Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nicodemus vs. the Samaritan Woman (John 3, John 4)

Nicodemus

Samaritan Woman

He is well-known

She is anonymous

He scrupulously keeps purity laws

She is permanently unclean

He is a religious leader

She is a religious outsider (even among Samaritans)

He is a great teacher of truth

She believes Samaritan heresies

He is a high government official

She has no power

He is morally respectable

She is morally suspect

He seeks out Jesus at night

Jesus seeks her out at noon

He knows that Jesus is a teacher from God

She knows that Jesus is a Jewish man

Jesus does not fully reveal himself to him

Jesus teaches her clearly that he is the Messiah

He does not understand the living water

She asks Jesus for the living water

He leaves lacking understanding

She leaves knowing who Jesus is

He hides his belief

She tells her whole town about Jesus


Notes:
Some rabbis believed that all Samaritan women were permanently unclean.
Jews viewed Samaritans as heretics: Samaritans only believed in the Pentateuch, which they had altered that to fit their beliefs, and Samaritans believed the correct temple was on top of Mt. Gerizim. There was also a history of violence between Jews and Samaritans.
Samaritans were probably not "half-breeds"; this view comes from assuming that the residents of Samaria mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah are the same residents of Samaria mentioned in the Gospels. However, they are probably not the same people. First-century Samaritans are probably a sect of Judaism, which is how they regarded themselves.

Here are some more posts on Nicodemus; here are some more on the Samaritan woman; and here are all my posts on the Gospel of John.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for helping me quickly see their contrasts as I prepare my sermon about them

    ReplyDelete