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Where To Go For Cleansing

John 3:22-26

The ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus overlapped. John continued at the Jordan, north of the Red Sea; and Jesus, with His new disciples (some who were previously with John) were west of the Red Sea. Both were preaching and both were baptising (although Jesus did not personally baptise, only His disciples (John 4:1-2)). In addition, the Pharisees had a rite of ceremonial washing, as did the Essenes. So which of these cleansing ceremonies were true and effective? It became a point of debate which involved John’s disciples.

It Is Enough To Announce Jesus

John 3:27-30

John the Baptist’s disciples were concerned that their popularity was decreasing while Jesus was attracting much greater crowds. So John had to explain again what he had already said: that he was not the Christ, but had been sent to announce Him to the world. That was the task he had received from God and he knew it would be wrong to go beyond his commission. To do so would be to give out what he had not received: that ministry would be hollow and empty.

Different Origins, Different Perspectives

John 3:31-33

John, the Gospel writer, said there was a very big difference between Jesus and John the Baptist. Without doubt, the baptiser was a remarkable figure in history (Luke 7:28), but he was only a man. His existence began at his conception; he had a human origin and had not come from Heaven. By contrast, Jesus came from Heaven. He was eternally Divine; His existence did not start at His conception (unlike all the rest of us) because He always was with the Father and the Spirit in Heaven.

Jesus Speaks for the Godhead

John 3:34-35

God the Son, known to us as Jesus Christ, has always existed. He has been with God for ever, and He is God (John 1:1-2). Therefore, when He speaks, He speaks God’s thoughts. Every word or sentence He uttered was straight from the heart of God. Many prophets had been given God’s commission to speak and were inspired by the Holy Spirit for every episode of ministry. But the Holy Spirit’s activity with Jesus was continuous and limitless.

Our Reaction to Jesus Determines our Destiny

John 3:36

How we respond to Jesus is the most critical decision of every person’s life, according to John the Evangelist. The Gospel call applies to ‘whoever’ – not just Jews or religious people or those who think Jesus is a good example. ‘Whoever’ includes the catalogue of social criminals, and more, listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 . ‘Whoever’ also included the thief on the cross, and the violent persecutor who became the Apostle Paul. In other words, ‘whoever’ (and that means anyone) who believes in Jesus will have eternal life (2 Peter 3:9). That is God’s promise.

God Knows What He Is Doing

John 4:1-3

Jesus did not want to start a religious movement. He had no interest in the Jewish agenda of overthrowing the Roman occupation, nor competing with John the Baptist (or any other group such as the Pharisees) by having more disciples. Jesus’ agenda had already been agreed in heaven with the Father and the Spirit. He was to demonstrate the character of God in a human lifestyle, train a small group of Apostles before dying on the cross, rising again and returning to heaven.

Intentional Travelling

John 4:4-6a

Jesus and His disciples were en route from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north. The shortest road went through Samaria. However, many Jews chose to avoid Samaria because they hated the people (years of intermarriage with tribes outside of their faith had made them spiritually despised by ‘true Jews’). So, in order not to defile themselves, religious people took the long route by crossing the Jordan and travelling north on its eastern side. Not so, Jesus.

Loving Despised People

John 4:6b-9

Jesus planned to be unaccompanied for this personal encounter. He had sent His disciples into the town to buy food while He sat down waiting for His appointment with the Samaritan woman: although she did not know that God had organised the meeting. At mid-day, when it was very hot, the well was normally deserted. Farmhands and animals were resting in the shade. But a woman from the town came to draw water from this very deep well. Jesus started the conversation by asking her for a drink. His dress and behaviour told the woman that He was a devout Jew.

Living Water for Thirsty People

John 4:10-15

Although Jesus had asked the Samaritan woman for water, it was just a way to start the conversation with her (as far as we know, He never got His cup of water!). He was not desperate to satisfy His own physical thirst but wanted to satisfy her inner spiritual dryness. However, she could only think about physical water and only after the conversation did she realise what Jesus was saying (John 4:29; 39-41).

The Lord Knows Everything

John 4:16-19

Jesus abruptly switched the conversation with the Samaritan woman from living water (John 4:10-15) to her marriage relationships. In asking her to call her husband (a proper way of relating in those days), Jesus precipitated an exposé of her personal life. When she said that she had no husband, Jesus proceeded to tell her the details of her marital and divorce history. That clearly came as a surprise to her, and she was forced to accept that He knew what God knew.