Commentary on John 4: What Jesus meant 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. He said, “Whoever drinks of this, those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.” (John 4:14)
When Jesus returned to heaven, Apostle Philip went to northern Israel (Samaria), thus making it the first known mission field in the Bible. Samaria is also the place Jesus first shared the good news.
Who are 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.
They were hated for being half-breeds
Embracing 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.
Nicodemus asked 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, who was probably a Jews, would have discriminated against the Samaritan. Yet the Samaritan demonstrated unconditional love.
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
As “purebred” chosen people, no Jews will associate with a Samaritan. Jesus demonstrated love by spending time and talking to a Samaritan woman at the well, a no-no for the Jews of that time.
Moreso, we can consider the Samaritan woman the first unbeliever to hear the Gospel directly from Jesus.
The first unbeliever to hear the Gospel.
The “neighbors” in Jesus’ parable were the Samaritans
How the Jews treated the Samaritans is racism in the Bible. Jesus referred to the “good Samaritan” and the “Samaritan woman” as the Jew’s immediate neighbors. He demonstrated what it means to love thy enemy—which are the Samaritan neighbors in this case.
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.
Parable of the virgins and Jewish wedding custom.