Text:   John 4:5-42 (emphasis on verses 27-30)

Date:   March 3, 2002




Step I - (Initial) Acquaintance
A.        Comparison of English or other published translations

·        “come and see” (NRSV, New Jerusalem) vs. ”come, see” (NIV, KJV, NAS) vs. “come see” (Message)

·        “Messiah” (NRSV, Message, NLT) vs. “Christ” (KJV, NIV, NAS, New Jerusalem, ASV)

·        Wording of the question

·        “Could this be the Christ?” (NIV)

·        She sounds as though she thinks it is a possibility

·        “He cannot be the Messiah, can he?” (NRSV)

·        She sounds unsure; more of a sense of unbelievability with added phrase, “can he?”

·        “Is not this the Christ?” (KJV)

·        She sounds more sure; attempt to convince others

B.         Greek/Hebrew Textual Criticism

·        Negative particle meti

·        Verse 29 question begins with negative particle, which anticipates contradictory response

·        “Can he?”

·        “come and see” important invitational phrase in John’s gospel

·        usually invites one to experience of Jesus


C.                 One's Own Rough Translation

·        “And on this came the disciples and marveled at with a woman he spoke; no one said: What do you seek or Why do you speak with her?  Left the waterpot the woman did and went away to the city and said to the men: Come and see a man who told me all things which I did; not this is the Christ, is he?”

Step II - Disposition
A.        Genre - How the text says what it says

·        4:29 - Invitational genre

·        “come and see”

·        John 1:39; 1:46


B.         Personal Interaction - Questions and observations

·        What draws this reluctant woman into conversation with someone of completely different race, religion, gender?

·        Initially, the water

·        Where can I get this water?

·        Later, prophesy

·        Go call your husband

·        You have had five, and the one you are with now is not your husband

·        She is drawn to prophetic word

·        Prophetic knowledge – “mystical” insight a hook

·        What is so attractive about this knowledge?

·        Fascination with fortune telling, knowing the future

·        Does she believe?

·        Her report to the others indicates a portion of doubt

·        Yet she still reports

·        Can authentic witness contain an element of doubt?


C.                 Organization - Where the elements of "B" are located



Step III - Composition
A.        Immediate Context - preceding/following pericope

·        This text stands in between two sets of shocked observers

·        Disciples

·        Shocked that Jesus was talking to this woman

·        Woman herself

·        Shocked that Jesus is talking to her

·        Precedes Jesus’ healing of the official’s son

·        Another who, after an encounter with Jesus, “believed”


B.                 Organization of the Compositional Whole

·        More of John’s focus on incarnational/Messianic issues

·        “I am he”


C.                 Issues of Authorship


Step IV - Context
A.        Primitive Christianity

·        Other characters in John’s gospel seem to insist on being certain

·        Nicodemus last week, crowds, Pharisees

·        Woman seems to be willing to witness to “possible Messiahship” in absence of certainty


B.                 Old Testament and Judaism

·        Conventional Messianic expectations not met

·        Source of her tentativeness?

·        Legitimacy of temple as Jewish worship center questioned?

·        2 Samuel 7:5


C.                 Hellenistic World

·        God as spirit

·        Worshippers must do so in spirit (v. 24)

·        Compare Philippians 3:3


Step V - Distillation
A.        Summary of Salient Features

·        Inequity of social, religious, gender differences

·        Jesus overcomes these differences

·        Power of Jesus’ prophesy

·        Compelling to her

·        Why is it so compelling?

·        Is it also compelling to us?

·        Power of knowledge

·        Knowing (completely) the future

·        “You have had 5 husbands”

·        Knowing future events

·        Power of control


B.                 Smooth Translation


C.                 Hermeneutical Bridge

·        Miss Cleo

·        “Call me now” has taken place of “Come and see?”

·        fascination with mystical, quasi-spiritual knowledge

·        shamans, etc

·        even when they’re proved to be fake, people keep calling them

·        what is so compelling?

·        Power of control

·        Jesus’ reason for prophesy is not to give people power of control (which compels us)

·        Jesus prophesies for redemptive purposes


Step VI - Contemporary Address
A.        Description of Audience

·        UM congregation in Lenten season


B.                 Intended Goals for the Address

·        Lift us fascination with (complete) knowledge of present/future

·        Miss Cleo syndrome

·        Lift up alternative to us knowing (and therefore controlling)

·        Jesus redeeming

·        Lift up strange-sounding combination of authentic doubt and authentic witness

·        Her witness works not because of her (and her doubt) but because of Jesus’ authenticity

·        It’s OK to say come and see, even if you’re not sure


C.                 Address