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Chapter 31 - The true badge of honor: love of the Lord
John 4,39. Many Samaritans of that city came to believe in Him, (initially) because of the woman’s testimony: “He told me everything I ever did.”
31,1. And thus it went on until evening, and many of those who had come to me from the city now believed in me, initially, because of the woman’s testimony, who in glowing words told the people of the city how I had told her everything she had ever done. Then, however, many believed because of what the disciples had told them about Me. But those Samaritans who were close enough to Me, so that they could hear My own words, had the firmest belief.
31,2. For there were some among them who were well versed in the Scripture. They said: ‘This one speaks like David who says: “The Lord’s decrees are true and righteous every one, more to be desired than gold, pure gold in plenty, sweeter than syrup or honey from the comb. My desire is to do thy will, Lord, and thy law is in my heart. In the great assembly I have proclaimed what is right. I do not hold back my words, as You know, O Lord. I have not kept thy goodness hidden in my heart. I have proclaimed thy faithfulness and saving power, and not concealed thy unfailing love and truth from the great assembly”, but we know, and that is our witness full of truth and power, that He who thus speaks and acts, as before Him David spoke and acted, and that in His name, is truly the promised Messiah. Until this one, after David no one has spoken and acted like David, therefore this one must unfailingly be the Christ, the Anointed of God from eternity. Therefore, we will wholly accept Him.’
John 4,40. When the Samaritans had (wholly) come to Him they begged Him to stay with them. And He stayed there two full days.
31,3. After these Samaritans had among themselves borne witness to Me, they approached Me most respectfully and begged Me to stay with them. For they said: ‘Lord, You who are truly Christ as we have now recognized, do stay with us, for in Jerusalem You will find little acceptance, but all the more unbelief and all kinds of persecution. The vast Earth does not bear anything worse than a Pharisee, neither on the land nor on the water. Here, however, You will be treated as befits the One Moses, David and the prophets have promised us.’
31,4. But I said to them: ‘Dear men from Sychar. I am overjoyed that I have reaped a good harvest on your field, but it would not be right of Me if I stayed where I have healed the sick who are now in good health and disregarded the many sick elsewhere. I will stay with you for two days, and on the third day continue My journey down to Galilee.
John 4,41. Many more became believers because of what they heard from His own lips.
31,5. Thereupon many more came who earlier had not believed completely and confessed their now unshakably firm belief. But also the woman was there, well dressed, and said to those who now believed: ‘Dear friends, you will now accept me as honorable, will you not? For it was I who first showed you the way here when you jokingly asked me where it was burning.’
John 4,42. And they told the woman: “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard Him ourselves and we know that this is in truth Christ, the Savior of the world.”
31,6. The Samaritans said: ‘Since the Lord has accepted you before us, you are also by us accepted as honorable as is the custom in Sychar. But from now on we do not believe because of what you said, for we have now heard Him ourselves and recognized that this is in truth Christ, the Savior of the world. You will not make us more believing than we already are and, from now on, if you do not sin anymore, you shall be treated by us with all due respect.’
31,7. Says the woman: ‘I have not ever sinned as much as you unfortunately think. Prior to becoming a man’s wife, I lived orderly as befits a wife. That I was barren and that each one of my five proper husbands had to die soon after he had slept with me, for that I could not possibly be blamed, at the most those from whom I receive such a flesh that was disastrous to a man. After I lost five husbands, which caused me unbearable grief, I decided never again to marry. But a year later, as you know, a doctor came to Sychar with herbs, oils and ointments and cured many people. Driven by my greatly felt misery, I too went to him to seek help.
31,8. He examined me and said: “Woman, I would give a whole world to be able to help you, for I have never yet seen a more beautiful woman. But, though I cannot cure you, I can alleviate your complaint”. He moved into my poor dwelling, gave me daily soothing remedies and looked after me, but he has never yet touched my sick body with evil intentions, as you see, to think erroneously.
31,9. And thus I am, of course, always a sinner in the eyes of God, as also all of you no doubt, but in your eyes I do not believe to be such a great and gross sinner as you assume. Ask the one, who is sitting here at Jacob’s well and who earlier told me everything I had done. He will tell you to what extent I do or do not deserve the reputation of a public sinner.’
31,10. Here the Samaritans look at each other in surprise and say to the woman: ‘Now, now, never mind, we did not really think so badly. You shall now become an honored citizen of Sychar. Say, are you satisfied?’
31,11. Says the woman: ‘Oh, do not worry about the honor of a poor woman. I have already taken for myself the greater part of the honor.’
31,12. Say the Samaritans: ‘How did you do that? We know nothing of a badge of honor the city has conferred on you. Where did you get this from?’
31,13. Says the woman pointing at Me with tears of true love and real gratitude: ‘Here He is still resting. He alone is now my greatest honor, an honor neither you nor the whole world could confer on me nor take away from me. For He Himself has given it to me, and from Him I Have taken it. I am quite aware that with all my being I am absolutely unworthy to receive an honor from Him, the Lord of Glory. But He gave it to me prior to you, and I have received it before you and told you about Him, since earlier you did not know anything about Him. Look, that is my advantage over all of you, which you have not given me and cannot take away from me since I now have it. That is the right kind of a badge of honor valid for eternity. Your badge of honor is valid only temporally and for Sychar alone, and that I can do without since I have the eternal one. I hope you will now understand how and from where I have taken the greater part of my honor.’
31,14. Say the Samaritans: ‘Why should you have an advantage because you happened to come out first and meet Christ here? We have now also found Him and praise Him in our hearts just like you, and He promised us the same as you to stay in our city for two days. In view of this, how can you now speak of a prior honor conferred on you?’
31,15. Says the woman: ‘You dear men of Sychar, if I were to argue with you we would never come to an end, I have just told you absolutely truthfully what the situation is and I will not repeat it. Several of you have studied the Roman law. They are now judges according to this law and say that it is a wise law. Now this law, which I have also read because I understand the Roman language, states: Primo occupanti jus (I was here first and, therefore, you can never deprive me of my good right.)’
31,16. Here the Samaritans were silent not knowing what to reply to the woman, for she had hit upon their weak spot and they were unable to retort. Because of the Jews, they were great friends of the Romans and highly regarded the wisdom and order of the Roman law. Therefore, they were silent when the woman referred to the law of the Romans.
31,17. It is no wonder that the woman was proficient in the Roman language for the Samaritans without exception spoke Latin and many also Greek, so as to avoid also through the language any association with the Jews.
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