THE KING’S BUSINESS
V. 12. “ Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which (rather, who) gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children (rather, sons), and his cattle?” Though there was a dawning recog nition o f the majesty and power of the One with Whom she was talking, yet the woman’s pride was piqued. There is a strong emphasis - on the “ Thou,” and the thought is, “ Art thou, a poor, weary, helpless, lonely traveller who needs to ask drink of a woman and a Samaritan, of greater power than the great patriarch Jacob, whom we call our father?” On the surface she scoffs at such a thought, yet in the depths of her soul there was a fast growing faith that He was indeed greater than Jacob. Yet she cannot endure the thought that He should depreciate, as He seemed to do by His words, that well to which she had so often come and that was hallowed by ages of sacred memories. The Samaritans claimed descent from Joseph as representing the an cient tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, who had occupied that land before they were carried away into captivity, and of course, thus claiming descent from Joseph they claimed descent from Jacob. They had no clear ground for their claim. The Israelites had been carried away and different nations brought in to take their place, and from these the Samaritans descended, But some of the Israelites may have remained in the land and intermarried with these foreigners and there may have been a tincture of Israelitish blood in some of the Samaritans. Any way, they strenuously maintained their descent from Jacob and the woman could not have it that this poor, un known Jew was greater than her al leged ancestor, whom they claimed had given them that well that had proved sufficient for him and his children and his flocks and herds.
sees that she is talking with some extraordinary One who has something to give that she sorely needs. The wonder is not that she was so dull but that she came along as¡rapidly as she did. It is a marvel that our Lord should give the teaching that we here find, as profound teaching as ever fell from His lips, to a woman of this char acter so dull, so earthly, so sensual. Yet His wisdom is proved in the out come and there is here a lesson for every teacher, viz., that the profound- est truth may be given to seemingly the dullest souls. Her perplexity was genuine. Jacob’s well in a sense con tained living water, yet she felt He must mean something different from this water, something better, far bet ter; whence would He obtain it, cer tainly not from this well, for He had nothing to draw with. There He stood before her, wearied and thirsty, yet He seemingly professed to command resources beyond even those o f the honored patriarchs. Who could He be ? Of what could He be talking ? Her growing respect is found in the use of the word, “ Sir” (or literally “ Lord” ). It shows that she had a growing feeling that a person of dig nity is addressing her; He is no longer merely “ a Jew.” By “ nothing to draw with” she meant “ no rope and bucket.” How truly it might be said that she did not know with Whom she was talking. He, Who was the Creator of the uni verse and of every well in it, and yet no bucket to draw with. He, Who was daily drawing up the water from the ocean by His word and scattering it in refreshing showers upon the earth yet “ nothing to draw with.” Yet her thought was not much more unworthy of our Lord than the thought that the average man has o f Him today. Men think He is unable to do the things which need to be done, though He up holds all things by the Word of His power (Heb. 1:3).
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