7 July 2014John 4:27-42
“Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” (v. 29)
News travels fast in small communities. In a warm climate where windows and doors are open and life can be lived very close together, people know each others' 'business'. Just a few weeks after I had come to live in Grenada a man whom I had never met, called out to me by name in the street, having heard about this new English mission partner!
Today's passage is at the end of the extraordinary taboo-breaking encounter of Jesus the Jewish Rabbi with the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-16). The disciples are clearly scandalised Jesus' actions, but stay quiet. The woman would have no doubt been well known in her community, her experiences with six different men (John 4:18) would have made her a prime target for juicy gossip of her 'business'. We get the impression from Scripture that this has resulted in her rejection and marginalisation. Yet through her conversation with Jesus she has experienced something completely different. Here is someone who listens, someone who respect her, someone who 'knows her business' yet does not reject her but offers her "living water" (John 4:10).
The effect on her is powerful. She leaves her water jar, perhaps symbolising her old life, at the well and she goes back to her community, faces all those gossipers and tells everyone how this man knew 'her business'. This is in contrast to the disciples who, in this story, seem static and inward looking in comparison, focused on food. However the powerful yet simple first-hand testimony of a woman's meeting with Jesus draws people out to meet him. She was a subject of gossip and has now used that very gossip to spread the news about this man. In the two days that Jesus spends there many more gain a first-hand personal encounter with Jesus. They hear for themselves and state that "this is truly the Saviour of the world" (v. 42).
- The woman said "Come and see a man who ...", and spoke about her encounter with Jesus. How would you finish this phrase?
- Who is the basis of gossip in your community? How could you challenge the taboo and gossip? How could you approach that person in the same way as Jesus?
- What could you do to gossip the gospel (the good news about Jesus)?