his ministry or ability to minster to those in Galilee.  The people of Samaria would have suffered, however.

We find that because of this meeting with the Samaritan woman, Jesus stays in Samaria for two days and “many more believed.”  The lives of many were changed because of that divine appointment that Jesus HAD TO make.

Don’t miss your appointment!  It is ordained by God and the consequences WILL be eternal.  Have a great “Dei” as you follow the Lord’s commands.

Living Water

In ancient times water was not easily accessible.  Much like it is today in third world countries, the people go to gather water daily.  If the people are fortunate, they have a clean source of healthy drinking water.

If you have ever looked at a map of Israel, you might have noticed that there is not a significant supply of fresh bodies of water.  There is the Sea of Galilea in the North and the Jordan River.  Apart from a few creeks or tributaries, the rest of Israel is dry and without fresh water.

To overcome the water problem, many would dig cisterns out of the rock.  It is essentially a well that does not have a water source.  It simply collects water from rain and run-off and stores it for later use.  It was a good way to hold onto a limited supply of water in a dry and barren land.

Cistern water was not ideal for drinking because it was stagnant.  As the water collected, it would become a breeding ground for parasites and potential dangerous pathogens.  It would collect debris and trash and could otherwise become unusable for drinking.

If you were wealthy or fortunate,  you were able to actually dig a well that was fed by underground springs.  A well that actually hit underground water supplies produced good, healthy drinking water.  These wells became important and valuable for communities.  Cities would usually grow up around them and access to the water was sometimes guarded or protected.  These natural spring wells produced what the locals would call “living water.”

It is at one of these wells where Jesus has an encounter with Samaritan woman (John 4).  As Jesus and his disciples are making the trip from Judea to Galilea, they pass through Samaria.  They stop at Jacob’s well, a living water well.  The disciples go into the town that is about a quarter of a mile away and gets food.  Jesus remains at the well because He has Divine Appointment.

Jesus shares the truth of the Gospel with this woman and declares to here that he is able to provide her with the true “Living Water.”  This water will quench your spiritual thirst and since it is fed from a living source it will bring about eternal life.

The Living Water.  It is more than just a spring fed well, its the source of abundant life for the believer.