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John 4:7-26

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock." Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water."


Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true." The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he." (ESV)

What Does Jesus See?

Monday of Pentecost 3

15 June 2015

What does Jesus see? What do His eyes behold? He sees the world full of sinners. He has come to proclaim His messianic salvation to one of those in the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn 4). She has lived a rough life. Despite her Samaritan commitment to the Mosaic law her adherence to the ten commandments has been less than perfect. Though she does not know to whom she speaks, there is no doubt that Jesus certainly knows with whom He is speaking.


Yet to her He does speak, in a kindly, loving, embracing fashion. He even asks of her the impossible, the culturally inappropriate act of drinking from her contaminated water vessel. She even chides Him for His friendliness, "why would you, a Jew, seek a cup of cold water from me a mere Samaritan? Is that why you sent your friends into town? I know very well that we can have no friendly conversation. Our cultures are at odds. You are from over there. I am from over here where Jacob drew water. We worship differently than you do. What can you possibly offer to me, a Samaritan, and what would you desire from me, that I could give?" She's right, you know.


The disciples were aghast when they return from their shopping trip. Jesus was chatting up the Samaritan woman, this outcast. What could He possibly be seeing in her? But that's the point. There's nothing in the woman that makes her worthy of the Messiah. Luther's catechetical dictum is exactly right here: "I believe that I cannot buy my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him..." But her value to Jesus is not in her quality but in her need. Jesus refuses to give up on her. Jesus refuses to give up on sinners; sinners like us. Jesus would not abandon her to her prejudices, to her culture, to her depravity, to life with her sixth man, and who was no husband.


This tenacity, this seeing of the need of the desperate sinner is entirely characteristic of God's own nature. Not because some neat theological textbook tells us what the attributes of God are, but because God has revealed Himself in the words of Holy Scripture; displaying His very heart that we might see what He sees in a world in desperate need; even if the world does not recognize that need.


There is no way to know what God's heart is like; there is no way to know what His eyes see apart from what He tells us He sees, apart from what we see Him doing for our sakes. He chases the Samaritan woman that she might see what He sees in her; calling her to repentance. He chases the Samaritan woman that she might see what He sees from the vantage point of the cross: a world full of fields white unto harvest cleansed clean by the blood spattered down. That blood runs in cleansing rivulets from Skull Hill and washes a world of filth away. This is what Jesus sees.


Martin Luther


"If you cannot believe, you must entreat God for faith. This too rests entirely in the hands of God. What we said about suffering also applies here, namely, that sometimes faith is granted openly, sometimes in secret.


"However, you can spur yourself on to believe. First of all, you must no longer contemplate the suffering of Christ (for this has already done its work and terrified you), but pass beyond that and see His friendly heart and how this heart beats with such love for you that it impels Him to bear with pain your conscience and your sin. Then your heart will be filled with love for Him, and the confidence of your faith will be strengthened.


"Now continue and rise beyond Christ's heart to God's heart and you will see that Christ would not have shown this love for you if God in His eternal love had not wanted this, for Christ's love for you is due to his obedience to God. Thus you will find the divine and kind paternal heart, and, as Christ says, you will be drawn to the Father through Him (Jn 6:44). Then you will understand the words of Christ, 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, etc.' (Jn 3:16). We know God rightly when we grasp Him not in His might or wisdom (for then He proves terrifying), but in His kindness and love. Then faith and confidence are able to exist, and then man is truly born anew in God."

Martin Luther, Meditation on Christ's Passion, 14

Lord Jesus, look upon me with eyes that see sinners cleansed by your bloody death. See me as I cannot see myself, except in You. Amen.


For Susan Narr, who will be undergoing back surgery this week, that the Lord of the church would grant her full and complete healing


For Walter Friend as he continues to undergo therapy for cancer, that His Savior would strengthen him and give him courage under His cross


For those who are experiencing inclement weather, that they might be kept safe by the Lord who commands the clouds

Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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