Jesus uses a Word of Knowledge for a harvest

Words of knowledge can be very close and personal and lead to the person involved changing the subject

"You have correctly said, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” John 4:17+18

The word of knowledge for the woman at the well obviously took her aback as it was very specific and personal. When this happens people will often try to change the subject as she did. What comes next may have a root of hurt attached as it did in her case.

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in 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 an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:19-24

The significance of the mountain and worship in John 4

The mountain she is referring to is Mt Gerizim (1630). It stands a few miles from and is clearly visible from the well. Gerizim (1630) comes from the root (1629a) to cut off.

The only other time this is used in the Bible is in Ps 31:22 “As for me, I said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off (1629a) from before Your eyes’; nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You.”

This woman's root issue was that she was an outcast from her community and had to come to the well at midday alone instead of with a group of other women in the cool of the day.

This psalm could have been the type of prayer the woman at the well had been crying out to God , ‘I am cut off (1629a) from before Your eyes’ and the reason why Jesus came to the well to reach her and the Samaritans!

Reaching the lost with a word of knowledge.

It appears that Jesus deliberately went into Samaria in order to find the key person to reach the people there, who generations before had remained in the land after the Assyrians had taken most of the Jews into exile. They had been cut off by the Jewish religious elite on their return from Babylon. Both Jews and Samaritans worshipped God. The Jews who recognised the whole Old Testament took Jerusalem and the Temple there to be the correct place to focus worship. The Samaritans who only recognised the first five books of the bible took Mt Gerizim as their worship site based on the fact that the first place Abraham built an altar to God was at Shechem Gen 12:6-7. They also also held onto the scripture where it says "It shall come about, when the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to posess it, that you shall place the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal." Deut 12:29

This led to the alienation between the two groups and the Samaritans built their own place of worship on Mt. Gerizim. This national rejection reflected her own experience and explains her sudden change of subject. Jesus had touched a raw nerve, allowing a national and personal hurt to surface in her. "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." John 4:20

Jesus' reply answers her question and takes the emphasis away from the nationalistic divide to focus on the need for a personal relationship with God.
"Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in 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 an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:21-24

In turning her focus away from a national dispute to a personal need for a relationship with God she then turns to the promise of a Messiah which the Samaritans and Jews held as a common hope.
John 4:25 "The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us."

John 4:26 "Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” NIV

The Greek εγώ είμί (ego eimi) is literally "I am." This unnamed Samaritan woman is the first person to whom Jesus reveals himself as Messiah. She is also the first person to whom he reveals himself as divine. He uses the same term that God chose as his name in the Old Testament - "I am" in Exodus 3:14.

Why would Jesus reveal himself as the Messiah and in using the name of God "I am", reveal his divinity to the Samaritan woman first?

The Samaritan woman was personally rejected by the town of Shechem where she lived. She was descended from Abraham, held the Torah as the word of God, but her people had been rejected by the returning Jews. Could it be that Jesus went into Samaria and to Jacob's well, to start the reconciliation process that would bring the Samaritans into the Kingdom of God together with the Jews. The alienation between the Jews and Samaritans also meant that the news of Jesus' claim to be the long hoped for divine Messiah would be kept quiet until he was ready to reveal himself.

Words of knowledge can bring in a harvest

So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?" They went out of the city, and were coming to Him. John 4:28+29

The woman either left the water pot for the disciples and Jesus to drink or was so pre occupied by the word of knowledge and Jesus' revelation as the long awaited Messiah that she forgot to take it with her. At first glance she is the least likely choice as an evangelist. However, with the word of knowledge that he gave her, Jesus seems to fit what the Samaritans were expecting of the Messiah. "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us."John 4:25

The disciples returned as the woman was leaving and were astonished that Jesus was talking to her and sharing her water. Under the law this was an act that would cause him to be ceremonially unclean. At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why do You speak with her?" John 4:27

They urged Jesus to eat: "But He said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples were saying to one another, "No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work." John 4:32-34

It is obvious here that the disciples also did not understand what was happening spiritually. They didn't understand that it was the Father's will for Jesus to reach out to the Samaritans thereby drawing in the lost children of Abraham who had been rejected for so long.

"Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. "For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows and another reaps.' "I sent you to reap that for which you have not laboured; others have laboured and you have entered into their labour."
From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all the things that I have done." John 4:35-39

As the disciples looked up they could see 'the harvest' coming towards them from the town because the word of knowledge Jesus gave to the woman spoke of the coming Messiah, "He told me all the things that I have done."

"So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Saviour of the world.""

During those two days, Jesus probably had many more words of knowledge. He probably told many more people 'everything they had done'. Healings and casting out of demons were doubtless also part of his ministry there.

In the book of Acts Phillip visits Samaria Acts 4:5-13 and reaps an immediate harvest which Jesus had probably sown in John 4.

 

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Introduction to the word of knowledge
Background to the word of knowledge in John 4
Words of knowledge have clues in the natural
OT v NT mindset when giving a word of knowledge
How do we receive a word of knowledge
Types of word of knowledge
Using a word of knowledge for a harvest
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