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,