Contrasting Two Lives

In the Gospel of John, we see an amazing contrast between two people mentioned in chapter 3 and chapter 4. In fact, the difference made me think of John 1:11-12 which says, “He came to His own, but His own did not receive him. But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God.” His people, the Jews, rejected him.  Non-Jews often understood who he was and responded appropriately.

We see this truth lived on in these chapters. Chapter three is a discussion between Nicodemus and Jesus. Chapter 4 is a discussion between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Tom Constable has summarized this comparison well in the following chart:

Person                   Nicodemus                                 The Samaritan Woman
Sex                           Male                                              Female
Race                        Pure Jewish                                Mixed Gentile
Social status        Highly respected ruler           Not respected, servant
Place                       Jewish territory                        Samaritan territory
Time                       At night                                       About noon
Condition             Darkness                                     Light
Setting                  Indoors                                        Outdoors
Occasion               Pre-planned                              Spontaneous
Subject                  New birth                                    Living water
Initiator                Nicodemus                                  Jesus
Conversation      Faded out                                    Continued strong
Result                    Unbelief                                      Belief
Consequence      No witness to others               Witness to others

How amazing is it that the Samaritan woman is the one who responds to Jesus. She embraces Jesus as Messiah and Nicodemus, the learned scholar and ruler of the Jews is undecided. The woman shows immediate fruit by sharing her discovery of Jesus with others.  How often is the message of salvation received by those the world considers unworthy and yet is rejected by the proud.

Father, thank you for the contrast of two lives and two responses to encountering Jesus. Thank you for helping me understand that Jesus is the Messiah. May my life reflect the fruit of the Samaritan woman who not only believed but then also took the news of Jesus and salvation to others.

Following Jesus with you,

Jeff

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