LESSON 9 - THE MANTLE OF HEALING (JOHN 4:1-26)
Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All Scripture references are to
the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard.
INTRODUCTION: Is "healing" part of the gospel? When we talk about
spreading the gospel, does that mean we should also be healing? Is
it possible for us to heal? What, exactly, does it mean to "heal?"
We will look for the answers to these questions in a Bible story
which is not about a physical healing! Let's jump in!
I. THE MISSION
A. Read John 4:1-4. Why did Jesus go to Galilee? (The
Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining more disciples than
1. Whatever our job, don't we like to be "number 1," "top
dog?" If you were an evangelist and you baptized more
than the "other guys," wouldn't it be logical for you
stay and make the others move? Why would Jesus' success
cause Him to move?(You remember that in our study of
Jesus' healing He often instructs the person He just
healed not to tell anyone. (See, eg. Luke 5:14; Luke
8:56) Jesus did not want to arouse any more opposition
from the Jewish leaders than necessary. Since He was
getting a "reputation" around Judea, He decided to move
a. Is there a lesson in this for us in our work of
advancing the gospel?
(1) What is it? (If you know that something is
going to cause trouble, and it is not a matter
of principle, then avoid creating a
B. Verse 4 tells us that Jesus and His disciples "had to go
through Samaria." Anyone know about the geography here? If
your Bible has a map of Palestine during Jesus' time, take a
look at it. Did they really have to "go through Samaria?"
(Judea was south, Galilee was north, and Samaria was between.)
1. If they had gone east and crossed the Jordan river,
would they have had to go through Samaria? (They could
have easily bypassed Samaria. Barclay, in his book The
Gospel of John (p.147), tells us that if you went through
Samaria it was a three day trip. If you bypassed Samaria
it was a six day trip. However, time was not the only
consideration. The Jews and the Samaritans did not get
along. Josephus, in his book Jewish Antiquities, page 273
(Maier,ed., condensed), tells a story about Galileans
travelling through Samaria to worship at Jerusalem (about
A.D. 44) and being attacked and killed by Samaritans. So,
as you were traveling along, you did not find only "good
2. So what does v.4 mean when it says Jesus "had to go
through Samaria?" I wouldn't "have" to go through a
place where the people do not like me and might decide to
kill me? (Since it is obvious that Jesus could not
possibly have been talking about geography, He must have
been talking about mission: He had to share the gospel
with the Samaritans.)
II. THE SAMARITAN WOMAN AT THE WELL
A. Let's go on. Read John 4:5-9. The "sixth hour" is noon. It
is hot and Jesus is tired so He sits down by a famous well. A
Samaritan woman comes by and He asks her for a drink.
1. Does she just give it to Him? (No. She has to talk
2. Could Jesus have gotten His own drink? (No. Barclay
says the well is more than 100 feet deep.)
3. So what is the woman's point with Jesus? Why does she
seem to object to His simple request? (The gap between
this Jew and this Samaritan was so great that it was
shocking to her to have a Jew ask for something He was
helpless to do by himself.)
a. What made the gap so great between Jesus and this
woman? (First, she was a woman, which would be one
strike against her in that culture. Second, she was
a Samaritan, which was another strike if you were a
b. Can you imagine a group that was so "low" you
could not even ask a favor of them without creating
B. Let me share a problem with you that is not obvious from
the text. Merrill Tenney in his book John, The Gospel of
Belief, points out (p.92) that noon was not the customary hour
for woman to go to the well. Barclay points out (p. 148) that
the well was half a mile from the town, and there was water in
1. So what do you think is going on here? Why is this
woman coming to get water at an unusual time and an
a. What you be doing if you bought your groceries at
midnight at a store that was outside your
neighborhood? (She apparently did not want to run
into anyone she knew!)
b. Why? (If people do not like you, or think poorly
of you, or are apt to harass you, you want to avoid
them, right? Vernon Magee, in 4 Through the Bible
389, has a colorful way of describing the woman's
situation: "This woman is obviously a dissolute
woman. I think she is probably as common as pig
tracks. She is rude and immoral. Today we would
call her a hussy ....")
III. THE APPROACH
A. We all have come across women (and men) who are like this.
They know you are not "their kind of people," they do not
really like you, think you are a "stuck up" Christian. In
fact they do not really get along with anyone. As a result
they do not seem to care about anything or anyone and are
1. Your assignment, should you decide to accept it (hum
"Mission: Impossible" music), is to convert this rude
dog. How do you do it? What is the first step?
B. Let's read on: John 4:10-14. Describe the steps you see
that Jesus took with this woman? (First, He got her attention
in a way that would not excite her normal prejudices (by
asking for a drink). Second, He offered her a gift that she
did not understand ("one time only water"). He kept her
attention (and engaged her in conversation) because she
thought that something was in this for her, but she did not
understand how to "get it.")
C. Read vv. 15-18. Now what steps is Jesus taking? (He has
gone to the supernatural. He is showing that He has access to
power that is beyond the human. He tells her about her life.)
D. Read v. 19. (We will not read vv. 20-26 in which Jesus
tells her He is the Messiah.) So much for that lesson, right?
No way we can follow the pattern Jesus has laid out, right?
Or wrong? (Let's review just a minute the whole course of this
story. Jesus' first step was to determine to follow the will
of His Father by going to Samaria to share the gospel even
though this was culturally distasteful and possibly dangerous.
Second, He is not put off by rudeness. He is not looking to
convert only those who are as close (in terms of social
status) to Him as possible. Third, He takes a self-effacing
approach that will not excite existing cultural prejudices.
Fourth, He give "credibility" to His "gospel" talk by using
1. Somebody read for us Matthew 10:5-8. What is Jesus'
formula to His disciples for spreading the gospel?
a. What part does healing the sick, driving out
demons and raising the dead play in this? (It is
the "supernatural element." This is precisely the
same master plan as Jesus used on the Samaritan
woman, except it does not have the added dimension
of a racial/cultural problem.)
2. As you review in your mind our lessons this quarter,
is it fair to say that we have always looked at healing
as an adjunct to spreading the gospel? (Yes! Jesus seemed
to use healing for two reasons: First (as we discussed
last week in Luke 7:16), "God has come to help His
people." Jesus had compassion on us. But He also healed
to show us who He was and to draw our attention to His
E. So, let me ask you. Is the supernatural available to us to
spread the gospel? Is it an essential element in spreading
the gospel? Are we greatly weakened in our attempt to spread
the gospel by not being able to play the supernatural "card?"
1. Our lesson this week tells us that we can "heal" and
thus promote the gospel by visiting the sick (Tuesday's
lesson), listening to others troubles (Wednesday's
lesson), praying with them and teaching them a healthier
way of life (Thursday's lesson). Significantly absent is
the supernatural approach. The teacher's helps explains
that miracles are not possible today for us because Satan
will K!! our miracles and confuse people. In case the
reader is uncertain about this, an italicized note is
added to highlight the assertion for today and points out
the dangers of "spiritual healers."
a. You may have noticed that our lessons were
written by the staff of the Florida Hospital. As a
litigator, I know that a person's perspective on
life is formed by the person's background.
(1) Is it true that kind and loving medical
care provides an opportunity to promote the
(2) Would a medical care provider be more
likely to see the value of kind medical care
in promoting the gospel? (Yes.)
(3) Is a medical care provider a "reliable
witness" in saying that the age of
supernatural medical miracles is over?
F. Considering a person's bias is only a single (and sometimes
small) factor in evaluating the truth of what they say. Let's
take head on this argument that the possibility that Satan can
counterfeit a medical miracle means that the age of
supernatural medical miracles as a means of promoting the
gospel is over.
1. Did Jesus ever comment upon this argument? (Read
a. What is Jesus response to this argument?
b. Is the logic that Jesus used then still valid?
Has anything changed with the passage of time?
2. Is this problem of Satan counterfeiting supernatural
signs age-specific? (Consider Exodus 7:9-12; Exodus 7:22;
Exodus 8:7; 1 Samuel 28:7-14; Matthew 7: 22; Matthew
24:24; Acts 8: 9-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation
13:12-14; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:20)
G. So what do you say? Has the age of miracles past? Should
we know that "spiritual healers" are operating from the power
of Satan? (I believe Jesus forever crushed that argument in
1. Does Satan perform "miracles?" (The string of texts
I asked you to consider above, starting with Exodus,
shows that he does perform counterfeits and will continue
until the end of the world.)
2. So how do you know what is God's power and what is the
Satan's power? (Read 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. Friend, we
are only safe as we read God's word and get to know God.
If you do not know God, and love the philosophy of the
world, you will believe the false miracles. As Jesus
said in Matthew 12, Satan does not oppose himself. The
false miracles will be consistent with his philosophy
that opposes the law of God.)
H. So, let me ask you the questions that we started out with
in the introduction:
1. Is "healing" part of the gospel?
2. When we talk about spreading the gospel, does that
mean we should also be healing? Is it possible for us to
3. What exactly does it mean to "heal?" (I think we need
to pray for the supernatural. I think it is possible for
us to heal. And I think that healing not only means
aiding and helping the sick, it means "no fooling around,
real, live miracles!"
IV. NEXT WEEK: HEALERS IN NEED OF HEALING. Study!