Friday, 11 January 2008

Echoes in John 4

Thoughts about two of these echoes, one in each direction…

Feeding into John 4 is Ezekiel 37:15-28, a prophecy about Judah and Ephraim [Jew and Samaritan] being joined together again. Jesus effectively announces the fulfilment of this prophecy when he contrasts the Temple-mountain split (John 4:21-24) with the spiritual worshippers [from everywhere] that the Father now seeks. The link is made closer as the worship language employed by Jesus draws on Ezekiel’s discussion of the people’s former false worship and their new fellowship with God.

The first outworking of this is in Acts 8 when the apostolic gospel comes to the Samaritans, however I want to draw attention to Ephesians 2:11-22, especially the purpose to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross (15b-16a). In Ephesians Paul was talking about Jew and Gentile, an even bigger division than Jew and Samaritan – so anything he says about that will certainly apply to the lesser fracture. Jesus makes peace in his body. Jesus reconciles enemies to God and to each other. He does this in his body.

Now look back at John 4:39-42 and a faster outworking of Ezekiel 37 even than Acts 9. Jesus stayed with them for two days! A Jew broke all the rules and actually, physically stayed in Samaritan homes – eating, drinking, sitting alongside, talking, touching, sleeping, defecating, you name it.

In his body he made them one, and in his body he yet makes us one.