Short Meditations in John 4: 39. Warm Welcome
Jn 4:40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.
The Samaritans may have been thought of badly by the Jews, but they appear to have made a better response to the Son of God. As we’ve already seen, a number of them hear what the woman has to say and immediately their response is positive. But they don’t stop there. She obviously tells them where she met Jesus and so they go out of the town to the well to find him. First hungry indicator!
But they don’t just go out to see him, in their belief they want him to stay with them so they urge him to do so. Second hungry indicator! Well he is on his way back north to continue his ministry but he will never pass up an opportunity to meet with hungry people and so we find he stays on with them for two days.
Now the Bible is frustratingly short on details sometimes and so we aren’t told what he actually did with them and who he and his disciples stayed with. Presumably he taught them about how his Father loved them too and maybe he even healed some of their sick; we just don’t know. We find here, we are told, two days of activity with a hungry people, a people rejected by the Jews. He gives them two days of input because he finds acceptance.
The truth is that Jesus will come and stay with any who respond positively to him. We just have to have open hearts. Remember the classic picture in Revelation 3: “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20) Jesus comes, I believe, to each and every person in the world, tapping on the door of their hearts by his Spirit and anyone who responds with an open heart find that he comes in closely and intimately and shares his life with them.
The fact that these are Samaritans responding to him should say to us that Jesus will come and fellowship with anyone who is open. We’ve noted previously that the Samaritans were disliked (if not hated) by the Jews and were considered a spiritual underclass. When Jesus told his ‘good neighbour’ parable he chose a Samaritan helper because he wanted to present the Jews with the most extreme person, in their thinking at least, who they would be least likely to think of as a neighbour.
But here they were now, another one of those unlikely groups to accept and welcome Jesus. The tax collectors and ‘sinners’ welcomed Jesus similarly; it seems it is all of society’s rejects who are the most open to Jesus, perhaps because they realise their state and have fewer prejudices about Jesus.