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Commentary on John 4:14 “Love your Enemy”

Commentary on John 4:14 What did Jesus mean about “Love your Enemy”

Jesus’ offer of the “spiritual water” in the “parable of the Samaritan woman” demonstrates the grafting of gentiles into the tree of God’s chosen people. When Jesus returned to heaven, apostle Philip went to northern Israel (Samaria), making it the first known mission field in the Bible. Samaria was also the place Jesus first shared the good news.

John 4:14
“Whoever drinks this, those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.”

WHAT PREVENTS SHARING THE GOSPEL?

Who were the Samaritans?

Samaritans descended from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, who survived the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel (North; Samaria) by the Assyrians in 722 BC.

However, intermarriage (with pagans) diluted their bloodline, turning them into “mongrels” in the eyes of their Jewish brothers in the southern kingdom. Today Samaritans are a few hundred spread throughout the Palestine territory.

They were hated for being half-breeds

To embrace the Samaritans as brothers were difficult—even for the apostles. The Jews hated their Samaritan neighbors because they lost their identity as God’s chosen people.

Yet, it appears that the Samaritan woman (in the well) was the first unbeliever to hear the Gospel directly from Jesus.

Jews hated their Samaritan neighbors.

Nicodemus asks Jesus

Jesus told Nicodemus to “love thy neighbor” (Mark 12:31, plésion, πλησίον). The word “neighbor” also refers to other men (countrymen) or foreigners. Therefore, Jesus’ use of “neighbor” was an allusion to the parable of the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:25-37.

Priest and Levites ignored the man who was robbed and left to die. Only the good Samaritan went out of his way to help him. The irony, the robbed man, was probably a Jew. Yet the Samaritan demonstrated unconditional love.

As “purebred” chosen people, no Jews will associate with a Samaritan. [Historial timeline of Israel]

The first unbeliever to hear the Gospel.

Anti-racism in the Bible

The Jew’s attitude towards the Samaritans is a classic example of racism in the Bible. Therefore, Jesus taught and demonstrated what it meant to love thy enemy or those who simply annoy us.

Romans 13:9-10
Whatever other command there may be, is summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

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