In 4:1-3, John reveals the traction Jesus was gaining among Jews in Judea in the early days of his three-year ministry. In 4:4, however, Jesus does something completely radical and unexpected. In both the New American Standard Bible and the New International Version, this verse uses the auxiliary verb “had” to express Jesus’ motive for traveling through the most hated region in the country of Israel: Samaria. Much can be gained, though, by examining what this particular “had” meant. First, did Jesus geographically have to go through Samaria to get to Galilee? No. Most Jews, who hated the Jewish-crossbred Samaritans, crossed the Jordan River and traveled to the east of Samaria in order to bypass the region. Second, did Jesus have to go through Samaria because he was in a hurry to get to Galilee? Possibly. However, starting in 4:6 through the end of the chapter, it does not appear Jesus was in any hurry to get to Galilee.
So, why did Jesus have to go through Samaria?
Google the phrase “divine appointment” and see what comes up. There is a great article by Dennis Rainey on FamilyLife.com that is worth the read here.
Posted on Wed, May 25, 2016
by Karen Becker